Chaska, Minnesota | 16 September, 2019 | (952) 448-2650
More Weather
School enrollment slowed by economy
by Chuck Friedbauer
Feb 04, 2012 | 1024 views | 2 2 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
download J2BV_School_enrollment_projections.pdf
Five years ago, district officials braced for a student body increase of 25 percent by 2020.

But a recent demographic study indicates there will be no growth in students – and possibly a decrease – by the 2020-21 school year.

The current enrollment is 8,976 students, with the latest demographic study predicting 8,879-9,051 students in 10 years.

District officials use demographic studies to help decide many things – from whether to build a new school, to where boundaries are drawn, to school budgets.

The 2007 study, by Barbara Lukermann, forecast 9,235-9,587 students by 2012, and between 10,129 and 11,169 students by 2020. The growth forecast was based on a robust regional economy and strong local housing market. “The school district is well positioned on the edge of the southwest metro growth sector with excellent transportation accessibility to major employment markets and attracting families with children, the study stated.

Two main factors led to the demographic nosedive.

“New housing units will not be substantial enough to drive growth here as it has in the past and the number of resident live births have declined in the past several years,” said Hazel Reinhardt of Hazel Reinhardt Consulting Services, who performed the 2011 study.


In 2007, local housing construction was expected to continue at a good pace, if not the robust pattern seen in previous years. In the 2007 study, Lukermann stated, “The school district has the capacity to accommodate an additional 12,000 housing units over the next 10 years based on the residential land supply, accessibility and investments in sewer and water services to undeveloped land. The issue for the school district is not if this growth will occur but at what pace.”

The 2011 study includes data that the growth slowed to a much smaller pace than expected. Per data supplied by the Carver County Geographic Information System, Reinhardt indicated the new single-family detached homes in Carver County averaged approximately 137 annually between 2007 and 2010, compared to 372 in the five years previous to that. The 2011 study indicates the five-year projection from this year to average about 151 new homes per year.

Reinhardt’s research led her to state, “Construction of single-family homes is the largest driver of enrollment growth in the district” and “these data also suggest that enrollment will grow very slowly or even decline in the next 10 years.”

One method demographers use to project enrollment involves forecasting the number of kindergarten students in a school district using resident live births. Based on projections supplied by the Minnesota Demographic Center, Carver County resident live births were expected to be more than 1,500 annually now, but have actually been about 25 percent less. The 2011 study states that difference will result in smaller kindergarten classes until at least 2016.


District 112 officials and school board members use the demographic studies as a first step in their review of the district's programs and facilities.

Superintendent Jim Bauck said he expects the district facility plan to be updated by July 1. He also said the school board will gather data over the next year to identify any decisions on changes to programs and attendance areas.

Bauck said he targets January 2013 for these decisions, with any resultant changes to be implemented no sooner than the 2013-14 school year.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
February 05, 2012
They keep using the same demographer and she is wrong every time.

The Chaska High School was built with an add-on in mind. But nevermind THAT, let's build another high school anyways. So we built the new high school which will probably be empty in a few years. Let's get a new demographer that knows what she is talking about.
February 04, 2012
Does this mean they will stop begging for more money?
Stay Connected Facebook Twitter RSS Email Minnesota Business Directory Edible Communities Local Jobs Garage Sales ThriftMart Events Calendar Ending Image