STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — While enrollment in New York State’s public schools will be at its lowest in nearly 30 years, enrollment in New York City’s public schools continues to grow, according to a new report.
The report — released Tuesday by Empire Center, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank based in Albany — found that 100 districts in the state’s nearly 700 public school districts had increased enrollment from 2008-2009 to 2018-2019, including New York City’s five boroughs.
In New York City public schools, enrollment has increased 1.33% from 2008-2009 with 981,940 pupils to 2018-2019 with 994,953 pupils.
But New York State public school enrollment is at its lowest, with 2,578,135 students in schools in 2018-2019 — down more than 30,000 students than the year before. This is the lowest enrollment since the 1990-1991 count of 2,540,944 pupils, according to numbers from the State Education Department.
Empire Center said U.S. Census data has shown a continued decline in the state’s population of school-age children in 2018, which means that enrollment can continue to decrease.
In the last 10 years, school enrollments have been shrinking the fastest in upstate rural counties, while increases were seen in mostly downstate counties. Empire Center said in its report that these enrollment trends highlight the need of innovative reforms in the state.
In Staten Island, hundreds of new school seats are expected to be added as the city tackles overcrowding in schools and a growing population. The city’s Capital Plan includes funding for approximately 56,900 total seats for elementary, intermediate and high schools citywide over the next five years.
New schools are being constructed on Staten Island, new charter schools are admitting students and other school seats may be acquired by leasing and renovating space.