Minnesota public schools see enrollment decline, charter schools increase: MDE

Annual Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) data released Thursday shows public school enrollment has declined slightly, while charter school enrollment has risen and students qualifying for free and reduced lunches has increased sharply.

MDE school year enrollment data for Minnesota schools shows that during the 2022-23 school year public schools saw a roughly 0.3% decrease – or 2,427 students – in comparison to the previous school year.

Meanwhile, charter schools saw a 1.9% enrollment increase, and nonpublic schools saw a 3.4% enrollment increase during the same period. Homeschooling saw a 5% decrease.

The number of public school students qualifying for free or reduced meals increased 36.9% from the 2021-22 school year to the 2022-23 school year, according to the MDE announcement, and is attributed to factors that include the expiration of the federal free meals programs, and the addition of collecting direct certification via Medicaid.

Enrollment data provided for the 2022-23 school year is based on enrollment counts at Minnesota schools on Oct. 1.