Student enrollment is down statewide for the first time since the height of the pandemic — the only other time in the past decade that a decline has been recorded.
There are about 1,500 fewer students in Idaho schools this fall, bringing the total enrollment number to about 312,900 — down from about 314,400 in 2022-23.
|Year||Enrollment||% Change||Change in student numbers|
Most districts and charters lost students: 101 of 186 with measurable data showed declines. Large traditional districts and charters/districts with a history of dysfunction had the biggest dips.
To find out how enrollment has changed in your district from last year to this, go here.
But there was some notable growth — especially among charters and online schools.
Large, traditional districts and troubled charters/districts lost the most students
When tracking enrollment declines by the greatest number of students (as opposed to percentage of students), the state’s largest traditional districts took the biggest hits.
And that was the case from the panhandle to the Treasure Valley to East Idaho.
Charters, which are more likely to see growth, did not make the list.
Districts/LEAs with the greatest enrollment losses (by number of students)
|District / Local education agency||2023-2024||2022-2023||Change|
|Pocatello / Chubbuck||11,733||12,088||-355|
But when enrollment dips are considered by percentages, charters comprised half the list of the greatest student declines.
A handful of charters and districts on this list have been marked by dysfunction.
The Village Leadership Academy saw a 67% decline this year after it defaulted on its building loan and had to downsize to a smaller facility — the most recent development after years of financial issues.
Peace Valley Charter has also made recent headlines over its controversial renewal — which partly drove Brian Scigliano to step down from the Idaho Public Charter Commission last spring. Scigliano disagreed with renewing the school because of its chronic, repeated violations and “dysfunctional board.”
Also on the list: West Bonner County School District, which has been engulfed in controversy surrounding Branden Durst’s brief tenure as the district’s leader; and Council School District, where Superintendent Clete Edmunson recently stepped down amid pending litigation and a school board investigation.
Districts/LEAs with the greatest enrollment losses (by percentage of students)*
*For districts/LEAs with 50 students or more
|District /LEA||Total enrollment 23-24||22-23||Change by student numbers||% change from 22-23 to 23-24|
|The Village Leadership Academy (Boise)||72||219||-147||-67%|
|Idaho Stem Academy||83||106||-23||-22%|
|Idaho College and Career Readiness Academy||134||158||-24||-15%|
|Peace Valley Charter||278||326||-48||-15%|
|West Bonner County||995||1145||-150||-13%|
|Chief Tahgee Elementary Academy||116||127||-11||-9%|
Charters and online schools see the most growth
Charters and online schools were the most likely to see the greatest enrollment gains according to student numbers (as opposed to percentages). Of those with the most student increases, only two were traditional districts (Oneida County includes an online school that enrolls students statewide), and both are located in rural East Idaho.
Districts/LEAs with the greatest enrollment gains (by number of students)
|District / LEA||23-24||22-23||Change in student numbers|
|iSucceed Virtual High||1171||939||+232|
|Gem Prep: Meridian South||425||194||+231|
|The Academy (Chubbuck)||744||544||+200|
|Pinecrest Academy (Twin Falls)||377||254||+123|
|Hayden Canyon Charter||534||450||+84|
|Elevate Academy Nampa||414||332||+82|
|Gem Prep: Online||373||292||+81|
In terms of the greatest gains by percentage, charters entirely dominated. And many with the most growth either have brand new buildings, or have plans for a new facility in the works.
This year, Pinecrest opened a new “state-of-the-art” building, after the school outgrew its former building. The Academy added a middle school, so it now consists of Connor Academy (K-5) and Alpine Academy Middle (6-8).
And three schools on this list — Gem Prep: Meridian South, Elevate Academy Nampa, and Elevate Academy North — received about $10 million each last year in bonds or loans for a new building.
Districts/LEAs with the greatest enrollment gains (by percentage of students)*
*For those with 50 students or more
|District /LEA||Total enrollment 23-24||22-23||Change by student number||% change from 22-23 to 23-24|
|Gem Prep: Meridian South||425||194||231||+119%|
|Pinecrest academy (Twin Falls)||377||254||123||+48%|
|The Academy (Chubbuck)||744||544||200||+37%|
|Gem Prep: Online||373||292||81||+28%|
|Elevate Academy North (Post Falls).||285||227||58||+26%|
|iSucceed Virtual High||1171||939||232||+25%|
|Elevate Academy Nampa||414||332||82||+25%|
|Doral Academy (Meridian)||321||256||65||+25%|
|Idaho Virtual Education Partners, Inc.||288||235||53||+23%|
|Syringa Mountain School (Hailey)||110||90||20||+22%|
- Department of Labor dives into statewide growth data
- New federal charter school grant would target quality as growth slows
- Boise schools manage declining enrollment
EdNews Data Analyst Randy Schrader contributed to this report.