As we prepare for another academic year, K-12 schools face critical decisions that impact both student success and school funding. While public schools often grapple with limited resources, there’s one factor they can help to influence: student enrollment. In this blog post, we’ll explore how environmental cleanliness plays a vital role in maintaining healthy, thriving schools.

Student Enrollment Never Recovered from the Pandemic — School Funding Suffers With It

In the U.S., public schools are feeling a financial squeeze. State tax cuts, the expiration of COVID-19 emergency federal funding, inadequate funding formulas, and rising costs have left districts concerned about their future economic health. Currently, 44 states and the District of Columbia (88%) rely on student enrollment figures to calculate and secure sufficient financial support.1 In other words, a school’s budget may largely depend on the number of students registered to attend school. When enrollment increases, available funding follows suit.

This is why schools currently find themselves in a predicament. Recent declines in enrollment across the country have compounded the funding situation. Due to the impact and disruptions brought on by COVID-19, public schools saw substantial declines in student enrollment during the 2020–21 and 2021–22 school years.2 Approximately 12% of public elementary schools and 9% of middle schools experienced enrollment drops. 2 Concerns about student health, remote learning advantages, and alternative programs contribute to parents’ hesitancy in re-enrolling their children in traditional public schools.3

One strategy that can help improve enrollment is by ensuring strong cleaning and disinfecting practices in K-12 facilities. Through increased enrollment, schools will be able to gain the funding desperately needed in today’s financial climate.

School Cleanliness Is an Investment with Big Returns on Student Enrollment

Environmental cleanliness isn’t just about aesthetics — it’s a strategic investment. Here’s why:

  1. Health and Safety:
    • Clean, well-maintained schools foster healthier and safer environments for students.4
    • Parents prefer schools that prioritize hygiene, sanitation, and safety.
    • A clean environment reduces illness risk and promotes overall well-being.
  2. Perception and Reputation:
    • First impressions matter—55% of them are visual.5
    • Clean classrooms, restrooms, and common areas leave a lasting positive impact.
    • Schools known for cleanliness attract more students and community support.6
  3. Student Performance:
    • Organized environments enhance student focus and concentration.
    • Recent studies link school conditions and perceived safety to academic performance.7
    • Clean and well-kept school settings help children finish schoolwork quicker (50%), boost their creativity (30%) and improve their problem solving (25%).8
  4. Teacher Retention:
    • Teachers thrive in pleasant, clean environments.
    • School facility conditions matter—80% of teachers say so.9
    • Comfortable, supported teachers create a positive learning atmosphere, attracting families.

Prioritize Environmental Cleanliness for a Successful Back-to-School Experience

As schools gear up for the start of another academic year, maintaining a clean and healthy environment is crucial. Look for product solutions that are effective, easy to use, and compatible on various surfaces such as ready-to-use wipes and sprays. Clean and well-maintained schools can help shape positive perceptions, contribute to improved student performance, and aid in teacher satisfaction. By making these connections, schools will be better positioned to improve enrollment rates and the associated funding support needed for a successful year. To learn more, visit our resource page on “How Cleaning and Disinfection Can Help Improve K-12 School Funding.”