Fall enrollment increases in most Iowa school districts
DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Education today released new 2021 fall enrollment statistics for Iowa’s 327 school districts showing an increase of nearly 1,472 students from last year. Overall this increase represents a 0.30 percent rise in certified enrollment this fall at 485,630 compared to 484,159 last year.
Certified enrollment is used to determine funding for schools and differs slightly from the actual headcount of students enrolled. Certified enrollment increased at 169 school districts representing 52 percent of all public school districts in the state. Waukee had the largest increase followed by Ankeny, Pleasant Valley, Clear Creek Amana, Dallas Center-Grimes, Norwalk, Ames, Southeast Polk, Bondurant-Farrar, Iowa City and Cedar Falls.
Conversely, Des Moines Public Schools had the largest decrease in certified enrollment from last year followed by Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Muscatine, Nevada, Creston, South Tama and Davenport.
Pre-K, ninth grade and kindergarten had the largest increases at 2,019, 1,102 and 916 students, respectively. The number of English learners also increased to 31,681, up from 30,410 last year. About 74 percent of the increased enrollment in English learners is from students whose home language is Spanish.
Fewer students enrolled in home school assistance programs this school year. A total of 7,707 students were enrolled in fall 2021 compared to 8,735 in fall 2020. In a home school assistance program, students receive some services through their local school district. Iowa also allows for home schooling through competent private instruction and independent private instruction, so not all families use the home school assistance program.