Moffat schools see small bump in student population

Sunset Elementary in Craig, Colorado on Dec. 17, 2021.
Photo by Billy Schuerman / For the Craig Press

While some school districts are seeing no changes or decreases in their student population, Moffat County School District’s enrollment rose slightly over the past year, adding 50 students to schools across the district.

According to data from the Colorado Department of Education, this puts MCSD with a 2.42% increase compared to the 2020-2021 school year. Last school year, the student population came in at 2,068 students, and this year’s total barely pushed ahead, at 2,118.

School population increased slightly over last year in Moffat County.

Until this year, the student population was decreasing consistently since the fall 2018 school year at about 100 students per year. Over the past decade, MCSD hasn’t seen more than 2,300 students, and in the last five years, the district has seen a change of -4.55% (or a decrease of 101 children).

Across the state of Colorado, the student population remained stagnant with only a 0.38% increase over the past year. In over 100 school districts across the state, just under 900,000 children are in the public school system. 115 of the state’s 178 school districts saw population growths overall. According to reporting from Chalkbeat, state education analysts attribute lower or stagnant enrollment to multiple factors, including lower birth rates, less economic opportunity, and high housing prices pushing people out of certain parts of the state.

When it comes to Moffat County’s neighbors, most of the trends are similar to MCSD’s. Steamboat Springs’s School District saw a one-year increase of 2.8%, and Meeker gained 43 students since the 2020-2021 school year. Hayden School District saw a more significant jump, with a 13.54% increase in just one school year.

Of the 2,118 students in the district, 1,491 are white and 627 — 30% — are considered racial or ethnic “minorities.” Of those students, 544 are Hispanic or Latino, 19 are Black, seven are Asian and 10 are Native American or Alaskan Native.

When it comes to gender, student populations are split relatively equally. Girls make up 47% of students in Moffat County, totaling 994 students across the district. Boys narrowly edged ahead with 53% — or 1,124 students. Boys were also the more prominent gender in each racial subgroup besides Native American/Alaskan Native, which was split equally.

Moffat County’s dropout rate for the 2020-2021 school year was at 2.1%. To get this number, CDE takes the number of students that dropped out in a particular year (22 students in 2021) and divides it by the total number of school children from 7th grade to 12th grade — in this case, 1,024 students. This includes the school district’s alternative school students. This is a slight increase in dropouts over the previous year, which had a 1.8% dropout rate.


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