Oklahoma Public School Enrollment Reaches Historic High

Saturday, December 7th 2019, 11:09 pm
By: Erick Payne

Oklahoma has more than 700,000 students in public school for the first time in state history.

The State Department of Education reports showing 5,000 more students in school this year - than last.

Comparing Oklahoma's enrollment to data nationally, many states have seen decreases in the number of grade school students enrolled. That's not the case in Oklahoma.

New numbers from the Census Bureau this week paint a picture of a decline in kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment across the country.

Overall enrollment was down by 600,000 public school students since 2011 -- when it was at 53.7 million.

Kids in private schools were at 4.4 million, not much different than they were in 2009.

This year, nearly 704,000 students are in the Oklahoma public school system. It's nearly 9,000 more students than there were two years ago.

School districts try hard to attract more students and families every year.

Every student has a potential economic impact. Some groups say for every four students lost; schools lose the equivalent of one teacher salary.

New statistics from the State Department of Education show districts like Union, Broken Arrow, Owasso, Jenks, and Bixby all have more students than they did last year.

Tulsa Public Schools on the other hand, have lost more than 1,000 students in two years.

This year they're down to about 38,500.

School administrators there say enrollment has played a role in their budget problems.

The district needs to cut nearly $20 million to avoid a deficit in 2021.

The district has already had rounds of consolidation over the last decade, closing buildings as enrollment drops.

They're considering closing four elementary schools to cut back even further.

For the complete list of state public enrollment totals, click here.