School enrollment has dropped as a result of the pandemic, potentially costing local districts money.
The Kansas News Service reports that Wichita public school enrollment fell by more than 2,600 students this year, a 5.6% drop that has officials scrambling to reconnect with families and get kids back.
The enrollment drop echoes statewide and national trends, as many families opted for virtual schools or homeschooling during COVID-19 school closures and didn’t enroll at their local schools last fall.
The largest declines are in kindergarten, which fell by 8.6% statewide.
Kansas children are not required to attend preschool or kindergarten, although state data show that the vast majority of families send their children to kindergarten when they become eligible at 5 years old.
Some families may have transferred to districts or private schools that opened classrooms when others closed.
Education funding is based largely on enrollment, but districts have some leeway to account for abnormal years.