Dist. 11 enrollment predicted to shrink slightly next year

If prognostications, predictions and projections are accurate, the state’s largest school district will enroll 450 fewer students in its K-12 classrooms next school year.

The enrollment projection follows the trend of slowly declining numbers that the Anoka-Hennepin School District has experienced since 2004. That year, District 11 enrolled 40,151 students – its highest enrollment number.

Anoka-Hennepin enrollment projections were presented to school board members at their Feb. 25 meeting.

These numbers – a foundation for the district’s budgeting process and staffing numbers – are developed using a variety of sources: building permits issued by cities within District 11 boundaries, live births in Anoka and Hennepin counties, preschool census population counts and historical and potential growth patterns of enrollment.

Enrollment projection software (EnrPro) is used with a similar set of variables to validate the projection targets, said Neil Klund-Schubert, principal on special assignment who delivered the projection to board members.

Other factors that help determine enrollment projections for individual schools within District 11 include open enrollment and in-district transfer options, Northwest Suburban Integration School District program options, enrollment options for kindergarten extra programs, specialty schools options and program placements for ESL and special education centers.

Bottom line: Total K-12 enrollment projection for the 2013-14 school year is 36,308; actual current enrollment is 36,758.

Enrollment projection for kindergarten is 2,499; grades one through five is 13,574, grades six through eight is 8,434 and grade nine through 12 is 11,801.

School board chairman Tom Heidemann described the importance of the accuracy of those projected numbers.

“Historically, we’ve been very accurate with these projections – and we need to be,” he said. “This is a very important document. This is what we use to set the budget for the next school year.”

Each school district has to draw up its budget before final enrollment numbers are in.

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]