MCPS enrollment down more than 2,000 students through first week of school

MCPS enrollment down more than 2,000 students through first week of school

Official count will be taken Sept. 30

| Published:

After years of increases, Montgomery County Public Schools’ enrollment through the first week of September is down more than 2,000 students compared to the previous academic year.

During a school board meeting on Thursday, MCPS staff members said the school district’s enrollment as of Sept. 7 was 162,656 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Maryland State Department of Education typically records school districts’ official enrollment for the academic year on Sept. 30. On Sept. 30, 2019, MCPS’ enrollment was 165,267 students but grew to more than 166,000 by the end of 2019.

MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith said kindergarten enrollment is down about 1,500 students this year.

School board member Pat O’Neill called the change “startling” and highlighted that enrollment has an effect on school districts’ state and local funding.

Funding for school districts largely depends on enrollment and per-pupil funding. The county government is required, by law, to provide at least as much funding per pupil each year as the previous year. So, if MCPS’ enrollment is down, the county would be required to provide less funding.

“We don’t have any good information yet about why this has shifted,” Smith said. He also said enrollment typically fluctuates in September, so the official number could be “much different.”

In the 2019-20 school year, the MCPS enrollment grew by more than 2,700, the largest one-year increase in more than a decade. The MCPS enrollment has grown by more than 11,000 students since 2010, solidifying the school district as one of the largest in the country.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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