Florida’s private school enrollment eclipses 400,000 students

Florida’s private school enrollment bounced back from the pandemic stronger and healthier than ever according to the Florida Department of Education’s latest annual report on private schools.

The report shows that after suffering the first enrollment declines in a decade, the number of students, staff and schools all increased significantly in the 2021-22 academic year. Last year’s staggering 33,500 student decline was erased as private school enrollment grew by more than 51,000 and reached 416,084 students, the largest private school enrollment reported by FLDOE in 30 years and likely the highest in Florida history.

Private school enrollment grew by 14.2% this year, compared to 1.5% growth for public schools.

Private school students made up 12.8% of PK-12 students enrolled in public (including charter school and virtual schools) and private schools. This figure does not include students enrolled in home education.

Historic data show private school students made up 9.3% of PK-12 public and private school students in 1991-92 and peaked in 2002-03 at 12.9%.

The Department noted that private school enrollment exceeded 10% or more of public-private enrollment in 32 districts. The enrollment percentage was highest in Martin (40.6% of students), Jefferson (36% of students) and Miami-Dade (19.9% of students) and smallest in Calhoun (0%), Union (0.2%) and Sumter (1%).

Miami-Dade enrolled the most private school students (81,639), followed by Broward (45,493) and Orange (29,546).

Meanwhile, the Department reported private school employment increased from 43,553 instructional staff and administrators to 49,187, a growth of 12.9%.

The number of available private schools also bounced back, rising from 2,739 to 2,848 schools.

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