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District 196 population nears 160,000 and ‘capture rate’ remains high

The total population of Independent School District 196 is estimated at 159,390, according to projections by the state demographer’s office. That represents an increase of 1,915 residents or 1.2 percent over the estimate of 157,475, from one year ago.

The School Board approved the district’s 2020 certified census at its June 22 meeting. The approved census figure is used to determine tax levies for funding community education programs in the district.

District 196 is the fourth largest school district in Minnesota, with total enrollment of approximately 30,000 students. The district covers approximately 110 square miles and includes all or parts of the cities of Rosemount, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville, Coates, Inver Grove Heights and Lakeville, and Empire and Vermillion townships.

Nearly nine of every 10 school-age children who live in District 196 attend District 196 schools. Of the 33,000 school-age children living in District 196 last year, approximately 29,000 were enrolled in District 196 schools, giving the district an 87 percent “capture rate” among resident students. Anything over 80 percent is considered high for a school district in the Twin Cities, according to former state demographer Hazel Reinhardt of Hazel Reinhardt Consulting, who has conducted enrollment studies for the district. Reinhardt says capture rate is a reflection on the quality of local public schools, as well as the presence of charter schools, nonpublic schools and other educational alternatives in the area. Students who open enroll into District 196 are not included in the capture rate calculation.