Hopkins school district enrollment dropped below 7,000 students for the first time in recent years—likely the result of demographics and a narrowing open enrollment gap.
The Oct. 1 fall seat count fell 2.1 percent this year—a 151-student decline from 7,105 students in the 2011-12 school year to 6,954 in 2012-13, according to numbers discussed at Thursday’s School Board meeting.
Much of that loss comes because more students are graduating than entering the district. The district counted 116 more high school seniors than kindergarteners.
Those numbers likely reflect a larger trend called “aging in place.” Couples who might have once left their homes for smaller residences when their children left are keeping their homes longer. That makes it harder for families with school-age children to move into the district.
Open enrollment has helped to keep the drop-off from being so steep, and this year Hopkins saw a 3.18 percent increase in the number of students from outside the district enrolling in Hopkins schools.
But even though open enrollment into the district has been growing, it hasn’t lately been growing as fast as open enrollment out of the district. While numbers aren’t yet available on open enrollment out of the district, Hopkins saw net declines in open enrollment in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Numbers are estimated to have fallen 26 percent between 2007-08 and 2011-12.