AURORA | More than 1,000 more students enrolled in APS this fall than projected, but the district’s declining enrollment trend is still ongoing.
The district presented its preliminary enrollment data from its head count on Oct. 1 to the board of education at its Tuesday meeting. The official October count will not be certified for several more weeks.
As of Oct. 1, there were 30,477 students enrolled at APS schools for the 2021-2022 school year, 101 more students than were enrolled the previous school year. However, the district projected that it would lose over 900 students this school year.
Charter school enrollment increased by 257, according to the report, 211 below the number of students charter schools expected they would enroll.
The largest increases were in kindergarten and first grade, with each having 200 more students than last year’s class. This was something the district anticipated, as many parents held their young children back a year or did not enroll them in traditional school during the pandemic.
The enrollment changes were not felt evenly, and followed the ongoing trends in the district. The largest declines from the past school year occurred in schools in northwest and southwest Aurora, while enrollment increased in all the schools serving the E-470 corridor, where development is booming.
The report cited increasing growth along E-470 as one of the factors for why enrollment exceeded projections, along with a rebound effect from COVID. Overall, however, enrollment is still declining.
Since the 2015-2016 school year, K-12 enrollment in APS has declined by almost 16% and the district has fewer students than it did during the 2000-2001 school year. The district is in the midst of rolling out Blueprint APS, a multi-year plan for managing the district’s schools in response to enrollment trends.
As part of the plan, some schools with low enrollment will be closed, while others will be opened in the parts of the city that are growing. Some of the buildings of the closed schools will be used to house a new series of magnet schools the district is creating. The first of those magnet schools will focus on the arts and entrepreneurship/innovation, and will open for the 2022-2023 school year