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News Release -- Colorado preschool through 12th-grade student enrollment grows slightly

Jan. 12, 2017

Colorado preschool through 12th-grade student enrollment grows slightly

State adds about 5,900 students in 2016-17 school year

DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Education announced today the statewide preschool through 12th-grade pupil count for the 2016-17 school year increased by 5,907 over the previous year, bringing the total enrollment to 905,019 public school students. This number represents the total number of students served.
This change represents an increase of 0.7 percent, lower than the 1.1 percent growth rate in the 2014-15 school year and lower than the median and mean (average) growth rate of 1.3 percent in the past 20 years. Student population growth is the smallest student increase since 2003 and smallest percentage increase since 1989. But Colorado has not seen a decrease in pupil enrollment since 1988.
The largest 15 districts and their current student enrollments are:
  1. Denver Public Schools  (91,132)
  2. Jeffco Public Schools (86,347)
  3. Douglas County School District (67,470)
  4. Cherry Creek Schools  (54,815)
  5. Aurora Public Schools (41,797)
  6. Adams 12 Five Star Schools (38,818)
  7. St. Vrain Valley School District (32,171)
  8. Boulder Valley School District (31,189)
  9. Poudre School District (29,682)
  10. Colorado Springs District 11 (27,911)
  11. Academy School District 20 (25,591)
  12. Mesa County Valley District 51 (22,105)
  13. Greeley-Evans School District 6 (21,950)
  14. Falcon School District 49 (20,834)
  15. Pueblo City Schools (17,299)

These 15 school districts, with a total enrollment of 609,111, represent 67.3 percent of the total statewide enrollment. In 2015-16 the percentage of students in the 15 largest school districts was 67.5 percent of the total statewide enrollment.
The greatest growth in enrollment is in urban-suburban districts, which are districts in cities and suburbs outside of the Denver Metro region. Those districts compromise the areas in and around Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Greeley and Pueblo, which grew by 3,513 students or by 1.4 percent, while districts in outlying towns saw growth of 2.3 percent, an increase of 1,626 students. Denver Metro area schools grew by 459 students for an increase of 0.1 percent from the 2015-16 school year.
On the other end of the size spectrum, 132 of Colorado’s 185 districts and BOCES (excluding detention centers) each have an enrollment of fewer than 2,000 students. These 132 agencies currently enroll 65,485 students, 7.2 percent of the total number of students in the state. Of these, 111 enroll fewer than 1,000 students. These 111 local education agencies enroll 4.2 percent of the total number of students in the state. 
Race and Ethnicity Data
The greatest percentage growth (7 percent) in race/ethnicity groups is in students classified as Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The pupil count for this group increased from 2,077 in 2015 to 2223 in 2016. The largest count change is in students identified as Hispanic and Latino; their count increased from 300,107 in 2015 to 303,573 in 2016, a 3,466 (1.2 percent) increase. Students identified as two or more races increased by 1,995 students, an increase of 5.8 percent over the number of students identified as two or more races in 2015.
Fast-Growing Districts
Of the districts with greater than 100 students, the Charter School Institute had the largest number of student gains in 2016, adding 1,352 students, which is a 9 percent increase from 2015. Part of the reason the Charter School Institute saw a large increase in 2016 was the addition of four more schools since 2015. Denver Public Schools saw the second largest growth this year with an increase of 897 students, representing a 1 percent increase.
Las Animas School District had the largest percentage increase in 2016 with an increase of 120 percent or 642 more students. The majority of that increase is due to two new online schools opening in the district, including AIM Global that had 533 students enrolled for the student October count.
There were 20 school districts that saw an increase of 100 students or more in the 2016-17 school year. Seventeen school districts saw an increase in their student population of 5 percent or more, which is down from 35 districts with a 5 percent or greater increase in the 2015-16 school year.
District Decreases
Adams 12 Five Star Schools had the largest drop in student enrollment from 39,287 in 2015 to 38,818 in 2016, a decrease of 469 students or 1.2 percent. A total of 77 local education agencies saw enrollment decreases in 2016 totaling 3,699 students.
Online Enrollment 
The 2016-17 enrollment totals include 19,581 students registered in online educational programs. This is 2.2 percent of all students.  The online enrollment for 2016 is a 5 percent increase from the 2015 online enrollment count of 18,664. The 2016 enrollment reflects a 21 percent increase over the past five years and 114 percent increase over the past 10 years.

Access complete 2016-2017 school year student count information.