DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Public Schools has increased enrollment by about seven percent over the last decade.
DMPS Director of Communication Phil Roeder said it is because of two large factors.
“Des Moines has become really a city, a community that’s been recognized nationally for it being a great place to live, a great place to find jobs. It’s really affordable. Great place to raise families. So, there’s a very vibrant community that has become a destination for a lot of families and a lot of employees and employers,” Roeder said.
Roeder said the second reason is because of the immigrant population that continues to grow.
Just over one out of every five students is an English Language Learner in DMPS.
The district currently has 33,057 students enrolled. Over the last year alone the district has grown by 78 students.
Roeder said with an increase in students comes new changes to the schools.
“We approved plans to add on for example to Jackson Elementary School, which serves the south side of the city. They’re going to get four new classrooms and an addition added on this upcoming year to address some of the increases there. We’re building a brand-new school in the northeast corner of the city, because of some enrollment increases and growth we have seen at some elementary schools,” Roeder said.
Roeder said the district has seen the most growth on the South side and Northeast side of town.
“It has a big impact on our financing and funding for public education in Iowa is based on your certified enrollment,” Roeder said.
More than half of the DMPS student body consists of students of color, and three out of four students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program.