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Arizona's school enrollment starting to recover after pandemic downturn

Arizona's student enrollment increased by 3.5% over the last year after many public schools noticed an exodus of families leave during the pandemic.

ARIZONA, USA — New enrollment figures show Arizona's public schools are starting to see their enrollment figures recover from the downturn experienced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 38,500 students fled the state's public schools during the 2020-2021 school year after many families became dissatisfied with how their child's district was adapting to the pandemic's limitations.  

Some students enrolled in private schools and others simply fell off the grid and didn't return after campuses started to reopen. 

RELATED: Arizona is trying to rescue K-12 students lost during pandemic

The sudden plunge in enrollment disrupted the financial projections of many districts since Arizona allocates education funding based on the number of students in the classroom. 

But state officials claim Arizona's schools have begun to crawl out of the depths of the pandemic as more students start to enroll in public districts.

The Arizona Department of Education said the state's student enrollment had grown by 3.5% during a one-year span that ended in September 2021.

The state's kindergarten classes showed the most growth out of all the grade levels with a 15-percent jump in enrollment. 

RELATED: Will Arizona schools see a pandemic kindergarten boom?

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman credited the gradual recovery to an outreach campaign her office conducted to connect with students who were most at risk of not returning to their school. 

"A statewide effort was needed to re-engage students and families—and these preliminary student count numbers show signs of success," Hoffman said in a statement.

Though enrollment numbers show improvements across the state, some of Arizona's school districts have had lackluster growth.

The Chandler Unified School District, one of the state's biggest districts, lost 1,850 students during the 2020-2021 school year. 

As of this month, the district had only gained back 28 students during the current school year. An analysis recently completed by Applied Economics estimates that Chandler Unified will experience enrollment declines over the next decade.

RELATED: No, 2020 did not see the largest public school enrollment decline in US history

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