DENVER (KDVR) — Not only has the Colorado school system failed to recover the students it lost during the pandemic, but it continues to lose them.
Colorado’s total student enrollment was 883,264 in the fall of the 2022-23 academic year, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Education. This is a 0.4% drop in enrollment from the previous year, one of only three years since 1982 where student enrollment fell.
The drop in enrollment this year erased the modest recovery made in the 2021-22 academic year. The losses were concentrated mostly in the number of kindergarten and middle school students.
The year of the COVID pandemic saw over 30,000 fewer students than the year before, which was the highest enrollment on record for the state. The following 2021-22 school year did not recover those students. Instead, the school system saw about 3,300 students come back, only to lose the same amount in the fall of 2022.
Only four of the state’s 10 largest districts saw more students in 2022. Denver, Jefferson County, Douglas County, Cherry Creek, Adams 12 Five Star and Boulder Valley school districts each lost students. Jefferson County had the biggest drop with 1,400 fewer students.
The biggest change occurred with white students. There were 7,673 fewer white students in 2022, whereas there were 2,524 more Hispanic/Latino students and 1,689 more students of two or more races.
Before the COVID pandemic, Colorado school enrollment had been steadily rising for the last four decades.
Since 1982, there have only been four years in which Colorado schools lost students – 1982, 1988, 2020 and 2022.