DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Public Schools has announced that early numbers show student enrollment is not as low as experts had predicted.

DPS spokesman Steve Wasko says they were prepared to lose as many as 5,000 students this year.

“It appears that Detroit Public School will exceed the projections for enrollment as provided by professional demographers by over 2,500 students,” said Wasko, who credits a very aggressive enrollment campaign and some new initiatives.

Early counts show the district has nearly 49,000 students compared to over 150,000 in the late 1990s.

“And if that prevails and that turns out to be the case, it really would be two things: It would be the smallest reduction in the number of students year-to-year within DPS, and would also represent a likely increase in Detroit Public Schools’ market share,” Wasko said

“We’re not where we need to be, but at least we’re not where we used to be,” said Detroit Federation of Teachers president  Keith Johnson, who says a lack of stability over the years has led to the drop in student enrollment.

“Now we’ve had three emergency managers since 2009,” he said, “and, you know, it’s like a recycling of old habits that help to contribute to the decline in enrollment.”

According to Johnson, 17 different people have led the district since the 90s.

This year, DPS offered a special meal as well as prizes as incentives for students to attend class on Count Day.

DPS has until Nov. 6 to submit Count Day data to Wayne County’s intermediate school district.


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