Declining Enrollment Challenges Facing DPS

Access to High-Quality Schools, Parent & Family Engagement, School Funding | 07/01/2021

Danielle DeSantis
State Organizing Director

Have you been following the news about the ongoing declining enrollment happening in Denver Public Schools (DPS)?

Each year the district puts out a document called the Strategic Regional Analysis (SRA) which is a deep dive into the enrollment and choice patterns happening in schools across the district.

The SRA is clear: DPS is facing an enrollment crisis. Changing demographics and continuous declines in birthrates over the last seven years are forecasted to continue at least through 2025. The largest declines are forecast to happen in Montbello, Southwest, and Central Denver, though almost every area of the city is facing some level of decline.

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In Colorado, both districts and schools are funded on a per pupil basis, which means if a school enrolls fewer students it receives less money. Facing these budget shortfalls, the district is uncertain they’ll be able to continue running all of these schools and deliver the high caliber academic program students deserve. As DPS notes, schools with low enrollment levels often experience inconsistent electives, impacts to language instruction, and a lack of intervention and additional opportunities due to a lack of resources.

DPS has promised to engage the community to identify ways to address this issue. We’ll keep you updated on opportunities to weigh in on the future of our city, but in the meantime, check out the SRA and see what the data says about your neighborhood.


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