Demographer Presents Ten-Year Enrollment Forecasts
Nationally known demographer Dr. Jerome McKibben -- who has worked with 1,500 school districts nationwide for more than 30 years -- began working with Mamaroneck Schools last February to study MUFSD’s demographics and enrollment trends. At the October 20 Board meeting, Dr. Mckibben presented his ten-year forecast, citing among many points, the following:
- Based on forecasted cohort numbers of students exiting out of the system after Gr 12 compared to numbers of students forecasted to enter into the system, Dr. McKibben forecasts relatively modest overall total District enrollment growth over ten years, with variations at each of the schools.
- The middle school and high school will experience the greatest enrollment increases. While overall total enrollment growth District-wide at the elementary level appears to be lower than at the secondary level and is forecasted to remain relatively stable, distribution of students/enrollment changes across the schools will vary.
- Factors impacting enrollment include housing market fluctuations, age of homeowners staying in their homes, and current uncertainties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Dr. McKibben cautions against making hasty decisions based on short-term trends, particularly during this time.
“Using this outside expertise to help understand what may influence population numbers in the community and enrollment change in our schools is important so that we can strategize for the future and plan for what may unfold,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Shaps said.
Background - In May, 2019, the District-Wide Enrollment Task Force had two recommendations, which the Board of Education in Fall, 2019, asked the administration to address:
1. Hire an experienced independent demographer to identify which factors may influence enrollment changes in our schools during the next decade and provide population and enrollment forecasts with the intent to understand how enrollment trends may impact instructional space, operating budgets and programmatic efforts in the future.
2. Explore potential design changes to our District schools that will address space constraints while providing opportunities to improve and enhance students’ educational experience.
Capital Bond Projects Update - The District’s architectural, engineering and construction project team presented an update on capital improvement work approved by the community in a bond referendum in February, 2019. The team unveiled design lab prototypes for a STEAM Lab (integrated studies) and a Culinary Lab at Mamaroneck High School and outlined additional projects currently underway at all six District schools, as well as project work that will take place in Summer, 2021.
Superintendent’s Report - Recognizing that every day brings unforeseen challenges, Superintendent Dr. Shaps said he and his administrative team are working as hard as possible during the pandemic to minimize risk for students and staff and create safe conditions in the schools. The MUFSD physician, nursing staff and Dr. Nora Mazzone (COVID-19 point person) continue to work closely with the Westchester County Department of Health to respond to particular details of each confirmed case. Communicating in a timely and thorough manner is a priority.
District Crisis Team/Where to Go for Support - Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Dr. Nora Mazzone talked about the work of the District Crisis Team and collaborative efforts between the school district and community agencies to provide multiple avenues of support for students and families.