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District 196 population tops 157,000 and ‘capture rate’ remains high

The total population of Independent School District 196 in 2018 is estimated at 157,475, according to projections by the state demographer’s office. That represents an increase of 2,855 residents or 1.8 percent over the demographer’s estimate of 154,620 from one year ago.

The School Board approved the district’s 2019 certified census at its June 24 meeting. The approved census figure is used to determine tax levies for funding community education programs in the district.

District 196 is the fourth largest school district in Minnesota, with total enrollment of nearly 29,000 students. The district covers approximately 110 square miles and includes all or parts of the cities of Rosemount, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville, Coates, Inver Grove Heights and Lakeville, and Empire and Vermillion townships.

Nearly nine of every 10 school-age children who live in District 196 attend District 196 schools. Of the 32,840 school-age students living in District 196 when the district’s official enrollment report was calculated last October, 28,394 attended District 196 schools in the 2018-19 school year, giving the district an 86.5-percent “capture rate” among resident students. Anything over 80 percent is considered high for a school district in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, according to former state demographer Hazel Reinhardt of Hazel Reinhardt Consulting. She says capture rate is a reflection on the quality of local public schools, as well as the presence of charter schools, nonpublic schools and other educational alternatives in the area.