By Griselda Zetino | KTAR
Fewer families are choosing to send their kids to K-12 public schools in Arizona during the coronavirus pandemic, according to enrollment numbers from the Arizona Department of Education.
Enrollment statewide is down 5% at district and charter schools compared to the end of the last school year. It’s also 4% lower than at this time last year. The biggest drop is among kindergartners, with 14% fewer students enrolled this year.
A spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Education said due to some difficulties in reporting, these are preliminary numbers and have not been finalized.
Because school funding is tied to enrollment, the drop could be costly for schools across the state at a time when many of them have expenses related to the pandemic.
“We have over 1.1 million students in the state, so when you talk about a 4% or 5% reduction of students, that means the school districts and charter schools will not be funded for those students,” Chuck Essigs, director of government relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, said.