San Antonio’s three largest school districts report drops in enrollment

Decrease was primarily among youngest students, officials say

Enrollment numbers take a dive at San Antonio school during COVID-19 pandemic

SAN ANTONIO – When the new school year began, Barry Perez, spokesman for the Northside Independent School District, said officials knew it would be “an anomaly” because of the pandemic.

“We knew that there would be some families that would look for some other options,” Perez said.

He said the district had projected 104,700 students would enroll. Yet, so far, just over 102,00 have signed up.

“We’re approximately 3,000 short where we thought we would be," said Aubrey Chancellor, spokeswoman for the North East Independent School District.

Chancellor said last year’s enrollment was about 64,000. But now it’s about 61,000.

Laura Short, spokeswoman at San Antonio Independent School District, said the district has about 2,400 fewer students.

Other than Northside ISD that Perez said saw drops across all grade levels, and North East ISD that reported somewhat lower enrollment figures among elementary students, all three spokespersons said the decreases were primarily among Pre-K and kindergarten students.

“That does make sense, because in Texas those grades are actually not mandatory,” Chancellor said.

Chancellor said parents who have the younger children decided, “We’re not going to put our little ones in front of the computer screen. We’re not going to wait for school to reopen and we’re just not going to enroll them right now.”

Short said being that SAISD has one of Bexar County’s largest programs for those students, that’s where it also saw the biggest decrease in enrollment.

Perez said it could be that some parents chose to home school their children.

Chancellor said others may have sought out private and charter schools to give them in-school instruction.

Perez said many parents have full-time jobs and are unable to dedicate the time needed to help their children with distance learning, making in-school instruction a necessity.

“I think this is an indication that there are so many families scenarios out there,” Perez said.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.