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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester School District experienced a large and unexpected drop in enrollment this fall.

The Rochester School Board will be presented with the numbers at its regular meeting tomorrow evening. They show the total number of students enrolled, as of October 1, was 17,635.

That is over 800 below the level predicted by the district's most recent enrollment projection that was released in February, which forecast the number of students would rise by about 150 students when compared to the start of the 2019 school year when the October 1st enrollment was certified at just under 18,300 students.

The enrollment count this fall was the lowest since 2015 when the fall headcount had 17,445 students enrolled in the Rochester Public Schools. It also marked the first time since the fall of 2017 that the district's enrollment has been under 18,000.

It is speculated the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in the enrollment drop this year. School District officials say the reduction in the number of students will reduce the district's per-pupil state funding by over $6 million.

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