School enrollment is expected to decline
Enrollment in District 196 schools will decline over the next five years - by only by a little - if projections presented Monday hold true.
District student information supervisor Kim Reis told board members she expects enrollment to fall from 27,404 at the start of the current school year to 27,337 by the start of the 2016-17 school year, the last year for which she provided projections. That continues a trend that has been going on since the district hit a peak enrollment in the 2003-04 school year, though the decline has slowed over the years.
The district uses census information and tracking of students from grade to grade - as well as trends about students transferring into and out of the district - to make its estimates. Having a good idea of how many students will be enrolled is important for school districts, which receive much of their state funding based on student population.
Numbers in District 196 have been accurate in the past. Projections for the current school were within 26 students.
"I can't promise we'll come that close again, but we're confident in the models we use," Ries said.
Trends in Rosemount schools mostly go against the district's overall trend.. Parkview Elementary School is expected to decline from 796 students this year to 773 students five years from now and Red Pine Elementary is expected to decline from 946 to 945. But Rosemount Elementary School is expected to grow from 645 students to 682 and Shannon Park is expected to grow from 775 to 810.
Rosemount Middle School, currently the district's biggest, is expected to hold that position, growing from 1,165 students to 1,198. Rosemount High School, currently second biggest school in the district with 2,103 students, is expected to decline to 1,977 and fall to the third biggest high school behind Eagan and Eastview.
That could change, though, if the economy turns around in the next year or two. Ries told board members there is room for growth in the southern and eastern portions of the district. Projects like UMore Park in Rosemount could cause the district's numbers to change significantly if the housing market picks up.
"There is nothing going on right now, and we don't know when that's going to start," Ries said. "We know exactly where that is. We just don't know when."