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Minneapolis Public Schools grapple with declining enrollment

The decline is largely made up of students of color.

Minneapolis Public Schools is taking steps to address its declining enrollment numbers, especially among students of color.

In a Tuesday presentation, the school district laid out current enrollment trends. Among the findings was that around 1,500 enrolled students left for other districts since last year. 

Of those students, 80 percent were students of color, with 50 percent being African American.

Meanwhile, Minneapolis Public Schools only attracted 734 students from other districts, leading to a net loss for the district.

To address these concerns, the district has convened a task force to encourage the recruitment and retention of these students.

The presentation also identified some of the top reasons for these students leaving the district: Issues with school discipline systems ("as applied to their own children and others"), unresolved family requests, transportation and proximity to school were all cited.

Other issues includes parents requesting transfers due to bullying concerns reported and never resolved.

While the district is already doing outreach work, including phone calls, digital ads and emails, the task force will be charged with taking a closer look at student recruitment and retention.

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The task force will help establish training for faculty and staff, create a retention plan and examine enrollment by demographics at each school in the district.

While Minneapolis schools grapple with declining enrollment, nearby schools in the metro are seeing the opposite trend.

Just miles away at Wayzata Public Schools, a 2014 report estimated enrollment would grow to almost 13,000 students by the 2022-23 school year, an increase from 9,732 in 2006-07. 

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