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News Release - Statewide preschool through 12th-grade student enrollment continues to grow

Jan. 14, 2016

Statewide preschool through 12th-grade student enrollment continues to grow

Online schools continue to experience some of the fastest growth

The Colorado Department of Education announced today that the statewide preschool through 12th-grade pupil count for the 2015-2016 school year increased by 10,106 over the previous year, bringing the total to 899,112 public school students. This number represents the total number of students served, whether or not they are eligible for funding.

This change represents an increase of 1.1 percent, lower than the 1.4 percent growth rate in the 2014-2015 school year and lower than the median and mean (average) growth rate of 1.4 percent in the past 20 years. The state has not seen a decrease in enrollment since 1988.

The largest 15 districts and their current student enrollments are:  Denver Public Schools (90,234), Jeffco Public Schools (86,708), Douglas County School District (66,896), Cherry Creek Schools (54,695), Aurora Public Schools (42,249), Adams 12 Five Star Schools (39,287), St. Vrain Valley School District (31,776), Boulder Valley School District (31,247), Poudre School District (29,527), Colorado Springs School District 11 (27,937), Academy School District 20 (25,063), Mesa County Valley School District 51 (21,904), Greeley-Evans School District 6 (21,505), Falcon School District 49 (20,561) and Pueblo City Schools (17,665).

These 15 school districts, with a total enrollment of 607,254, represent 68 percent of the total statewide enrollment. This percentage is unchanged from 2014-2015.

The greatest growth in enrollment is in Denver metro districts, which experienced a 3,513 growth in student enrollment. However, urban-suburban districts grew by 3,509 students, which is a 1.4 percent increase compared to the Denver metro districts’ 0.7 percent increase. Colorado BOCES, boards of cooperative educational services, saw the largest percentage increase from 2014-15 to 2015-16 with a 30 percent increase (729 students).

On the other end of the size spectrum, 134 of Colorado’s 185 local education agencies (excluding detention centers) have an enrollment of fewer than 2,000 students. These 134 agencies currently enroll 68,861 students, 7.7 percent of the total number of students in the state. Of these, 109 enroll fewer than 1,000 students. These 109 local education agencies enroll 3.9 percent of the total number of students in the state. These small districts overall saw a decrease in enrollment between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.


Race and Ethnicity Data

The greatest percentage growth (5.2 percent) in federal race/ethnicity groups is in students classified as two or more races. The pupil count for this group increased from 32,707 in 2014 to 34,393 in 2015. The largest count change is in students identified as Hispanic and Latino; their count increased from 294,435 in 2014 to 300,107 in 2015, a 5,672 (1.9 percent) increase. Students identified as Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander decreased by 1.7 percent. Students identified as Asian increased by 1.6 percent, while all other race/ethnicity groups have less than a 1.5 percent change in counts from 2014 to 2015.


Fast-Growing Districts

Of the districts with greater than 100 students, Denver Public Schools had the largest number of student gains in 2015, gaining 1,396 students, which is a 1.6 percent increase from 2014. The Charter School Institute (last year’s fastest growing district) saw the second largest growth this year with an increase of 1,027 students representing a 7.3 percent increase. Part of the reason for the Charter School Institute’s increase in student population is the addition of two new schools for the 2015-16 school year.

Byers School District has the largest percentage increase in 2015 with an increase of 41.7 percent, which is an increase of 893 students. Much of Byers School District’s increase in population is in online students with an increase of 878 online students or a 53 percent increase in online enrollment since 2014. Colorado Digital BOCES, increasing from 1,698 students in 2014 to 2,395 in 2015, has the second highest percentage increase in students, 41 percent.  Colorado Digital BOCES has seen large increases since its opening in fall 2013 increasing from 358 students in its first year to 2,395 this year.

There were 24 school districts that saw an increase of 100 students or more in the 2015 school year. Only two of those districts saw an increase of 10 percent or more. Thirty-five districts saw an increase of 5 percent or more, only eight of those districts have a student population greater than 1,000.


District Decreases

Adams County School District 50 has the largest drop in student enrollment from 10,161 in 2014 to 9,504 in 2015, a decrease of 657 or 6.5 percent. A total of 76 local educational agencies have enrollment drops, totaling 2,764 students.

The primary reason for Adams 50’s decrease and part of the reason for the Charter School Institute’s increase is that Crown Pointe Charter Academy switched from Adams 50 to the Charter School Institute this year.


Online Enrollment

The 2015-16 enrollment totals include 18,664 students registered in online educational programs. This is 2.1 percent of all students.  The online enrollment for 2015 is a 9.4 percent increase from the 2014 online enrollment count of 17,060. The 2015 enrollment reflects a 22 percent increase over the 2010 online enrollment and a 201 percent increase over the 2005 online enrollment.

Access 2015-2016 school year student count information