Gary Delacy speaks to school board, Jenny Green, Mike House, Ann Reed, Eric Gettes

Clinton School District Superintendent Gary DeLacy, right, explains enrollment numbers during a school board meeting Monday. From left are school board members Jenny Green, Mike House, Ann Reed and Eric Gettes.

CLINTON — The decline in enrollment at Clinton schools follows a decline in Clinton’s population, Superintendent Gary DeLacy said Tuesday. “We have less school kids living in our district.”

Certified enrollment rose from 3,624.2 in the fall of 2019 to 3,652.7 in the fall of 2020 when many students attended much of the school year remotely. The preliminary certified enrollment for the current school year is 3,610.4, a drop of about 40.

The decrease in certified enrollment at Clinton Community Schools surprised DeLacy.

DeLacy predicted last year that the district would see an increase in the number of kindergarten students in the fall of 2021 because parents held young children out during the COVID pandemic in the fall of 2020.

In September, DeLacy told the school board that the district usually has two sections of pre-kindergarten, but this year has 58 pre-school students and had to add a section.

With 235 kindergarten students, the total enrollment for the district’s youngest students is 293. The district hasn’t been close to 300 since DeLacy became Clinton’s superintendent four years ago, he said.

While DeLacy expected the increase in younger students, he was surprised to see freshman enrollment at 295 when last year’s eighth-grade class was only 250.

“That’s a lot of transients,” DeLacy said in September.

On Monday, DeLacy explained that 30-40 freshmen should be sophomores but, because of the pandemic, are behind. Overall, enrollment at Clinton schools decreased.

“Quality housing really does affect our enrollment,” said DeLacy. Clinton schools need more residents with children moving to town.

The District is serving children at Valley Bluff Townhomes and The Landing, two of Clinton’s newest housing developments, DeLacy said.

“Open enrollment is in our control,” DeLacy said, but the number of children living in the district is not.

Open enrollment out of the District has been between 370 and 380 in the past three years, and open enrollment into the District is around 60 each year, according to the Iowa Department of Education.

Clinton’s population declined 6.6% from 26,885 in 2010 to 24,469 in 2020, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Enrollment in Clinton schools dropped 11.2% in the same time, from 4,111.2 in October of 2010 to 3,652.7 in October of 2020.

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