At least one school official suspects the state’s immigration law is contributing to reduced enrollment in Phoenix-area classrooms.
The expected number of students at two districts this year is down by more than 600, based on projections made at the end of last school year, according to The Arizona Republic.
Phoenix Balsz Elementary School District took the biggest hit, with 560 fewer students than expected. The southeast Phoenix district had 2,809 students enrolled on the first day of school, but only 2,250 showed up.
Four schools in the Chandler Unified School District are down by a total of about 100 students, although the district overall has 700 more students than at the end of the last school year.
Terry Locke, spokesman for CUSD, said the early enrollment growth is expected to reach the 750 new students predicted this year.
Balsz district Superintendent Jeff Smith can’t say for sure that enrollment is down because of the law targeting illegal immigrants, but he suspects it is.
A federal judge blocked the most controversial parts of the law before it went into effect last week. Under the ruling, local and state law enforcement officers are not required to check the immigration status of people they reasonably suspect of being illegal immigrants.