Thanks to Pandemic, Thousands Fewer Students in Portland Schools Next Year

Portland Public Schools shared its projected annual enrollment with all of its schools this week.  The district’s projecting a decline of 8%, or 3,400 students, for the 2022-2023 school year.  The district released proposed staffing allocations based on the projected decrease.

“What we are seeing in Portland is being felt across the state and country,” said Dr. Renard Adams, Chief of Research, Assessment and Accountability at P.P.S.  “Pandemic conditions have led to a precipitous drop in enrollment nationwide. Our analysis shows a variety of factors at play, including declining birth rates and individual choices families have made during the pandemic.”

Dr. Adams says it’s most evident in elementary schools where the district expects a drop in enrollment of more than 20% from 2020 (pre-COVID). P.P.S. projects it will see no change in student enrollment at the high school level. 

To deal with the potential financial impact of decreasing enrollment, P.P.S. says it will tap into other funding sources, including the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), a Federal pandemic investment; and the Student Investment Account (SIA), which is part of Oregon’s Student Success Act bill passed shortly before the start of the pandemic. 

“While we are forecasting fewer dollars to operate schools generally as a result of declining student enrollment, we are also grateful to have targeted state and one-time federal investments to limit the impact of this enrollment change school districts all across Oregon are facing,” said Guadalupe Guerrero, Superintendent of P.P.S. “Fortunately, these one-time dollars will maintain our commitment to advancing key staffing priorities, including making progress towards our class size goals, a continued focus on direct student supports, and growing access to arts education.”

 Guerrero will present a budget proposal to the P.P.S. Board of Education on April 26.  The board will adopt a final budget for the 2022-2023 school year in June. 

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