L.A. Unified enrollment continues to fall, but drop is cushioned by influx of 4-year-olds
With another day of classes over, we’re now one day into fall. Many of us are still trying to process the drop in our last few weeks of classes.
Here in San Pedro, our enrollment rate is down from 4,000 in the last school year to around 1,800 students this year. That’s still a big drop from the nearly 3,500 students we had last school year. The number of kids who transferred to our school district in the past few years is very large, but a major share of students did so for non-L.A. Unified schools (especially in the South End). Some parents simply moved. Some came to California expecting to move, but left after the schools had opened. In the past few years, thousands of students have left our schools. And as the enrollment rate and districtwide drop in our enrollment has grown, district enrollment is dropping, too.
I’ll talk more about the drop rate as it relates to students leaving school at a future date in the coming weeks. But what’s important to note here is that the enrollment drop from the previous school year is largely a result of the influx of 4-year-olds to our schools over the past few years.
In the L.A. Unified School District, kids in kindergarten through fourth grade, who were previously eligible for preschool, are now eligible for full day, in-school kindergarten. Many of these kids also attended preschool, when it was just a half-day, not full day. Many were also in the former PTA programs that were eliminated in the mid-2000s.
There are about 1,800 fourth graders in our schools. The vast majority of them have no idea why they’re here. In many cases, it’s because they were the first in their families to attend preschool.
The enrollment numbers
We recently reported