Enrollment numbers for Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) are kind of a big deal…as those numbers drive some funding for our school system. Here in Howard County we saw a big drop in enrollment in 2020 (Howard County Public School System enrollment drops by more than 1,500 students between 2019 and 2020) with a drop of 1,575 students between 2019 and 2020 (Annual reports). The October 2020 report showed a drop in enrollment of 49 students from the September report.

The November 2020 report shows a further drop in enrollment of 55 students. This brings the total of 1,679 students lower than what was reported in September 2019 for HCPSS (and 104 less students than reported in the September 2020 annual report).

Looking at this a little deeper between October and November 2020:

  • Elementary Schools Enrollment:  Oct: 25,289 | Nov: 25,252 (-37)
  • Middle School Enrollment: Oct: 13,652 | Nov: 13,644 (-8)
  • High School Enrollment: Oct: 18,189 | Nov: 18,177 (-12)
  • Special School Enrollment: Oct: 114 | Nov: 116 (+2)

As a reminder: The school system projected an enrollment growth of 773 students in the FY2021 operating budget. This is now a swing of 2,452 students not in our local school system (per the projection).

COVID-19 is playing a big role in the falling enrollment numbers for HCPSS (one can easily assume that fact). Many parents have either opted to homeschool, send their kids to private school or made other decisions they think best for their kids based on the decisions made by our Board of Education.

The big question now is about the money…and how the Board members will deal with what could be lower funding this next budget season? Not just with enrollment…but also COVID-19 and the lower revenue in the state and county will play a major role in funding for the school system next year.

Scott E

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