L.A. Unified enrollment continues to fall, but drop is cushioned by influx of 4-year-olds
LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles Unified School District has announced that the enrollment for its 1,500 most populous schools fell for the fifth month in a row in the last five months of 2013-14.
But the district also attributed the fall to the influx of “4-year-old” students, who arrived in November with their parents for the school year, and whose enrollments are expected to total 2,800 this year without the addition of high schoolers.
“We have some schools that were over capacity, and we are working to resolve that very quickly,” said district spokeswoman Suzanne Trimble-O’Keefe.
The district had been hoping to boost enrollment by 1,600 this year. The overall drop for the year was 1.7 percent, the same as in the previous year, but with the addition of 1,500 students.
“In the overall numbers, it’s still a very good year,” said Trimble-O’Keefe. “We’ve got a strong education district, and the drop is not an aberration. It’s a reflection of students’ expectations. We want them to be prepared for college, and we want to prepare them.”
The district has said for months that it would use a more diverse student body in the coming years to diversify the pool of students who go on to college and beyond. District board President Steve Zimmer said that in recent weeks many of the 1,500 schools were receiving letters of intent for enrollments of more students with the parents of 4-year-old students.
“It’s really hard to predict the future,” said Zimmer, who noted that the district has had a steady decline in enrollment since 1970. “We are going to try to be a great school district that can attract students and make them succeed in college.”
The drop in enrollment was more than the district projected for the year but less than the district predicted in February. The decline was larger than the district had projected for the 2011-2012 school year but the enrollment drops as projected over the last few years were not as large as projected. The district also had projected a slight increase in enrollment on top of the decline in enrollment