Enrolling in a ProcessPosted on Feb 2, 2017, 8:12:19 AM
Communities, school boards and district administrators can struggle with how to effectively analyze enrollment data to make current and forward-looking decisions. These decisions are important because of the direct impact on financial budgeting and the potential impact on student opportunities and outcomes.
Here are three ways to consider further incorporating enrollment data into the decision making processes:
(Fore)sight into Funding
With the convolution that surrounds certain funding formulas and the related political issues that can arise, how can districts be proactive in projecting future state sourced revenues? Many state funding models incorporate revenue allocations on a per-student basis. Thus, one of the keys to projecting revenue is gaining an understanding of your enrollment trends. Analyzing historical data can be useful, but it assumes consistency in a highly variable world. So, incorporating forward looking datasets such as live birth data and housing activity into the analysis can provide additional insights in projecting future enrollment and potential future funding levels.
Learn three ways that a GIS tool can help with enrollment trend analysis
Staffing the Team
In addition to a more comprehensive understanding of the revenue pool, projected enrollments can empower districts to be more efficient in their staffing methodologies. Using basic trend analysis, districts can track student-to-staff ratios over time and use projected future enrollments to anticipate necessary staffing shifts based on district goals. However, maintaining a desired staffing ratio may only be part of the equation. District administrators may need to study the demographic trends and required student services to evaluate whether the current staff can meet those specific needs. The goal of the enrollment analysis is to create a staffing plan that meets the needs of the district and to estimate the costs over time.
To Build or Change Boundaries
Similar to a business, school districts experience fluctuations in enrollment that may result in an imbalance of enrollment versus the capacity in specific buildings. While understanding District level enrollment trends is important, it may be necessary to develop projections on a building level basis. Neighborhoods do not always replenish students on an even basis. In some cases, high growth within a single building can create housing and logistics issues that are complicated to solve. The projection can help guide an analysis of whether it is necessary to go through a building project, or to develop a transportation strategy that can solve the problem at a lower cost. By understanding your enrollment projections and specific factors that influence those figures, districts can analyze various budget scenarios to determine the most cost effective solution to account for future demands.
While enrollment data seems simple in context, it offers a realm of complexities and possibilities for school districts to analyze. As data continues to emerge to the forefront of the decision making process, the question to ask is “What is your data telling you about your future?”
Read how 5Sight helped Boerne ISD receive 73% approval on $175M bond referendum to accommodate growing enrollment.
Heather is a Senior Analytics Advisor with Forecast5 Analytics in Naperville, where she assists districts with long range financial projections and provides strategic guidance on the 5Cast platform. Prior to working at Forecast5, Heather spent 7.5 years with AonHewitt supporting the delivery of Health and Welfare benefits to large market clients and 2.5 years at Ernst & Young as an Actuarial Associate focusing on audit support and claims reserve modeling. She received a Bachelors in Actuarial Science and Statistics from Purdue University and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Chicago.