Arizona public schools see major decline in enrollment, report says

Public school enrollment in Arizona is on a major decline compared to previous years with thousands of fewer students enrolling in 2021.

A big portion of the decrease is impacting kindergarten enrollment.

On Monday, the Glendale Elementary School District hosted a kindergarten readiness drive-thru event, hoping to increase their enrollment.

"Our goal is just trying to get kids here and get families back
at William C. Jack School," said Denis Parcells, Principal of William C. Jack School.

They offered preschool families registration packets and kindergarten goodie bags, making sure the families know they're there and ready for their kids to come to school.

"We are lower right now than we have been in the past and we are anticipating families coming back once they see how successful we are being," Parcells said.

The Arizona Department of Education released a report showing the decrease in enrollment is a statewide issue.

Statewide enrollment is down by about 38,000 students, the report says, with especially big declines in the kindergarten and pre-school programs, counting as 40% of that decline.

Officials with Gilbert Public Schools announced on March 26 that the district has laid off more than 150 of its employees. According to a statement, school district officials say the layoff was done due to loss of student enrollment and that certified employees who are impacted by the decision have been notified.

Parcells says part of the reason for this at his school specifically could be because there are more options now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If anyone is nervous about sending their kids back to school, not to worry because it's safe, he says, adding, "We have safety measures in place and we are being as safe as we can."

Although there is a significant reduction in student enrollment at Glendale School District, they say there won’t be any layoffs at this time.

Read the full report here.