Student Enrollment Drops to Lowest in Five Years


Media by Annabelle Miller

Students walk across the glass bridge during fourth lunch. This year, there were 2176 students enrolled at MHS, but next year that number drops to 2130. This is part of a five year trend that Principal Dr. Steve Hankins said is part of MHS getting back to normal after an enrollment spike.

As the 2023-24 school year approaches, many students and staff members have noticed a drop in student enrollment in the last four years.

When the Class of 2023 first became MHS students in 2019, the student population was 2,403. Next year, an expected 2,130 students will be enrolled at MHS.

The total number of elementary school students will decrease by 114 next year, and the number of high school students will decrease by 130.

This decline has been a district-wide trend said Daniel Steinbruegge, director of finance.

19,886 students are currently attending an RSD school this year, but this number will decrease by 255 students next year and continue to decrease, according to enrollment projections.

Steinbruegge said the biggest impact this drop will have is on the district’s budget. The district is reimbursed based on the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of students.

When enrollment decreases, we may have to adjust building staff through means of attrition.

— Daniel Steinbruegge

The drop in student enrollment will cause a $6 million decrease in state funding by 2024, Steinbruegge said.

“The district is in a healthy operating financial position to limit any short-term financial changes,” Steinbruegge said. “However, when enrollment decreases we may have to adjust building staff through means of attrition.”

This gradual release of staff causes concern for Scott Szevery, social studies department chair.

“When you lose a teacher, class sizes will go up even if you lose 100 students along with them,” Szevery said.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

As department head, Szevery said a big task for him next year will be keeping class sizes under control because of the enrollment decrease.

“This isn’t a surprise because you can track these trends with birth rates and middle school attendance, so we’ll plan for it,” Szevery said.

When you lose a teacher, class sizes will go up even if you lose 100 students along with them.

— Scott Szevery

Principal Dr. Steve Hankins said the drop in enrollment is just a return to normal.

“Historically, Marquette has stayed around 2,000 students until we had a spike four to five years ago,” Dr. Hankins said.

Last year’s and this year’s senior classes were some of the largest in MHS history, Dr. Hankins said, and this contributes to the decrease in the student population.
The class of 2023 is made up of 593 seniors, but there are only 560 incoming freshmen, according to the registrar.

Dr. Hankins said he won’t know until later this year whether staff will need to be reorganized to fit the new student population.

“When the number of students goes down, the number of staff goes down, but we can’t make any projections yet,” Dr. Hankins said.