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DPS enrollment still down, but "declining at declining rate"

Nov 18, 2014

Enrollment in the Detroit Public Schools is down slightly from last year—but the district is calling that a victory after years of double-digit enrollment declines.

According to unofficial data released Tuesday, the district counts 47,238 students across its 97 schools.

That’s down 3.4% from the prior year. But district spokesman Steve Wasko said it beat the district’s own budget targets, as well as demographer’s projections.

And despite a “highly competitive education marketplace in and around the city of Detroit,” along with a shrinking number of school-age children, DPS enrollment is now “declining at a declining rate,” Wasko says.

“For the past 20 years, consistent [year-on-year] loss across Detroit Public Schools has been 10% or greater…in some cases even 20% or 25,” Wasko says.  “The declines both last year and this year are sharply down from that.”

District officials credit a number of “strategic initiatives,” and say “program enhancements” have helped boost enrollment at some schools.