An elementary student reads a book in the library.

Enrollment in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools reached a new all-time high this year and is projected to grow by as many as 5,500 additional students over the next 10 years.

The official October enrollment report was presented at the School Board’s Oct. 8 meeting. It shows there were 28,871 students enrolled in the district on Oct. 1 this year. That is an increase of 227 students or 0.8 percent compared to last year’s total of 28,644. School districts are required to prepare an Oct. 1 enrollment report each year that is submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education to determine funding from the state.

This is the sixth consecutive year of rising enrollment in District 196 and the growth is expected to continue at a more rapid rate in the years ahead. Projections presented to the School Board last fall by former state demographer Hazel Reinhardt predict that an additional 4,300 to 5,500 students will be enrolled in the district by the 2026-27 school year. Reinhardt said the growth will be driven by new housing development in the southern and eastern portions of the district, including the 4,800-acre UMore Park property in Rosemount that the University of Minnesota started to sell to developers earlier this year. She said the UMore Park land alone could bring an additional 1,500 single-family homes and 300 townhomes to the district by 2025.

To help prepare for the projected growth in enrollment, the district recently purchased 34 acres of land in Rosemount as a site for a future elementary school. The land was purchased with funds remaining from the 2015 bond referendum. Before a school can be built on the site, the district would need to get voter approval of another bond referendum for funding. The board had preliminary discussions this summer about bringing a bond referendum in the November 2019 election for additional school capacity.

In addition to new development, Reinhardt said District 196 continues to enroll a high percentage of school-age students who live in the district. Last year, the district had a “capture rate” of 86 percent of resident students compared to a statewide average of 77.4 percent. “You have a very high capture rate for a Twin Cities school district,” she said. “You continue to be a public school district of choice.”

The largest class in the district this year is grade six, with 2,228 students, and the smallest is grade 11, with 1,997 students. The breakdown by level shows that on Oct. 1, 2018, the district had:

  • -12,256 elementary school students (grades K-5), an increase of 27 students from last year;
  • -6,587 middle school students (grades 6-8), an increase of 169;
  • -8,529 high school students (grades 9-12), an increase of four;
  • -984 students in center-based special education programs, an increase of 33, and
  • -515 students in early childhood special education, a decrease of six students from last year.

Students of color now represent 37 percent of total enrollment, up 2 percent and almost 4 percent higher than the state average last year. Sixty-three percent of students are white, 12 percent black, 9.8 percent Hispanic, 8.4 percent Asian, 0.3 percent American Indian, 0.1 percent Pacific Islander and 6.4 percent reported they are more than one race.

Students who qualify to receive English Learner (EL) services represent 5.7 percent of total enrollment, down 0.6 percent and approximately 2 percent less than the state average last year.

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