FCPS enrollment drops 5%


Image via Brookefield Elementary School, FCPS

Quinn Kamenick, Staff Writer

At the start of the 2020-2021 school year there were almost 9,000 fewer students enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) than the prior year. This leaves us all with the question: why? 


This drop in the student population actually happened for a multitude of reasons. These issues included: more people graduated than came in, online school being more challenging for certain students and even students going as far as leaving the school district so they can get in person learning. Kindergartners opting not to return led the decline. 87% of the students who left the school system are in elementary school.


On top of the students leaving prior to this school year, FCPS requested a budget increase of $29 million to help pay staff and faculty members, but this was not received. Some teachers were also concerned this would mean they would lose their jobs. The School Board has said they want to avoid laying off any staff members.


Initially, in order to prevent this, some leaders in the County originally were pushing to bring students back at the start of the year. Teachers unions and officials thought that it would be unsafe, so they adopted the virtual learning schedule. The local private schools mostly opened back up on schedule, and online charter education offered smaller class sizes. FCPS already struggled with overcrowding and funding issues those schools did not face.


FCPS now plans to bring students on March third which they hope will start to bring more of their students back. The County is now working to prepare for an influx in new students.