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Public School Enrollment Exceeds Population Growth in Little Rock

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, September 5, 2018

It was recently reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that, based on day ten attendance, the Springdale School District has surpassed Little Rock as the largest school district in Arkansas.

This is true.

However, what was not reported is that, despite weak population growth in the City over the past few decades, more students now attend public schools in the Little Rock School District footprint and the City of Little Rock than at any time in history.

Year LRSD  PCSSD (in LR)  Charters (in LR)  Total  LR Population  Public School Students as % of Population 
 1985  18,834    -      
 1986  19,060    -      
 1987  26,079    -      
 1988  26,663    -      
 1989  25,090    -      
 1990  24,658    -    175,795  
 1991  24,476    -      
 1992  24,364    -      
 1993  23,264    -      
 1994  23,013    -      
 1995  24,433    -      
 1996      -      
 1997  24,665    -      
 1998  24,975    -      
 1999  25,047    -      
 2000  25,077    -    183,180  
 2001  25,936    -      
 2002  25,727    -      
 2003  25,701    -      
 2004  24,424  4,872  163  29,459    
 2005  25,095  4,823  299  30,217  186,396  16.21%
 2006  25,500  4,830  359  30,689    
 2007  25,738  4,719  655  31,112    
 2008  24,660  4,411  1,714  30,785    
 2009  24,380  4,301  1,918  30,599    
 2010  24,226  4,101  2,215  30,542  193,524  15.78%
 2011  24,049  4,033  2,870  30,952  195,048  15.87%
 2012  23,594  4,624  3,015  31,233  196,228  15.92%
 2013  23,676  4,430  3,052  31,158  196,830  15.88%
 2014  23,363  4,366  3,374  31,103  197,235  15.78%
 2015  23,164  4,385  3,745  31,294  197,864  15.82%
 2016  22,759  4,130  4,244  31,133  198,307  15.70%
 2017  22,338  4,145  5,044  31,527  198,606  15.87%
 2018*  22,664          
 Increase/Decline Since 1985
-3,415 (-13%)
Since 2005
-727 (-15%)
Since 2005
+4,881 (+2,994%)
Since 2004 
+2,068 (+7%)
Since 2005
+5,082 (+6.6%)
Since 2010
+0.09

 
*10th Day Attendance; Includes Pre-K

Fast Facts:

  • There were more public school students in Little Rock last year than at any time in history
  • Public school enrollment in Little Rock has increased +2,068 students (7%) since 2004
  • Open-enrollment public charter school enrollment is the only increasing public school enrollment
  • Public school enrollment as a percentage of Little Rock's population has essentially been stable over the past 12 years
  • Since charters were introduced to Little Rock in 2004, they have grown enrollment by 4,881 students, while LRSD lost 2,086 and PCSSD lost 727 for a combined district loss of 2,813.
  • Charter enrollment exceeded the combined school district loss by 2,068 students
  • Charters are retaining, returning public school students to Little Rock at a rate which exceeds population growth

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