Colorado Succeeds members and partners gathered earlier this month to discuss declining school enrollments, what is driving the trend, how districts are approaching the issue, – and how business can be involved.
Elizabeth Garner, State Demographer; Tracy Dorland, Jefferson County Public Schools’ Superintendent; and Senator James Coleman spoke with Colorado Succeeds members.
Some key highlights from the conversation:
In recent years, many states are losing population, resulting in a slowdown of the total US population growth rate. While we are still experiencing growth in Colorado, it is important to note that our population growth is slowing down: births are down, deaths are up, and migration is slowing down. The impacts on our workforce and in our schools of this are already felt by many.
While a decline in our under-18 population might affect our workforce in the near future, it is affecting our school enrollment numbers right now. Since Colorado’s birth rate peaked in 2007, birth numbers have slowed by 8,000 fewer birth every year since. Many school districts around the state have been struggling with the reality that we simply have fewer and fewer students to serve.
Declining enrollment is not new news, but the response to address it has varied district by district. School closures and district right-sizing conversations are not easy issues for districts to confront, but we cannot continue to ignore them.
Business has a crucial role to play in addressing these issues. We must engage education leaders and encourage them to face these issues, but also be a thought partner and explore new opportunities for students.
Whether you’re curious about local school board elections, meeting with policymakers, or participating in topical deep dive discussions, please let us know, and we will get you plugged in.
Upcoming Member Events:
- Tuesday, May 23 – Q2 Member Briefing: 2023 Legislative Recap
- Tuesday, July 18 – Future of Work Luncheon, held in partnership with the Colorado Business Roundtable; invitation coming soon
- Tuesday, September 19 – Q3 Member Briefing
- Tuesday, December 5 – Q4 Member Briefing