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Enrollment at private schools keeps rising

Private school enrollment has been rising in Florida for a whole decade, with the most dramatic increase — 22,525 students — occurring between 2015/16 and 2016/17.

Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Photo by Morgan Von Gunten

By LuAnne Schendel July 2019

Private school enrollment — along with the number of private schools operating in the state — increased over the past year, according to the Florida Department of Education’s Florida’s Private Schools: 2018-19 School Year Annual Report.

Compared with the 2017/18 school year, prekindergarten through 12th-grade enrollment grew by 10,129 students — from 370,166 to 380,129 — while the number of private schools increased by 39, from 2,650 to 2,689. The uptick followed a decade-long trend since 2009/10 of 67,004 more students and 600 more schools.

As noted by redefinED, private school enrollment now tops 15% of total school enrollment in five Florida districts: Jefferson and Martin, each with 31.7%; Escambia with 19.2%; Dade with 17.5%; and Duval with 16.3%.

While private school enrollment was constant across grade levels, varying from 6.2% at 11th grade to 7.3% at kindergarten, pre-kindergarten enrollment in 2018/19 stood at 11.8% for a total of 44,801 students.

Private school enrollment has been on the upswing each year since 2011/12, with the most dramatic increase — 22,525 students — occurring between 2015/16 and 2016/17.

The FDoE web site lists its Private School Annual Reports dating back to 2000/01.

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