APL projects more enrollment growth

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Assistant Superintendent Sherri Cyra reviewed the enrollment projections for 2019-20 and beyond that were developed by UW-Madison's Applied Population Lab at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday night.

APL, which provides a report for the District annually, is projecting MCPASD to grow between 530 and 1,120 students over the next five years, which works out to 1.5 to 3.1 percent annually. She noted the District has grown by about 3.3 percent each of the past four years. District officials believe economic and housing changes will likely result in enrollment growth slowing down but they aren't sure when that will happen.

APL has four models -- baseline, 2-year, 5-year and kindergarten -- that it develops for enrollment projections. District officials are most confident in the 2-year and 5-year models. The 2-year model projects MCPASD enrollment at 7,515 students, while the 5-year model projects enrollment at 7,530 in 2019-20. Each model includes 4K enrollment. The District's 4K-12th grade enrollment in 2018-19 is 7,336 students.

Elementary level enrollment is expected to increase by 190 to 380 students over the next five years, while middle school enrollment is projected to increase by 250-300 students. The high school level should see enrollment increase by 340-430 students over the time span. She is working on projections by schools and grades, which aren't provided by APL.

Cyra noted one big takeaway is there is now very little difference between APL's 2- and 5-year projection models because MCPASD growth has been consistent for a number of years. The 5-year model does project 480 more District students by 2028-29. APL representatives did say they are more confident in thei projections over the next five years and less sure further out from that.

The kindergarten model was adjusted by APL due to recent enrollment growth and as a result projects significantly more growth in 2019-20 than the other models.

Cyra also said MCPASD appears to be different than other area districts in that there are more students per housing units in new developments or older houses being sold. Housing turnover also appears to be higher than in other districts, which explains why schools such as Elm Lawn and Sauk Trail, which have no new development, are continuing to grow or not decline in enrollment, she said.