Local school districts see drop in enrollment amid distance learning

The California Department of Education says it's seen a decrease of over 160,000 students in the past year.

Video Transcript

- Well, that is a snapshot of a larger trend across Central California. COVID-19 cases are on the decline, but at the same time, the number of students signing up for school is also falling.

After a year of remote learning challenges, that trend worries district leaders. Action News reporter, Shayla Girardin, reports on what is being done to get kids back to campus.

SHAYLA GIRARDIN: School districts in the Central Valley are noticing a drop in enrollment numbers.

AMBRA O'CONNOR: Kinder students are just becoming familiar with the technology. So I do think, for many families, because it's not mandatory, they've chosen to do something at home, and then to start next year.

SHAYLA GIRARDIN: At Fresno Unified, the majority is kindergartners, losing more than 1,000 students this school year. Nearly half of those students left for another school district in California, and almost 15% switched to charter schools, but a small percentage haven't been found yet.

AMBRA O'CONNOR: We still have 2% that we're trying to locate. Many families have moved to Mexico. So it is hard to confirm enrollment when it's out the country. We have principals making home visits and phone calls, really just doing everything to locate.

SHAYLA GIRARDIN: Clovis Unified has also seen a drop when it comes to its littlest learners.

NORM ANDERSON: Some did early on decided that they were going to go to a little different of a teaching method, either a private school or in a surrounding school.

SHAYLA GIRARDIN: Like Fresno Unified, they're focused on getting those students back in the classroom this fall.

NORM ANDERSON: Most of ours that we have seen is been the kindergartens that just did not come. So we're actually projecting that there could be a large bubble that comes this following year, and we're kind of planning for that.

SHAYLA GIRARDIN: Century Unified in Kings Canyon Unified School District also saw a drop in enrollment. We have those numbers on our website and mobile app. Shayla Girardin ABC 30 Action.