Based on information from the data and reporting section from the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE), Atlanta Public Schools (APS), the Dekalb County School District (DCSD), Fulton County Schools, and Cobb County Schools, there is some sort of decline in enrollment between 2019 and 2021, mainly due to the pandemic.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, the number of African American students enrolled in Atlanta Public Schools went from 37,517 students to 36,641 students.
For Dekalb County Schools, the decline in enrollment for African American students went from 58,095 students to 55,336 students within the past year, according to data and reports from the GADOE.
Additionally, Fulton County Schools also saw a decline in enrollment among African American students: from 38,877 students to 38,342 students.
The reports also showed a decline in enrollment among Hispanics, Asians, and white students. The data and reporting not only showed the numbers based on race.
It also showed enrollment numbers by grade level, where grades Pre-k through first grade showed the biggest declines over the past year.
A spokesperson from Atlanta Public Schools stated, “Prior to COVID-19, enrollment in Atlanta Public Schools had been increasing steadily since 2013. Our district saw a slight decrease for the 2020-2021 school year, with the largest percentage decreases in pre-K and kindergarten, mirroring a statewide trend.
“This may be due to families being unfamiliar or uncomfortable with online learning for younger children. We look forward to our students returning to our buildings for in-person learning in our Summer Academic Recovery Academy in June and in the fall for the 2021-2022 school year, following safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Fulton County Board of Health.”
A statement from the Dekalb County School District said that DCSD has seen a slow decline in enrollment since peaking in 2015/2016.
This seems to be driven primarily by changes in housing costs; the cost to both rent and buy houses in DeKalb County have continued to increase, making DeKalb less affordable to live in than in the past and causing new residents to choose other areas to live.
This is evidenced by the comparative growth in some exurban county school districts over the same time period.
Up until the pandemic, the decline in enrollment was gradual enough that it could be adjusted from year to year. It is expected that much of the enrollment loss seen during this school year due to the pandemic will return, but that the overall trend of slow decline in enrollment will continue for at least the next few years.
The District is in the process of working on a Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP) that will help guide the District’s growth and direction over the next decade.
The CMP will help the District to respond to the forecasted changes in enrollment and help set a foundation for when enrollment eventually begins to grow again.
A statement from the Fulton County Schools Communications Department said that all metro districts experienced enrollment declines, largely due to COVID.
This is most impactful of Kindergarten and early grades. We adjusted and expect a slight increase next year as these students come back to face-to-face instruction.
This past week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that COVID vaccines are available for youth, ages 12 through 16.
With more people getting vaccinated, it is a huge step in society returning to a sense of normalcy and getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information on data and reporting on Georgia schools, visit www.gadoe.org. Visit www.cdc.gov for the latest updates and information on COVID-19 and vaccinations.
This article is one of a series of articles produced by The Atlanta Voice through support provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to Word In Black, a collaborative of 10 Black-owned media outlets across the country.