Some Iron Range Schools See A Drop In Enrollment

Many remain hesitant about sending their kids back to in-person instruction during the pandemic.

AURORA, Minn. – Multiple Iron Range public school districts are still being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some are reporting a decline in enrollment because of the ongoing health crisis.

It’s not uncommon for some Northland school districts to see a slight drop in student enrollment from year to year, but the coronavirus pandemic is causing an even greater decline than usual.

The Mesabi East School District is one of several Iron Range schools suffering from decreasing enrollment.

This year alone, the district has lost about 50 enrolled students

The superintendent believes enrollment has gone down mainly because more families are choosing to homeschool their kids right now.

Many remain hesitant about sending their kids back to in-person instruction during the pandemic.

The district currently more than 900 enrolled students and losing 50 of them is a big hit to the budget.

“Every student is worth about $6,500, just on the basic formula. By the time you add in the other parts of the formula our students are about $10,000-$12,000 that we lose,” said Superintendent Gregg Allen. “If multiply $10,000 by 50 students, that’s $500,000. That’s a big chunk of change for a district of our size.”

The superintendent says the district is being cautious about spending because of the enrollment drop.

He says previous COVID-19 relief funding has helped the district financially throughout the pandemic.

Superintendent Allen says he is also hopeful the latest federal relief package now moving through Congress will provide more support in the near future.

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