Demographer predicts continued but slower enrollment growthIf the experts are to be believed, the Hudson School District will continue to see increase enrollment despite the housing crisis and stalled U.S. economy, it just won’t be as dramatic as in recent years.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
If the experts are to be believed, the Hudson School District will continue to see increase enrollment despite the housing crisis and stalled U.S. economy, it just won’t be as dramatic as in recent years.
That was the message from demographer Hazel Reinhardt in a report to the Hudson Board of Education at last week’s school board meeting.
Reinhardt has made several enrollment projection studies for the district, the most recent in 2005. The current study also included something new called a housing occupancy analysis designed to examine patterns of single family housing in the district and the per-unit student yield in that housing.
Reinhardt said that the new projections based on 2007 enrollments continue to show growth and fall close to the low projections of the 2005 projections. But she expects that 2008 enrollment may be lower than the projections because “it is difficult to estimate the remaining mortgage fallout. Once the mortgage/credit markets stabilize, a higher rate of household growth should resume.”
According to Reinhardt, enrollment in Hudson public schools has increased every year since 1998-99. In the past ten years, enrollment has gone up by 1,334 students or 34.1 percent. She said this growth was atypical and came at a time when many Wisconsin schools declined in enrollment.
According to her latest projections, enrollment over the next ten years in Hudson will continue to increase but at a slower rate than in the past. Over the next 10 years, enrollment is projected to go on the low side from 5,251 to 6,704 and on the high side from 5,251 to 7,725. See chart with this story (attached PDF file).
In the housing occupancy study, Reinhardt and her associate Dick Carlstrom tol the board that based on the single-family homes in the Hudson School District, the highest number of K-12 students are found in the Hudson Prairie attendance area. The lowest number are found in the “older central neighborhoods” of Hudson and North Hudson. Townhouses in the district have a very low number of students as compared with the single family homes.
According to the numbers in the study, single-family houses and townhomes in the Hudson school district had .57 Hudson public school student per unit in 2007. According to Reinhardt this is a very high ratio and that number is even higher in the most recent developments. Her report cited parts of Hudson township where they numbers reached as high as .85-.89 students per unit.
Reinhardt says that based on the study results, “it is reasonable to assume that the public school student per household ratio will not decline in the next ten year. That would mean an addition of approximately 1,890 single family homes or townhouses over the next years, a number Reinhardt believes is reasonable “once the housing market stabilizes.” It is slightly small than the number of new houses added between 2000-2007.
The board will be using the new projections as they consider options for addressing space needs at the middle and high school level..
The board also approved the most recent bid package for technology at River Crest Elementary School. The total package was for $382,417.49 and includes networking and infrastructure, desktop computer and printers, a video production studio, electronic whiteboards, the phone system, classroom audio, video and projection equipment, software and other audio/visual equipment.
In other business the board approved a new committee structure that will go into place following the April 1 election. The Learning and Program Development Committee will focus on review of teaching and learning initiatives like curriculum programming, instruction, assessment, professional development, program evaluation and the implementation of the district’s long-term strategic plan HSD 2025.
Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten also recommended the consolidation of the policy, communications and long-range planning committee into the Governance and Policy Committee which would be responsible for policy issues and review, board development and self-evaluation, new board member orientation, communications and district goal development. The Facilities and Grounds, Finance and Personnel/Negotiatons committees would continue.
Board members are required to serve on two committees. Four of the committees would have three board members and one committee would have two.
The board also approved-monthly expenditures of $3,543,458.40 and the 2008-09 school calendar. The school year will begin for students on Sept. 2 and will end on June 11. The Christmas break will run from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2 and spring break will be March 2-6.
Reinhardt’s complete report is available at the district’s web site along with other information about the school board at www.hudson.k12.wi.us.