L.A. Unified enrollment continues to fall, but drop is cushioned by influx of 4-year-olds
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Unified School District announced that it continues to experience a decline in enrollment.
The district, which oversees three dozen school districts and more than 60,000 students, has lost nearly one-third of its students since 2008, when it had a student population of 78,500, according to a report issued Tuesday by the district and the Department of Education.
The report said that enrollment dropped 3.6 percent over the three-year period, from 68,300 students in the 2007-08 school year to 66,095 in the 2011-12 year.
According to the department, this is the lowest drop in student enrollment in the 34-year history of the district.
While enrollment has not yet stabilized, it is expected to reach a new high in the 2012-13 school year, when the district expects to see a 2.9 percent increase over the current school year, according to the report.
School superintendent Ramon Cortines said that the district’s enrollment numbers are still encouraging, but that enrollment growth is needed to prevent the district from declining further.
“It’s more concerning when you see growth, but not stabilization,” the superintendent said. “I have to say that with our enrollment, we’re experiencing stabilization.”
The department said that the total number of students who left the district since 2008 has risen by a fifth from 13,971 to 14,904.
The department also attributed the growth to the influx of 4-year-olds into the district, compared with the 2007-09 period when only 3-year-olds were counted in the number of students who left the district.
The increase in these “junior enrollees” is the result of a four-year-old-only law, which was passed in November 2011, that requires high schools to accept 4