Friday, March 27, 2015

"How SPS gets enrollment predictions so close to the mark"

Yes, that is the title of a story at the district's homepage.  I will try to stifle a smile as this has not - to terrible effect - always been the case.

Here's the link to the entire story.

I note that the brag in the story is how close they get.  What's puzzling is that at the Work Session on the budget this week, there were repeated references to the projections for this year being off.  Not sure how to reconcile the two thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Still concerned about enrollment shifts for the advanced learning kids. I don't understand how the Lincoln numbers are going to be resolved with so many results and appeals still outstanding, and a deadline of 9/30 for enrollment.


Joe Wolf said...

SPS does a better job of projecting enrollment than most large urban districts. I've worked at several.

The issue is - as stated in this forum by Kellie on numerous occasions - much of the district at present operating on a razor's edge of capacity.

Anonymous said...

So Joe, any sense as to where we stand on the high school capacity issue as of today? I've been trying to get updated projections for a while now, and last time I asked they said something about waiting for spring enrollment data. Specifically, I was looking for any sort of analysis re: high school enrollment projections vs capacity for the next several years prior to the reopening of Lincoln.


Meg said...

SPS does well at predicting the enrollment for the following year.

HOWEVER. On a very, very consistent basis, enrollment projections for following years trend lower than actual enrollment - and virtually every year one moves away, predicted enrollment is lower and lower than actuals.

Considering how precarious the capacity situation is, I find this very concerning, because current projections do not show the staggering magnitude of the capacity crisis that SPS faces, especially in the north end.

kellie said...

I also agree that SPS does an excellent job of planning enrollment for the subsequent school year and in many ways that is a part of the problem with enrollment projections.

We have two types of projections.
* enrollment projections for budget forecasting
* enrollment projections for capacity planning

These two distinct types of projections are all too often conflated into one projection.

Enrollment projections for the budget forecast are incredibly intricate and detailed and highly accurate. When you think about all of the details that are required to have a grade by grade, school by school plan in order to align teachers and students, the accuracy is astounding.

Capacity projections are entirely other category. The very same accuracy that is so useful in the budget projections is often a stumbling block in the capacity projections.

Budget projections need to be conservative. The risk in errors in the budget projection is moving teachers and it is easier to hire a teacher than to displace a teacher. Neither is anyone's idea of a great day but it is clear which way you should lean.

Capacity projections on the other hand are not so tidy. It is much simpler to add a teacher than it is to add a homeroom.

Parent frustration at enrollment projections typically have to do with the capacity projections. Every parent anywhere near Hamilton is watching closely to see when the school might just break capacity wise but yet there is little or no way to discuss this.

The typical solution is to run two projections - low for budgeting and high for facilities planning. This would then generate a watch list, where the high number would trigger a facilities issues.

Constantine said...

We hired the planner in a hurry. But she was a complete champ, planning everything really well so that I wouldn't have any worries on my wedding day. Our experience with the event coordinator was also amazing, she is incredibly dedicated to her brides.