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District 196 population nears 155,000

Independent School District 196 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. It is the fourth largest school district in Minnesota, with total enrollment of nearly 29,000 students.

The total population of Independent School District 196 in 2018 is estimated at 154,620, according to projections by the state demographer's office. That represents an increase of 1,446 residents, or .9 percent, over the demographer's estimate of 153,174 from one year ago.

The School Board approved the district's 2018 certified census at its June 25 meeting. The approved census figure is used to determine tax levies for funding community education programs in the district.

Nearly nine of every 10 school-age children who live in District 196 attend District 196 schools.

Of the 30,027 school-age students living in District 196 when the district's official enrollment report was calculated last October, 25,814 attended District 196 schools in 2017-18, giving the district an 86 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.

Reinhardt says capture rate is a reflection on the quality of local public schools.

Other considerations can be the presence of charter schools, nonpublic schools and other educational alternatives in the area.

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