News Story

Detroit School District Enrollment Up For First Time This Century

Superintendent says Detroit's conventional school district gained 700 students

The superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District announced this week that the district has reversed a decades-long decline in enrollment, with a gain of 700 students for the 2019-20 school year.

The official audited student counts have not yet been released by the state of Michigan. But Detroit schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti announced the increase on Twitter:

“Proud to say that DPSCD increased its K-12 enrollment by another 700 students. We are now over 51K. Three years ago we were at 45.5K. Enough said ... ”

The extra 700 students will bring an estimated $5.7 million in additional state support to the district.

Detroit Public Schools enrolled 168,213 students in 1999-2000, according to state data.

If the audit confirms a gain of 700 students, it would represent the first real increase in the district’s enrollment since then, if not longer. The state’s online enrollment records only go as far back as 1999-2000.

Enrollment in Detroit Public Schools plummeted by 20,000 students in the 2012-13 school year. Part of the decline happened when management of 11 of the city’s worst performing schools was transferred to a separate entity known as the Education Achievement Authority, which was created by Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University. When those schools were removed from the district and given over to the EAA, the 9,707 students they enrolled went with them.

In the 2017-18 year, management of those schools was transferred back to Detroit’s public school district, which gave it an overall enrollment boost of 5,155. On the other hand, schools that had enrolled 9,707 students in 2012-13 enrolled just 5,227 students when the district took them over again in 2017-18.

Michigan Capitol Confidential reported in June 2018 that around 15,000 Detroit residents attend a charter school in a different city, and another 12,000 travel to a different school district under the state Schools of Choice law. As of the 2016-17 school year, 50,460 students attended charter schools in Detroit.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.