HSE District Enrollment Numbers vs Survey

This year HSE Schools will be opening a new Elementary School, Southeastern Elementary. As the school nears the first day, enrollment is trending higher than projected by the district. This raises the question of how the overall enrollment in the district is trending.

In 2016 a demographic survey was presented to the HSE School Board showing changing in student enrollment for the district. The projections were for growth to get to near zero by the 2020-21 school year and to start declining by 2022-23. You can see the overall projections based on the following:

The reality is that the projected enrollments were low the first few years after the survey was completed. Statistically, being off by 100 when dealing with numbers over 20,000 is not that big of a deal. That’s less than half a percentage point. Having said that, 100 students can equate to 4 classrooms, four teachers, and an additional bus. Thus, small errors do have a real impact on the school system’s spending and planning.

In looking at enrollment numbers from the Department of Education, you can see that the tend is that there is an increasing gap between the demographic survey and actual enrollment. This started as 49 students in 2016 and increased to 141 in 2018 and 298 in 2019.

The demographic survey showed that growth would start decreasing in 2019. From 2017 to 18, the growth was 113 students. In 2018 to 2019, growth was 157 students, which indicates an increasing – not decreasing – growth of almost 50%. Projections in the survey were for growth from 2019 to 2020 to remain consistent with the prior year. This was expected to be at the projected 70 students, not the 298 actual number. It will be interesting to see how far off 2019-20 is from the survey.

The school district is talking about renovating or rebuilding Durbin Elementary School. They’ve indicated this will cause another redistricting at the elementary school level (which impacts the other grades too). This could happen within 2 to 3 years. With home construction on the East side of Fishers, the new elementary school could quickly reach capacity as well. This also would impact redistricting.

The demographic survey indicated a slow down in school growth. While the foundational logic of this slowdown makes sense. The timing of the slowdown seems to be off. The question to be asked is, how much more growth is there and when will the slowdown really start. Until that happens, the district could continue to scramble, and redistricting will continue to happen frequently.

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