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Monday, December 08, 2008

Data (Part Three)

And last in the line-up of data finds that may aid our conversations on closures (in district-speak, capacity management), is the DeJong report on enrollment projections. This 121-page opus (grab a cup of coffee before you sit down- you'll be here a long time) has maps and charts (in color, no less) with 10-year projections. Happy reading!

10 comments:

Roy Smith said...

I wish it had a section describing the methodology of how they created the projections. That complaint aside, a somewhat cursory glance at the data leaves me less than impressed with this report.

A few examples:
1) There are two very large multi-family developments under construction immediately next to Northgate mall, which is in the Olympic Hills area. For Olympic Hills, the report has a total of 76 multi-family permits over the past 9 years. I take this to mean 76 units, but nowhere in the report does it actually say if that is what it means. Even if that is what it means, that number is almost surely wrong, as one of the developments I mentioned probably has close to that many and the other probably about twice that. Unless, of course, the permits that are referred to in the report are occupancy permits, not construction permits - but again, the report does not specify what it means.

2) In spite of this fairly large addition to the housing stock coming online in the next year or two, the report projects that the Olympic View reference area will have no increase whatsoever in enrollment at any point in the next ten years.

3) Look at any diagonal line (top left to bottom right) of cells on the 10 year project enrollment table, and the number should remain close to constant, as this would track the grade cohort in a given area over the years. Yes, the number varies as people move in and out, but this is a more or less random effect that doesn't make sense to me to try and capture in a projection. Trends can be projected; random variation from year to year cannot be, yet it appears that they are attempting to project that random variation.

4) Most important, these tables only project enrollment, not total school age population. About 25% of the school age population in Seattle does not attend SPS schools, which is an abnormally high number compared to most school districts. If SPS actually were to succeed at making most schools attractive to families, I think it is not unreasonable to expect this percentage to fall to 10-15% of the school-age population of Seattle. This would affect different reference areas very differently, depending on the local population, but based on this data, there is no way to try and plan for it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The second data chart - projections - does have all school-aged children in an area.

dan dempsey said...

Roy,

Nicely done. Permits or Units ... they must mean permits.

Given that Seattle seems to ignore the clientel they are supposed to be serving in so many ways as well as their own school board policies, it seems likely that that 25% attending other schools will not be declining.

Watch the school board meetings of the last two years ... look at the way decisions are made ...

As Lilly Tomlin (as an operator for Ma Bell before deregulation) said:
"We don't care we don't have to we are the phone company."

This does not work for the phone companies anymore but it is seems to be the SPS guide to public engagement.

Hopefully good things will happen in January.

Beth Bakeman said...

Mel, thanks for finding these reports and bringing them up. I've posted links to all 3 pieces on the right so readers can find them even as the threads move off the page.

Roy Smith said...

Melissa, the second chart on each school is very clearly titled "Projected Enrollment", which would indicate that it does not include school-age children who are not enrolled in SPS.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maybe I was unclear; I meant in the Data Part Two, the first column is school aged children.

momster said...

Roy, this is an excerpt - just the appendix showing projections by reference area. There are other materials (including a board presentation describing methodology) here

What is the projected school-age population coming online near Northgate?

As the consultants note in the accompanying materials, new housing doesn't always translate to new students - and there are many other moving pieces such as family size, which continues to trend down over time.

momster said...

PS (Roy) if you're talking about the developments south of Northgate on 5th, those are in the Olympic View reference area - for which the report notes:

"Over the last 10 years, the historical enrollment in this reference area has increased by 39 students. Despite the decreased birth rates since 1992, the projected enrollment is expected to increase by 93 students, likely due to migration into the reference area."

And to your point 4, I'm not sure I understand "based on this data, there is no way to try to plan for it" - it seems clear this data assumes a stable private % - but based on market share data known to the district, upside could be roughed out by reference area.

Which to me is more practical than the "and here a miracle occurs" kind of projections often made by people hoping a situation will become better than it is.

momster said...

Correction - the developments south of Ngate ARE in the OV reference area as noted, but the comment I pasted was for the Northgate ref area.

For OV, the comment is:

Due to decreased birth rates since 1992, the projected enrollment is expected to increase by 2 students.

zb said...

fascinating