Stable enrollment projections for District 112

The Eastern Carver County School District (District 112) released the results of its demographic study this week.  The results show projections of essentially flat enrollment over the next decade.  Current K-12 enrollment is 8,976 students — projections of enrollment in a decade range from 8,925 to 9,123 students.  Even at the high-end of the projection, that’s only an increase of 15 students per year.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the District doesn’t face some challenges going forward.  While the enrollment projections signal no new school construction is imminent, there may need to be yet another look at resetting boundaries at all levels.  Let’s look at some pieces of the data that indicate that may be required.

Three of the district’s elementary schools are currently over capacity:  Clover Ridge, Victoria, and East Union.  The projections show no relief in sight for those schools, and continuing enrollment declines for Chanhassen Elementary and Chaska Elementary.

Data source: Eastern Carver County School District

Keeping Clover Ridge, Victoria, and East Union at 10-20% over capacity isn’t sustainable long-term, especially given the capacity available in other facilities within the district.  The good news is that after several boundary changes in recent years, this change would likely be able to be in place for a long time.

At the high school level, current enrollment of 2,805 students is expected to rise to between 3,000 and 3,100 students over the next decade.  That means that the district’s two high schools (each with capacity of 2,000) will be more than sufficient for that time frame.

The issue at the high school level remains the relative imbalance between the two high schools.  56% of high school students in the district now attend Chanhassen High School, and that ratio seems likely to stay about the same for the next five years and probably through the next decade, which would mean Chanhassen would consistently be 200-300 students larger.   There will need to be a district-wide discussion on whether any adjustments need to be made to bring the schools into closer balance.


2 Responses to “Stable enrollment projections for District 112”

  1. Well, let’s hope they don’t go the Eden Prairie way, when resetting boundaries. I know of successful folks of all creeds and colors, so let’s not assume that we have to play a shell game shipping kids all over town based upon the color of their skin or how much money their parents make. To tighten the belt for efficiency, reduce busing costs by keeping the children local to thier schools. The diversity will take care of itself. We are all different. We have different faiths, different backgrounds, different educations and different economic situations. Let’s not act like the racists at Eden Prairie schools and assume that certain colors mean lower incomes. If a quality education is provided at all schools, it shouldn’t matter who attends which elemenatry school, and having the kids local to the neighborhood is the most convenient for all.

    • Good intentions don’t always lead to good ideas, and the district fell victim to that in my opinion. They changed their intermediate school serving 5th and 6th graders to a fifth elementary school and tried to equalize the populations of their now K-6 elementary schools (in addition to the demographics, they faced a problem like District 112 where they had two schools at capacity and two schools with declining enrollments). That’s a lot of change to tackle at one time. I agree with you that the district went too far with those changes, and on top of that Supt. Krull and the School Board failed the community on numerous occasions during the process.

      I can understand the desire to make the demographics of the schools more uniform — Forest Hills Elementary (my old stomping grounds) had about 3x the free/reduced price lunch students as the district average and almost 2x that of the next highest elementary school. However, the new map has a lot of problems, particularly the island of students south of MN-5 and west of Eden Prairie Road that are assigned to Forest Hills instead of Prairie View or Cedar Ridge. It also ignores the fact that the staff at Forest Hills had done a tremendous job with their students — the last two years free/reduced price students had posted math scores over 20 points above the FRP state average. They should have chosen a less disruptive plan that maintained the spirit of the “neighborhood school” concept while nudging the schools closer to demographic balance.

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