Dist. 877 expects enrollment decrease

The Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School Board heard that enrollment is projected to decline during the next five years.

The board also reviewed the annual report on curriculum.



Director of Finance and Operations Gary Kawlewski gave the enrollment projections for the 2014-15 school year.

He stated that the district enrollment has been relatively stable over the last five years, but the next five years shows a slight decline. Kawlewski reported that the total resident population is growing, but that last school year 354 students open enrolled out of Dist. 877 schools. He noted that most students go to Delano, Rockford and Watertown-Mayer.

This number represents students attending another public school or home school students enrolled through a charter school. He was surprised to discover that the district is not losing people from the outlines of the district’s boarder (as might be assume since they are closest to other districts) but rather students are open enrolling outside of the district from within the cities of Buffalo, Hanover and Montrose.

Kawlewski, along with Supt. Scott Thielman and board members expressed concern. Thielman assured the board members that efforts will be made to reach out to those families to inquire about their decision to open enroll to help retain future students (and possibly attract others back).

The projection from last year for this 2013-14 school year was 5,759, and the official Oct. 1, 2013 enrollment was 5,739 (loss of 20 students). Kawlewski shared that they were off at the kindergarten level and didn’t have as many kindergarten students as projected. This year, Kawlewski is banking that more of the kindergarten students will be retained because of the free, all-day, every day kindergarten option that will be offered beginning next school year.

To help determine projections, Kawlewski mentioned that they look at the housing market, economic conditions, Wright County births, open enrollment, budget reductions, new programs (Quest, STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, All-Day Every Day Kindergarten) and a variety of other statistics.

Kawlewski concluded there are uncertain economic factors that make enrollment projections difficult, so therefore they will continue to use a conservative method of projecting enrolments. He reported that the enrollment projection for the 2014-15 school year is 5,703 students.



In other news, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Pam Miller presented the 2012-13 Dist. 877 Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement.

The report outlines Dist. 877 student test results on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, Minnesota GRAD Tests, MAP Tests (Measures of Academic Progress) and other tests administered in the schools.

It also includes the school board’s goals relating to student achievement, the District/Community Teaching and Learning Council members and the 2013-14 testing schedule. The report will be available on the district’s website at www.bhmschools.org.