Districts use Covid taxpayer and borrowed $ to protect status quo

Joanne Jacobs:

Public school enrollment fell 3 percent last year and it’s down again this year in major cities, writes Chad Aldeman, policy director of Georgetown’s Edunomics Lab.

Fadumo D. Kahin, right, dressed her family in Highwood Hills Elementary’s school color — orange — to protest the school’s possible closure at an Oct. 28 St. Paul School Board meeting. Photo: Jaida Grey Eagle/Sahan Journal

A few districts are downsizing to match the fall in per-pupil revenue, but federal Covid aid is allowing districts to keep “under-enrolled schools open and fully staffed in the hopes that students come back.” That’s a dangerous gamble.

Beth Hawkins tells a tale of two cities on The 74.

Already losing students before the pandemic, Minneapolis Public Schools’ enrollment fell by more than 12 percent since fall of 2019-20. St. Paul has lost almost 10 percent.