Week of 9/19: Dollars Per Student

This week we take a look at enrollment trends in districts getting the highest levels of ESSER III funding.

. 1. In previous blogs, in addition to ESSER III spending and overall K-12 budget levels.  we have taken a wide-ranging look at enrollment trends as presented in school budgets.  This week we take a look at enrollment trends in districts getting the highest levels of ESSER III funding.  
  • We ranked districts with more than 10,000 students by the amount of ESSER III funding per student the district received. Below are the 20 largest from that list.
  • The 2019/20 to 2020/21 enrollment comparisons are using published NCES figures.  It is worth noting, as discussed in last week's blog, that even districts with directionally increasing enrollments lost enrollment during the 2020/21 year. 
  • The 2020/21 to 2021/22 enrollment comparisons are from state-level disclosures as Federal enrollment figures have not yet been issued.  
  • Sixteen of the top twenty districts (80%) listed below experienced enrollment declines during the 2021/22 school year.    That percentage held across the top 50 districts in "dollars per student" as well, with 40 of them showing enrollment declines in 2021/22.  
Top 20 ESSER III-Student

2.  This week Newark Public Schools, NJ eliminated its mask mandate, and the number of Top 500 school districts with mask mandates is currently zero.  Below is a chart showing the shift in mask-mandates since October 2021.   March 2022 was the largest shift with over 30% of the Top 500 districts moving to mask optional that month: 

Mask Bar Chart 9-15-22

3.  Staff shortages in areas such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers have been widely noted over the last few months, and this week we see references nationwide to a shortage of referees for school sporting events.  Stories out of Oregon,  New York, Colorado, California, Ohio, Illinois, and Texas are among many appearing across the country. 


4. This week we continued digging into district-level website announcements to find insights on how Superintendents view their students' performance on state-level examinations versus before Covid-19.  Similar to last week, what we found was announcements comparing recent results only to 2020/21, not 2019, references to letter grades from the state, or comparisons to other local districts.   For certain states who have released test results, however, we continue to see clear comparisons.    Last week we presented North Carolina, South Carolina, and Connecticut, and below are three more. 
First, from West Virginia, a look at English test results.  The longest bar for each grade is 2019:
West Virginia Test Scores 9-17-22

Next, Minnesota, where Reading and Science fell further behind this past year: 

Minnesota Test Scores 9-17-22

Finally, from Indiana, results from the Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination (IREAD-3), the state's grade three reading assessment:

Indiana Test Scores 9-18-22

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