By Paul Warren and Julien Lafortune
Demographic projections from the California Department of Finance (DOF) suggest that California’s public K–12 school system is entering a long period of declining enrollment. By 2027–28, statewide enrollment is projected to fall nearly 7 percent (compared to 1.5% over the past decade). Enrollment is projected to shrink in about half of all counties, and declines are expected in more of the state’s larger counties.
Districts with declining enrollment face fiscal pressures, as state funding is tied to the number of students they serve. Declining enrollment also has important implications for the state budget. To help policymakers understand the effects of declines over the coming decade, we looked at recent district-level enrollment declines and assessed their consequences for districts as well as the state budget.