School District 65 is projecting that its K-8 enrollment will increase by a total of 370 students in the next five years (measured as the difference in enrollment at the start of the 2010-11 school year and the 2015-16 school year),  with most of the increase occurring at the middle schools. Paul Brinson presented the projections to the Board’s Finance Committee on Feb. 14

The projections show a net increase of only 44 students at the District’s K-5 schools in the next five years, and a net increase of 316 students at the middle schools. There are minor fluctuations projected at the magnet schools.

Dewey is projected to increase its enrollment by 23 students over the next five years and Willard by 52 students. The Finance Committee decided on Feb. 14 to recommend bids for construction work at each of those schools which would add classroom space and make other renovations to those schools at a cost of about $2.5 million at Dewey and $3.2 million at Willard.

Lincoln School is projected to show an increased enrollment of 128 students over the next five years. A group of Lincoln parents attended the Finance Committee meeting to urge the District to take a pro-active approach in addressing the space needs at Lincoln.

Eight of the District’s K-5 schools are projected to have decreases in enrollment five years from now.

The middle schools that are projected to have significant increases in enrollment are Haven with the increase projected at 178 students and Nichols with the increase at 128 students.

Members of the Finance Committee asked Mr. Brinson to highlight the high point of enrollment at each school during the five year period and to note if there is any concern about accommodating that number of students at the school. He said he will bring that information back to the Committee at a subsequent meeting.

During the discussion, Mr. Brinson said he thought that some students who resided outside of District 65 may be registering in the District’s schools. He said he thought this may be occurring because the District has made it more convenient to register students, as an accommodation to parents.

Finance Committee Chair Katie Bailey said the Committee would begin to look at space issues at Lincoln, Haven and Nichols at its meeting in April. She said the Committee would also take a look at the student registration process.

The District’s “New School – Referendum Committee” is scheduled to meet on Feb. 24 and to consider projected student enrollment and space issues as part of its evaluation of the feasibility of building a new school based on space needs and community interest and support.