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Decrease in Student Enrollment: Forcing Tough Decisions

BY debraabritt
Association of School Business Officials International logo

Katherine Silberstein and Chad Aldeman
Published in the November 2021 issues of ASBO's School Business Affairs magazine

According to the latest federal data, U.S. public school enrollment fell 3% in the 2020-21 school year. Because school district budgets are based on how many students they serve, lower enrollments typically mean less money for schools.

That hasn’t happened yet, thanks in part to policies enacted last year to protect schools suffering declines, plus a surge in state and federal education funding. But as the authors of this article point out, those are temporary fixes, and district leaders would be smart to find ways to proactively recruit families back to their schools, refresh their multiyear enrollment projections, and rightsize their budgets accordingly.

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Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of School Business Affairs magazine and is reprinted with permission of the Association of School Business Officials International ( The text herein does not necessarily represent the views or policies of ASBO International, and use of this imprint does not imply any endorsement or recognition by ASBO International and its officers or affiliates.

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