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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The Rochester School Board will be briefed Tuesday on an enrollment report that projects the loss of more than 1000 students over the next 5 years.

The current enrollment is around 17,800. The report shows the number could be around 16,500 at the beginning of the 2026-27 school year.

Among the reasons for the projected decline are students enrolling in non-RPS schools and a falling birth rate.

The report says most of the enrollment loss during the pandemic involved elementary students. It says enrollment could be affected for up to 10 years unless they return for middle school or high school.

The report says there were 2029 births in the district in 2007 compared to 1,661 in 2020. Students born in 2007 likely entered kindergarten in the 2013-2014 school year, the largest class over the last ten years.

The report also includes this note:

The School Board and members of the public reading the enrollment projections report may be confused and concerned that the District is opening new school buildings in the fall of 2022. While this is understandable, this was not what the report showed before the pandemic. Back in 2019, it was estimated that the elementary schools would drop from 99% average capacity to 80% average capacity in the fall of 2022. It’s appearing that elementary buildings will actually be enrolled between 73% and 77% capacity on average in the fall of 2022.

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