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Bowser Administration Announces that Enrollment in DC’s Public Schools Has Grown for a Straight Decade

Friday, March 8, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced an increase in enrollment numbers in public schools in the District of Columbia for the 10th consecutive year, reaching 93,016 students in school year 2018-2019. Audited enrollment numbers, released by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), show a 1.6 percent increase overall in both sectors–or 1,479 additional students–over the previous school year.

“Enrollment in our public schools continues to grow because, each year, we have continued to expand access to high-quality schools and programming for families across all eight wards,” said Mayor Bowser. “We’ve made big investments in our schools, students, and educators, and those investments are paying off. This process has never been a sprint, but a decade-long commitment to building trust, increasing accountability, and working together as a community to set more young people up for success. We have made tremendous progress and now the work to build on our success and expand opportunity for our students continues.”

Enrollment in DC Public Schools (DCPS) increased from 48,144 to 49,056 students, a two percent increase over the previous school year. Enrollment in DC’s public charter schools increased from 43,393 to 43,960 students, a one percent increase over the previous school year.

“It’s encouraging to watch our enrollment numbers increase year after year – it’s a testament to our students’ and families’ growing confidence in our public schools across the city,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “Our strategic investments are paying off and as more students continue to enter our schools, we will work to ensure they are receiving a high quality education.”

To support the District’s growing student population, Mayor Bowser continues to make historic investments in education, including a $94 million increase in funding for the District of Columbia Public Schools and public charter schools in the fiscal year 2019 budget.

The District’s audited enrollment numbers released today mirror unaudited enrollment numbers released to the public on November 7, 2018, which reflected a statewide student enrollment increase of about 1.6 percent.

Public School Enrollment Since 2007

Year DCPS Charter State
SY2007-08 49,422 21,947 71,369
SY2008-09 45,190 25,729 70,919
SY2009-10 44,718 27,661 72,379
SY2010-11 45,631 29,366 74,997
SY2011-12 45,191 31,562 76,753
SY2012-13 45,557 34,673 80,230
SY2013-14 46,393 36,565 82,958
SY2014-15 47,548 37,684 85,403
SY2015-16 48,439 38,905 87,344
SY2016-17 48,555 44,219 90,061
SY2017-18 48,144 43,393 91,537
SY2018-19 49,056 43,960 93,016


Background on the District’s Audit of Student Enrollment

As the state education agency, OSSE is responsible for contracting with an independent auditor to conduct an annual audit of the student enrollment data submitted by local education agencies (LEAs) in the District. In the first week of October, auditors contracted by OSSE launch an audit of public school enrollment in the District of Columbia that includes a review of student enrollment documentation submitted by LEAs. As part of the annual process, LEAs resolve any anomalies found in enrollment documents and are offered the opportunity to appeal the results of the audit as they relate to their schools. Once all documents and appeals are reviewed and resolved, OSSE releases final, official enrollment numbers to LEAs.  

Prior to the audit, school-based staff were trained in the annual enrollment audit process as well as changes to the process that were enacted in summer 2018. OSSE improved the enrollment audit for the 2018-2019 school year by updating the “OSSE Residency Verified” population to include students verified using the online residency system via the DC Office of Tax and Revenue; providing additional support to address schools’ questions during the audit; clarifying the process of duplicative enrollment resolution; enhancing the Enrollment Audit and Child Count Application; and providing greater consistency in the enrollment audit process.

For additional resources regarding the District of Columbia 2018-2019 school year student enrollment audit, as well as information about past enrollment audits and changes to the enrollment audit process for the 2018-2019 school year, visit the OSSE website at osse.dc.gov.