RPS sees another drop in enrollment

(ABC 6 News) – It’s the second year in a row Rochester Public Schools has seen a decline in enrollment. But according to both parents and the district the dip is no cause for concern.

“I actually like that we are slowing down,” said Samantha LeVan. She has two daughters in the district.

LeVan says the smaller enrollment is better for students because class sizes will be smaller.

“My oldest daughter is in the highly gifted program, so she gets a little bit more attention because class sizes are little bit smaller and there is a little bit more attention given to the students when they need it,” said LeVan.

RPS was projected to have 17,434 students in its classrooms in 2023, almost 300 fewer students than the 2022. But new data shows that it wasn’t as bad as they predicted. The school district took an additional 147 students that expected.

“So that means they will be coming back to the board with a $700 thousand increase in the revenue that we are estimated to have this year because we are going to have more students than expect,” said School Board Chair Cathy Nathan.

More students mean more funding from the government. But Nathan says it’s not as much as schools need it to be.

“We have been lagging behind inflation from our state funding since 2003 and so we are still 12 hundred dollars behind per student what we would have gotten, if we kept up with inflation all those years,” said Nathan.

Nathan still sees a positive future for RPS, with some caution.

“We are accommodating the students we have now. We are ready to take any students who choose Rochester Public Schools. We have the space; we have the programing. We will just have to monitor the situation as it goes,” said Nathan.

And LeVan is excited the opportunities that lay ahead.

“I’m excited to see what’s changing. Love the new schools they are welcoming and exciting, so I think there’s a lot of positive going on there,” said LeVan.

With the referendum coming up in November, the school district is asking for $10 million a year over the next 10 years.