JUNE 4, 2018 - VOL. 54 No. 8

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Area school enrollments continue to climb

School districts in Sioux Falls and surrounding communities reported increased student enrollments for 2017. The numbers are consistent with a long-running overall upward trend in the region.

On the last Friday in September of each year, all school districts in the state are required to submit an enrollment report to the South Dakota Department of Education. The report details the number of students enrolled for more than 49 percent of the school day broken down by grade level.

The Sioux Falls metro area has seen impressive population growth in recent years, and that growth is reflected in the local schools. This year the Sioux Falls Public School District reported an increase of 302 students. This brings total enrollment in the state's largest school district to 25,004 students - a 1.54 percent increase over 2016. Private schools in the city and public school districts that skirt Sioux Falls have much smaller total populations, but in most cases their rate of growth is higher.

The Harrisburg School District has the highest growth rate, reporting a 7.5 percent increase over last year. They are followed by Sioux Falls Christian Schools at 6.5 percent. Three other districts report growth greater than 3 percent: Tri-Valley School District (3.71%); Tea Area School District (3.63%); and Brandon Valley School District (3.29%).

Though total enrollment numbers are a central statistic, they only tell a portion of the story. It is also important to consider where the growth is occurring. That is, total enrollment by grade level and portion of the total population represented at each level. Almost across the board, elementary enrollment dominates the figures. With more than half of each district's students in K-5, it is clear that student populations will continue to increase in coming years.

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