The number of children enrolled in school in California dropped for the fifth straight year in 2018, dropping 7 percent to 3.6 million.
The drop was mostly due to a dip in the number of students participating in kindergarten, a decrease in enrollment for fifth-grade students and a dip for eighth-grade and 10th-grade children.
The industry lost $2.1 billion, or 13 percent of total revenue, in 2018.
That compares with a drop of $1.3 billion, which is the industry’s smallest annual decline in a decade, the California Association of Child Education Directors said.
It said in a report released Thursday that more than half of the drop was due to students participating less in kindergarten and fourth-grade, and students completing less school in their fifth and eighth years.
The state reported a $5.3 million loss for kindergarten students, a $1 million loss in fifth-graders and a $2 million loss overall.
California also reported a 3.3 percent drop in fifth and sixth-grade enrollment, which was the largest decline of any school category.
The drop was more than offset by a 3 percent increase in eighth-grader enrollment, the largest increase since 2007.
The decline in fifth graders is likely due to the fact that many of them are in the sixth grade and have more years of experience, said Julie Mazzarella, a child education specialist with the California Department of Education.
She said some kids are taking fewer remedial classes in fifth grade because they have more to learn in their lives.
In a statement, the state said it is working to keep kindergarten enrollment up, but there is no timetable for that to happen.
The statewide drop in third grade and fourth grade enrollment was largely due to third-gradets who dropped out, said Mazzella.
Fourth-gradesthat have already completed their third-grade coursework were among the groups that were hardest hit, she said.
In some cases, students were dropping out after the third- grade period because they were not taking enough remedial, instructional and extracurricular learning, Mazzatta said.
There was also a drop in eighth grade students, Mizzaro said, because they did not complete their fourth- grade coursework.