Cobb school district expects rebound from pandemic enrollment losses

Enrollment in the Cobb County School District went down during the pandemic, but it's expected to hit 111,000 by the 2023-2024 academic year. (Courtesy of Cobb County School District)

Credit: Cobb County School District

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Enrollment in the Cobb County School District went down during the pandemic, but it's expected to hit 111,000 by the 2023-2024 academic year. (Courtesy of Cobb County School District)

Credit: Cobb County School District

Georgia’s second largest school district is on track to reach pre-pandemic enrollment levels within the next two years, a consultant recently told the Board of Education.

The Cobb County School District is projected to enroll 111,500 students during the 2023-2024 school year, according to James Wilson, CEO of Education Planners, a Marietta-based consulting firm.

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That’s on par with figures from 2019, when nearly 111,000 students were enrolled. During the pandemic, enrollment numbers dropped to 107,000 in 2020 and 2021.

“We actually feel very good about where we are,” Wilson told school board members.

Wilson and his team forecast the 2023-2024 enrollment before the pandemic began. They believe it’s still accurate based on information such as birthrates, building permits and housing trends.

Districts around the country dealt with enrollment dips during the COVID-19 pandemic as parents delayed their children’s start to kindergarten or turned to home schooling or private school options. Georgia was already facing a deceleration in enrollment after births plummeted in the state following the Great Recession.

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But that could change in Cobb. People between the ages of 35-39 will make up the largest population cohort in the county by 2040, Wilson said. That indicates to him that more families with children will be coming to the area.

“Families will always look for communities that are safe and communities that have good schools,” Wilson said. “And so families will come back and Cobb will continue to grow.”