Students in the classroom

Students read and practice writing at M.W. Savage Elementary.

The beginning of the school year in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District brought another anticipated drop in student enrollment.

Kindergarten enrollment dropped by 52 students compared to the start of school last year, according to district officials.

“In some ways, that is almost expected,” Stacey Sovine, the district’s executive director of human resources, told the Board of Education during a Sept. 10 meeting.

The district’s enrollment numbers have declined steadily over the past 20 years, and district officials project the outflow of students to continue for at least the next few years.

Sovine said the pandemic likely impacted this year’s kindergarten enrollment count.

Depending on the child’s birthday, some families are choosing to wait an additional year before enrolling their student into kindergarten.

“We are seeing that trend pretty much across the country,” Sovine said.

The current year’s fall kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment count stands at 7,707 students, according to Aaron Tinklenberg, the district’s communications director.

That’s a loss of 274 students compared to last year’s headcount taken June 1.

The district’s projections anticipate the year will end with 7,606 students; a loss of high school students is usually seen after the spring semester from graduations and students choosing to drop-out.

The district’s year-end projects represent a student enrollment decline of 375 students total between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years.

Even with the unexpected kindergarten decline, district officials are hoping to land close to their projections.

“It’s going to be really, really close to our end of year projected numbers,” Sovine said.

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