AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts have seen a fluctuation in enrollment figures. Now that COVID-19 case numbers are decreasing across the area, many school districts around the Amarillo area are seeing an increase in enrollment figures from the beginning of the pandemic.

Bushland Independent School District

Officials with Bushland ISD reported growth over the last three school years. According to data provided to MyHighPlains.com, officials have seen an increase of more than 100 students since the 2019-20 school year.

  • 2019-2020 School Year
    • September 2019: 1419
    • May 2020: 1439
  • 2020-2021 School Year
    • September 2020: 1433
    • May 2021: 1456
  • 2021-2022 School Year
    • September 2021: 1513
    • April 19, 2022: 1547.

Canyon ISD

In enrollment figures provided to MyHighPlains.com from Canyon ISD, officials reported a slight dip in enrollment from the 2019-20 school year to the 2020-21 school year. However, the enrollment figures the district is reporting for the 2021-22 school year is higher than the figures from prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials from Canyon ISD attribute this growth to the more than 20 subdivisions within the district. New homes throughout the district are contributing to the increase in student population within the district.

  • 2019-2020 School Year
    • October 2019: 10,364
    • December 2019: 10,357
    • April 2020: 10,300
  • 2020-2021 School Year
    • October 2020: 10,282
    • December 2020: 10,102
    • April 2021: 10,113
  • 2021-2022 School Year
    • October 2021: 10,662
    • December 2021: 10,670
    • April 2022: 10,690

River Road ISD

River Road ISD also reported an increase in enrollment from April 2021. Officials are also reporting that its April 2022 enrollment is higher than it was prior to the pandemic, relating it to the increased number of students at the district’s elementary school as well as its early childhood academy.

  • Fall 2018: 1,336 students
  • Feb. 2020: 1,318 students
  • April 2021: 1,259 students
  • April 2022: 1,350 students.

Decreases in Enrollment

However, both Amarillo ISD and Highland Park ISD reported decreases in enrollment. Officials with Highland Park ISD said that the district has seen a decrease of around 75 students from 2019, reporting around 900 students in 2019 and reporting 825 students in April 2022.

Over the last three school years, officials from Amarillo ISD have reported a decrease in around 1,570 students. According to data provided to MyHighPlains.com from the district, officials reported the enrollment figures for the last three school years as follows:

  • 2019-20 School Year: 32,436
  • 2020-21 School Year: 31,388
  • 2021-22 School Year: 30,866

According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the decrease in enrollment at Amarillo ISD is expected to impact the district’s staffing situation. Officials have said that the district is expected to lose a substantial amount of money from the state, which would help cover the day-to-day operations of the district.

“Our intent is to deal with that through normal attritions and retirements and resignations,” Amarillo ISD Superintendent Doug Loomis previously said to MyHighPlains.com. “At any point those don’t match up perfectly and we can’t make a good decision for the instructional process, we have a very healthy fund balance that can help us put a band-aid on it until either enrollment improves or we get to another fiscal year and we keep working through it.” 

Loomis previously related this decrease in enrollment for Amarillo ISD to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the area’s decline in birth rates as well as the overall decrease in the district’s refugee population.

“What we’ve seen over the last 10 years is we’ve started to see a really slow decline in enrollment,” Loomis said at the time. “…It’s not about kids leaving. It’s about kids graduating and it’s about not replacing the kids who are graduating.”