The rollercoaster trend that has marked enrollment in the Hannibal public school district for the past half decade has taken a downward trend. As of Sept. 1, when school districts across the state report their enrollment figures to the state, Hannibal's student population stood at 3,538, which represents a decline of 86 over the same date in 2016.

The rollercoaster trend that has marked enrollment in the Hannibal public school district for the past half decade has taken a downward trend. As of Sept. 1, when school districts across the state report their enrollment figures to the state, Hannibal's student population stood at 3,538, which represents a decline of 86 over the same date in 2016.

Superintendent Susan Johnson reminded school board members during Wednesday night's meeting that the Sept. 1 total represents just a snapshot.

“We have some mobility with people moving in,” she said. “Later this fall it (enrollment totals) could look very different.”

A year ago enrollment stood at 3,624, which represented an increase of 100 over the Sept. 1 count in 2015-16.

“When you look all the way back to 2004 there's kind of a trend,” said Johnson. “It's difficult to explain why this is the case, but about every two to three years it will go down and then go back up, so it fluctuates a little bit. This year, as of Sept. 1, it was down.”

The roots of this year's enrollment downturn can be traced back to last May.

“If you think about last year we had 40 some juniors that graduated, contributing to this year's situation,” said Johnson.

Enrollment at HHS is not jut down among last year's juniors/this year's seniors. High school totals are down in all four classes - 12th grade by 5, 11th grade by 7, 10th grade by 12 and ninth grade by 11.

The 35 student decrease at the high school is eclipsed by a single elementary grade. The number of first graders is down by 37 youngsters. Declines in the 20s are seen in the second grade (27), fourth grade (27) and seventh grade (28).

Enrollment increases have been seen at five levels – Pre-K (12), third grade (4), fifth grade (27), sixth grade (5) and eighth grade (28).

Johnson offers a silver lining to the district's enrollment decline.

“We're in a good place a far as class sizes,” she said. “Some elementary class sizes are extremely good.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com