Plummeting student enrollment on Kenai reflects larger state trend

    Despite a 10.34% growth in overall population from 2009 to 2018, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has seen a nearly 4% decline in student enrollment over that period.

    Looking back 20 years the decrease is even more drastic. According to a report last month from the school district, overall enrollment fell from a high of 10,384 in 1998 to just 8,895 in 2018, a drop of 14.3%. School enrollment was 21.5% of the overall borough population in 1998 and just 15.2% of the population in 2018. The school district expects student enrollment to continue its decades long decline in 2021 with an estimated enrollment of only 8,573 students.

    Overall, Alaska has seen student enrollment numbers drop from 135,374 to 132,554 over the past 20 years.

    The Kenai School District operates 42 facilities and employs 1,192 full time employees. The enrollment numbers were taken from the annual report the district submitted to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development in November.

    Overall, Alaska has seen student enrollment numbers drop from 135,374 to 132,554 over the past 20 years, according the Department of Education and Early Development. These numbers take into account pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

    While student enrollment has dropped steadily over the past 20 years, state spending on education has grown. The general school operating fund has jumped from $1.2 billion in 2009 to $1.5 billion in 2019, an increase of $285 million.

    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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