Sunday, September 25, 2016


Across the state, Idaho districts continue to see decreasing kindergarten enrollment, as the echo of the recession results in smaller classes. Though it appears that the downward trend in birth rates may be coming to an end, it's worth watching enrollment trends as smaller classes move through school systems in the next few years.

The Finance Division of the Idaho Department of Education has published an historical review of enrollment in districts and schools across the state, which is very helpful in analyzing trends.

Here's what's happened to Idaho kindergarten enrollment since 2007:

Idaho's kindergarten enrollment has declined by 6% in the past two years, and is now at its lowest point in the last nine years.  These data include Charter School kindergarten enrollment, which us up about 100 students since 2014-15.

Idaho's live birth rates tend to predict kindergarten enrollment five years later. As you can see, if the data remain predictive, we'll likely see at least one more year of lower statewide kindergarten enrollment.

Here are kindergarten enrollment data for five of Idaho's large districts:

As you can see, each of the five large districts had lower kindergarten enrollment in 2015-16 than in 2010-11. Cumulatively, kindergarten enrollment is over 800 lower in these districts than it was just two years ago.

It will be interesting to see the effect of these smaller classes on Idaho's overall enrollment in future years. We know that the 2015-16 first grade class is 3% smaller than that of 2014-15, though K-12 enrollment was 1% larger (about 3400 students) in 2015-16 than in 2014-15.