Skip to Content

Statewide enrollment climbs for the first time since 1996

Contact(s)

Date: 
Thursday, January 3, 2013

The number of students who enrolled in Iowa’s public schools for the 2012-13 school year increased significantly from the year before, according to the official certified enrollment report released by the Iowa Department of Education.

This is the first significant enrollment increase for Iowa’s public schools in 17 years, although overall enrollment has declined over the past five years. Enrollment peaked in the 1972-73 school year, with 645,000 students.

A total of 476,245 students in kindergarten through 12th grade enrolled in public schools statewide in the 2012-13 school year. That represents an increase of 0.6 percent, or 2,741 students, from the 2011-12 school year.

The statewide enrollment increase is due in part to an upsurge in birth rates from 2003 to 2008. Birth rates spiked in 2007 but have decreased in recent years.

“This statewide increase is refreshing news for Iowa after years of declining enrollment. However, the reality is that this increase most likely is temporary,” said Jay Pennington, chief of the Iowa Department of Education’s Bureau of Information and Analysis.

“We see pockets of enrollment growth in the urban and suburban areas of the state, while the long-term trends show rural areas continue to experience declining enrollment,” Pennington said.

About half of Iowa’s 348 school districts reported an enrollment increase, while the other half reported a decrease in enrollment from the year before.  

Specifically, enrollment declined in 167 school districts (48 percent) in the 2012-13 school year, while enrollment climbed in 170 districts (49 percent).  Eleven districts reported no change in enrollment figures from the 2011-12 school year.  

Waukee, Des Moines and Ankeny reported the largest one-year enrollment number increases, while West Sioux, Moulton-Udell and Waukee reported the largest one-year percentage increases (see charts below).

In the past five years, public school enrollment statewide has declined by 0.16 percent (from 477,019 students in 2008-09 to 476,245 in 2012-13). Of Iowa’s 348 school districts, 233 (67 percent) reported an enrollment decrease during that five-year period, while 115 districts (33 percent) reported an increase.

 

One-Year Trend - Increase of Students - Percent*
School District 2011-2012 Enrollment 2012-2013 Enrollment Percentage Increase
West Sioux 670 738 10%
Moulton-Udell 206 224 9%
Waukee 7,111 7,721 9%
Dallas Center-Grimes 1,982 2,140 8%
Postville 565 608 8%

* Excludes reorganized districts and districts in whole-grade sharing agreements

 

One-Year Trend - Increase of Students - Numbers*
School District 2011-2012 Enrollment 2012-2013 Enrollment Student Increase
Waukee 7,111 7,721 611
Des Moines 31,546 32,062 516
Ankeny 8,964 9,386 422
Iowa City 12,453 12,774 321
Pleasant Valley 3,960 4,230 270

* Excludes reorganized districts and districts in whole-grade sharing agreements

 

Under state law, certified enrollment is used in the formula that determines state funding for public school districts. Certified enrollment is based on the number of students living in each school district. It also includes the "weighting," or additional funding for students in certain programs, such as students who receive assistance in learning the English language.

The certified enrollment count is taken by districts on the first day of October each school year. Official numbers are confirmed by the Iowa Department of Education.

Iowa school districts that reported the largest increases or decreases in the percentage and/or number of students over the past five years are:

Five-Year Trend - Increase of Students - Percent*
School District 2008-2009 Enrollment 2012-2013 Enrollment Percentage Increase
Waukee 5,967 7,721 29%
Bondurant-Farrar 1,213 1,467 21%
Rock Valley 570 688 21%
Ankeny 7,948 9,386 18%
Pleasant Valley 3,589 4,230 18%

* Excludes reorganized districts and districts in whole-grade sharing agreements

 

Five-Year Trend - Increase of Students - Numbers*
School District 2008-2009 Enrollment 2012-2013 Enrollment Student Increase
Waukee 5,967 7,721 1,754
Ankeny 7,948 9,386 1,438
Des Moines 30,783 32,062 1,279
Iowa City 11,749 12,774 1,025
Pleasant Valley 3,589 4,230 641

* Excludes reorganized districts and districts in whole-grade sharing agreements

 

Five-Year Trend - Decrease of Students - Percent
School District 2008-2009 Enrollment 2012-2013 Enrollment Percent Decrease
Stratford 213 160 -25%
Forest City 1,243 995 -20%
Farragut 263 211 -20%
Ventura 284 228 -20%
Exira 276 223 -19%

 

Five-Year Trend - Decrease of Students - Numbers
School District 2008-2009 Enrollment 2012-2013 Enrollment Student Decrease
Cedar Rapids 17,502 16,651 -851
Clinton 4,252 3,966 -286
Council Bluffs 9,212 8,945 -267
Davenport 16,202 15,940 -262
Newton 3,267 3,006 -261

Read the 2012-13 certified enrollment summary.

Certified enrollment trends for each Iowa school district can be found here:

 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 24, 2014 at 9:08pm.