Student enrollment in Iowa’s public schools has been declining for decades. That’s about to change, according to the Des Moines Register. As immigrant families continue to come into the state, Iowa’s schools expect Kindergarten students to outnumber graduating seniors for four of the next five years.

Enrollment in Iowa’s schools peaked in the ’70s. The number of students has declined since and last year’s enrollment marked ten straight years of diminishing Iowa public school student populations. High birth rates among Hispanic immigrants will push more students into the schools — a fact that will both boost local school budgets and test teachers who will have more non-English speaking students. The number of students who were classified as English language learners more than doubled over the past decade, to about 3 percent of 2007-08 public school enrollment. The number of Hispanics living in Iowa has jumped 44 percent since 2000.

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