DETROIT - Detroit Public Schools' estimated enrollment now stands at nearly 96,000 students and could go higher, according to The Detroit News. That figure is roughly 8,000 less than last year but 8,000 more than preliminary reports.

The News reported that DPS officials now expect the final tally to match the projection they used when setting the district budget. A loss of 8,000 students would be the smallest decline in five years, but still would represent the loss of tens of millions of dollars in per-pupil state funding.

"We are feeling very good and hopeful that as the remaining enrollment count continues to take place, that the number will look even more favorable," district spokesman Steve Wasko told The News.

Any final tally below 100,000 would mean the district loses first-class status under the state school code, which would allow certain community colleges to authorize charter public schools in Detroit and potentially impact other district operations, The News reported.

The Detroit News, "DPS student count grows," Oct. 14, 2008

Michigan Education Digest, "Detroit student count down by 16,000," Sept. 26, 2008