School district funding is based on the greater of student enrollment numbers from the previous two years. School districts lost students this year to home schooling and virtual schools, as well as because some parents held out their kindergarten-age students.
This year saw 6,171 fewer kindergarteners enrolled, more than a quarter of the total decline. Overall, 21,744 fewer students were enrolled on Oct. 1. Total enrollment was 560,917.
Public schools around the country are losing students, and some states are considering stabilization funds to make up some of the shortfall.
Dramatic declines in student numbers can be cataclysmic for school budgets, forcing districts to abruptly make deep cuts. Oregon’s two-year window helps smooth out dips and bumps.