The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) reported that about 17,000 fewer students-in public school enrolled between the previous school year and this one. MDE says the drop is due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and families making “choices that they believed were best for their students including delaying starting kindergarten for younger learners and some considered nonpublic options.” Officials caution that the per-pupil nature of the state’s education funding formula means that a loss of student enrollment will impact the amount of funding schools receive to operate and support student learning.