Oregon K-12 Enrollment Increases

EUGENE, Ore. — After five straight years of declining student enrollment, the Oregon Department of Education says rates have finally increased.

The Oregon Department of Education says total enrollment across the state increased for the first time since the ’07-’08 school year. ODE says it went up about half of a percent, but not every district increased.

The enrollment increase for the 2012-2013 school year totaled out to about 2,700 kids across the entire state.

“It’s a half percent increase. It’s not a huge increase, but it’s something to note,” said Crystal Greene, Oregon Department of Education Senior Program and Accountability Officer.

It’s notable because it is the first increase in five years.

According to ODE, that number is a compilation of a 3.6-percent increase in Medford schools, a 2-percent increase in Springfield, but also some districts that decreased, like 4J which saw around a half-percent decrease.

But 4J School Spokesperson Kerry Delf says it’s still somewhat of a boost for the Eugene School District.

“We typically see a drop of 200-400 students every year. We were anticipating seeing a similar decrease this year, but we actually saw a smaller enrollment decrease,” Delf said.

Instead of seeing a number in the hundreds, 4J only saw 66 fewer students enrolled in their district schools this year, so not technically an increase but a definite bump up for the district.

“We can’t know if that trend will continue in future years, but it is still a positive. When we have more of students or more of a stable enrollment, it really helps us offer more stable services and have better services for all of the students that we have,” Delf said.

Delf says this school year’s change in numbers is linked to a big chunk of students switching over to Eugene schools during open enrollment, and also an increased interest in the new science and technology program at Churchill High School.

Each district’s fluctuation is caused by something different, and the ODE says at the state level it doesn’t mean good or bad. It’s mainly just a reminder.

“The numbers are what they are. I don’t know that there’s a judgment based on increasing or decreasing enrollment, but the important part is that each one of these numbers represents a kid who deserves the best education, and we need to provide that education,” Greene said.

For the entire list of state enrollment information for the 2012-2013 school year, click here.

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