K-12 enrollment fell slightly this year in St. Paul Public Schools, but not as far as officials feared.

The 103-student drop, to 36,858, is a decrease of three-tenths of a percent. The district had projected a decrease of 549 students.

Research director Stacey Gray Akyea said it’s possible this year is the start of a turnaround, but “overall, enrollment trends suggest that we are on a (steady) decline.”

Kindergarten enrollment declined for a fourth consecutive year, but by just 13 students.

The district saw substantial improvement in ninth grade.

Gray Akyea said high schools got a boost from partnerships with German- and Chinese-immersion charter schools.

And the district’s own eighth-graders in schools with specialized academic pathways, such as aerospace or language immersion, stayed for high school at higher rates than in past years.

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