Lawrence school board to hear report on student enrollment, including recent drop
photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo
The Lawrence school board will soon get a more in-depth look at the district’s enrollment, which recently saw a decline amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
During its meeting on Monday, the board will receive a report from RSP & Associates, a company providing enrollment analysis to the district. Along with information on the enrollment drop, the report will also touch on demographic information and enrollment projections for the near future.
RSP’s analysis takes into account local birth rates, expected residential development and other factors. The district uses the enrollment analysis for staffing and budget planning and to understand its facility capacities, among other things.
As the Journal-World recently reported, the district saw a decrease of 325 students, or 2.8%, this fall compared to last year, likely because of parents exploring different education options amid the pandemic. The drop may cause a decrease in the funding the district receives from the state.
While Lawrence’s drop appears significant, the district is not an outlier. The other three school districts serving Douglas County all saw enrollment decreases as well. Additionally, Ann Mah, a state board of education member, told the Journal-World recently she believes the state’s overall enrollment is likely down because of the pandemic.
According to a presentation, RSP expects to see a slight increase in enrollment over the next few years but does not expect to see a full recovery from the student population loss seen this year. The full presentation can be found in the meeting agenda posted on the district’s website, usd497.org.
The school board will meet at 5 p.m. Monday for a work session and regular meeting through an online conference call. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district encourages the public to watch the meeting on Midco channel 26 or online at youtube.com/USD497.
Those who want to speak during public comments at the meeting can still do so. The district asks for comments to be sent by email to PatronCommentary@usd497.org by 6 p.m. the day of the meeting. Comments can also be emailed to board members ahead of the meeting. Their contact information is available on the district’s website at usd497.org/Board.
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