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Puyallup School District could lose millions in funding due to drop in enrollment this year

The district could lose up to $12 million in funding because enrollment dropped by 1,300 students this fall.

PUYALLUP, Wash. — The Puyallup School District held a town hall Wednesday night to discuss their plan for the rest of the school year amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The district could lose up to $12 million in funding because enrollment dropped by 1,300 students this fall. 

There are 2.82% fewer students enrolled in Washington’s public K-12 schools this fall compared to 2019, according to data released this month from the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). About one-third of that decrease is due to fewer kindergarteners. Enrollment for that grade is down 14.1% this fall over last year. 

Washington schools are funded based on enrollment, and a drop in the student body could lead to fewer dollars for staff, materials and supplies, according to OSPI. 

Most of the Puyallup School District students who did not come back this year are in Kindergarten and Elementary school, according to officials.

The district is now reconfiguring classes due to the drop in enrollment, which means some students will have to change teachers in order to get correct class sizes. 

"We certainly recognize that changing teachings in September and October is hard on our students and their families. Please know that we don't take those decisions lightly," said Amie Brandmire, assistant superintendent of the Puyallup School District, during Wednesday's town hall.

The district did offer an online-only class option this year. Those students will also get new teachers. 

The district said it's ready to pivot to a hybrid learning model as soon as COVID-19 cases decrease enough to make it safe to be back in the classroom.

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