Preschoolers read books in their classroom at Shawsheen Elementary in Greeley on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (Valerie Mosley, Special to the Colorado Sun)

By Yesenia Robles, Ann Schimke, Sam Park, Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee, Chalkbeat Colorado

Colorado’s public school enrollment nudged up this year — propelled by changes in full-day kindergarten, according to official numbers released Thursday.

Statewide enrollment this year grew by less than 0.2%, with 913,223 students enrolled this year — 1,687 more than in 2018-19. It’s a slightly bigger increase than last year.

Much of that is due to more students enrolled in full-day kindergarten, an expected development with the state making it free this year for all students.

Thursday’s data also show that 11.6% of public school students, or 106,238 students, were identified as students with special needs. That’s an increase of 4,157 students compared with the previous school year. Across districts, that change was mixed.

Slightly more students have been identified as homeless, and fewer are getting home-schooled.

Here are some of the bigger takeaways:

Several districts are losing students

Among larger and Front Range districts, Adams 14 suffered the biggest percentage decline in students. This school year, Adams 14 enrolled just over 6,600 students, or 6.4% fewer than the previous year when it had more than 7,000. The district has been losing students for years. Since the fall of 2014, Adams 14 has had a nearly 13% drop in enrollment.

Some of the other districts that had big enrollment losses this year include Sheridan, Littleton, Pueblo City 60, Westminster, and Adams 12.


Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization covering schools and education. The news organization believes education is a local issue, and roots its coverage in local communities. Chalkbeat reports from and about eight locations: Colorado, Chicago,...