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.