Enrollments Down 4.5 Percent This Year

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The slow-but-sure pace by which schools in Montgomery County have been losing students over the past several decades picked up speed during the 2020-21 school year.

Overall for the four public school districts headquartered in Montgomery County and the two private schools, enrollment dropped 4.5 percent this year–197 students–nearly double the average annual decrease over the past 20 years.

The total number of students enrolled in Hillsboro, Litchfield, Nokomis, and Panhandle schools, plus those at Zion Lutheran in Litchfield and St. Louis Catholic in Nokomis, totals 4,184.  That number includes both in-person students and those who are remote learning from home this school year due to the pandemic.

Over the past 20 years since the 2000-01 school year, total enrollment in the county is down 23.1 percent–over 1,200 students.

This year, the two school districts whose enrollment had been the most stable over the past few years–Nokomis and Panhandle–had the largest decrease in enrollment, while enrollment at the district that had showed the most consistently declining numbers–Hillsboro–remained steady.

Enrollment in Nokomis this year is 563 students, down 9.9 percent (62 students) from last year and down 25.8 percent from the 759 enrolled 20 years ago.  Panhandle showed a 7.3 percent decline in enrollment this year, down 36 students to 460, and down 16 percent from the 548 enrolled 20 years ago.

Litchfield enrollment is at 1,309 students, down 5.7 percent (79 students) from last year and down 24.4 percent from the 1,732 enrolled 20 years ago.

Enrollment in the Hillsboro School District increased by six students this year to 1,664.  That number, however, is still 20.2 percent below the 2,085 enrolled 20 years ago.

The two pre-K through eighth grade private schools, whose enrollment has also been stable in recent years, also shows decreases this year.  Zion Lutheran is down 21 students from last year to 120 this year, and St. Louis is down five students to 68.

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