DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado saw 30,000 K-12 students fail to return after COVID struck, but some of its school districts have wound up with more.
COVID knocked a chunk of the student population out of the school system. There were 30,000 fewer students enrolled statewide after the pandemic than before, and schools have only gotten one-tenth of them back.
The pandemic intensified a trend that was already in the works for some school districts. Half a dozen Front Range districts had been shedding students for years leading up to the 2019-20 school year.
No school district lost more students in the five years before COVID than Jefferson County. The state’s second-largest district lost 2,500 students between the fall of 2014 and the fall of 2019.
In the Denver metro, Adams-Arapahoe 28J, Adams County 14, Englewood, Littleton 6 and Westminster Public School District had each been losing students since 2014. Adams 12, Cherry Creek, Denver Public Schools, SD 27J and Mapleton each gained students.
South of the Denver metro, city school districts had been losing students to exurb districts. Both Colorado Springs 11 and Pueblo City 60 had been shedding students while farther-flung county districts gained them.
The pandemic deepened the losses Jefferson County schools experienced and reversed the gains made in other large districts such as DPS, Douglas County and Cherry Creek.
One school district bucked the trend in a large way. Byers School District 32J, which lies east of the Denver metro, gained 3,008 students since the 2019 school year. This more than doubled its pre-pandemic enrollment.