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Maple Grove Voice

Enrollment Trends, Projections in Osseo Area Schools

Jan 04, 2017 03:26PM ● By Wendy Erlien

File photo: Osseo Area Schools/ISD 279 Educational Service Center (photo by Wendy Erlien)

To help prepare for the 2018 fiscal school year, the District 279 School Board recently heard about enrollment trends and projections in the school district. 

“Enrollment trends are reviewed annually in order to make a new five year enrollment projection,” ISD 279 - Osseo Area Schools Executive Director of Finance and Operations Patricia Magnuson shared with the board during the Dec. 13, 2016 meeting. The enrollment trends “…are an important part of our decision making for budgeting and staffing for the upcoming school year.”

Magnuson talked about historical enrollment trends in the district as well as preliminary data for the 2017 fiscal year.

“Over the past several years, we have seen enrollment stabilize,” Magnuson said during her presentation. “We experienced a slight increase last fall resulting, we think, from the impact of the grade span change at our secondary levels. Enrollments at the elementary levels have stabilized this fall following a couple years of decline.”

As part of the presentation, Magnuson also shared information about students from outside of the district boundaries choosing to enroll at Osseo Area Schools and students leaving the district to enroll elsewhere.

“Over the last six to eight years, Osseo Area Schools has experienced a slight increase in a portion of our enrollment that is made up of nonresident students who are choosing Osseo Area Schools,” she said.  The majority of the approximately 1,300 students coming to ISD 279 from outside the boundaries are from the Anoka-Hennepin, Robbinsdale, Minneapolis, and Brooklyn Center School Districts.

Compared to 2015-16, preliminary numbers for the 2016-17 school year reflected:

  • Slight increase of students leaving the district enroll in private schools
  • Slight decline in students leaving the district to be home schooled
  • “Declining trend” in students choosing other public school options. Students choosing other school districts included Anoka-Hennepin, Brooklyn Center, Robbinsdale, Wayzata, Fridley, Mounds View, Minnetonka, Minneapolis, Elk River, and Hopkins.
  • Similar numbers for the last two school years for students choosing charter schools such as Parnassus Preparatory in Maple Grove, Athlos in Brooklyn Park, Beacon Academy in Maple Grove, Noble in Brooklyn Park, Prairie Seeds in Brooklyn Park, Excell in Brooklyn Park, Odyssey in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Early Learning Academy in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota Transitions with 15 sites and online, and New Millennium in Minneapolis. 

Magnuson shared 5,477 students within the Osseo Area School boundaries choose school options other than District 279. 

Based on a School Choice Survey in spring 2016, Magnuson shared the top factors in choosing another public school district included:

  • 40% - non-school related reason (such as moving)
  • 33% - general academics and curriculum
  • 13% - non-academic reasons (safety, discipline, class size)

For choosing a charter school, the survey respondents shared the following top reasons:

  • 51% general academics and curriculum
  • 24% non-academic reasons (safety, discipline, class size)
  • 13% non-school related reasons (such as moving)

Due to of the survey findings, Magnuson shared the following actions that have been taken in the district, according to the presentation:

  • Investing in targeting class size reductions for grades K-3
  • Clarifying district brand around themes of opportunity, support, and partnerships
  • Strengthening marketing efforts

During the presentation, she shared some enrollment patterns changing including a growth trend in the past two years as well as a growing enrollment at the middle and high school levels. The district is “expecting another growth in enrollment next fall,” she said.

Using the data and primary data from the 2016-17 years, the district is moving forward with finalizing projections and preparing enrollment projections for various sites to plan for budgets, staffing, facility and planning.

To view the entire presentation at the Dec. 13 Osseo School District School Board meeting, check out the video below (1:15:45 mark) or click here for the presentation packet, including data. Video courtesy of Osseo Area Schools

Dec. 13, 2016 ISD 279 School Board Meeting

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