Joint Schools, County Committee Explores Enrollment Projection Challenges

The Joint Board of Supervisors and School Board Committee on June 6 heard about some of the challenges the school system has faced recently predicting how many students they will have to teach.

And school staff members are waiting to see if this fall there is a surge of students returning to public school.

According to numbers prepared by school system staff, the district’s countywide enrollment projections have been within a single percentage point since at least 2012, and in 2013 estimating the number of students—70,858 that year as of Sept. 30, the date used for official enrollment—within three students.

That was, until the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, student enrollment was only 95% of the school district’s projection, and in 2021 only 93.2%, a difference of 5,977 students from their estimates.

“We know that a lot of students moved from public education across the country, not just here. We do believe they’re going to come back,” said Loudoun County Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Kevin Lewis. “We don’t know what percentage will come back and when they’ll come back, and we’re all sitting with bated breath waiting for this Sept. 30 to see how many people register for this fall, because it could be a significant number of those folks come back this year.”

What’s more difficult, school district representatives said, is predicting enrollment in specific areas. From the time a development application is first referred to the school district for enrollment projections, a decade may pass before those student arrive in full—enough time for trends and development plans to change, Lewis said. And the disruptions of the pandemic years have made that more difficult, which School Board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said the school system is seeing right now at Hovatter Elementary School.

“2020 and 2021, we did not have a great idea of exactly how many kids were going to be coming to school. We are seeing the repercussions of that in being three years out now and seeing the first stable numbers—what we believe are going to be stable—and they’re way above everything that we projected,” he said.

He also said that changing school attendance zones, while disruptive to families and students, may be something the school district has to think about. Previously, he said, the School Board has tried to do that on a large scale only when they are building a new school.

“I think that some of the discussion into the future when we talk about Park View and some of the schools up north where there’s availability, the future may change and we may be doing more adjustments of school boundaries without new construction because there are seats available and there are other schools where they are way overcrowded,” he said.

10 thoughts on “Joint Schools, County Committee Explores Enrollment Projection Challenges

  • 2022-06-07 at 4:59 pm

    LCPS is a wonderful school division. Yes, there have been some ups & downs recently. But in the long run, LCPS will continue to grow. Many, many folks want to live in Loudoun. After all, it’s the Land of Love. Happy Pride Month Loudoun!

    • 2022-06-08 at 10:15 am

      Yes, covering up a sexual assault and then lying about it to the parents is just a “down.” Having the parent of the child sexually assaulted hauled out of a public forum because the LCSB couldn’t stand his comments, and then pursuing prosecution is just a “down.” Wake up “Tim.” The LCPS system is a joke right now, and it’s all due to, as you say, “loudoun blue” activists that somehow took the reigns of our local government. Parents have seen enough and come next election, we start making changes. Until then, private school is the only way to go.

      • 2022-06-09 at 10:45 am

        Let’s also vote out the Democrat Delgates and State Senators… and maybe we’ll get a school voucher system that will allow the money to follow the child and give the parents the options they deserve. As parents start using that option to pick something other than LCPS, maybe the message will finally get through to them.

  • 2022-06-07 at 5:14 pm

    “I think that some of the discussion into the future when we talk about Park View and some of the schools up north where there’s availability, the future may change and we may be doing more adjustments of school boundaries without new construction because there are seats available and there are other schools where they are way overcrowded,” he said. ”

    That sounds a lot like “busing.”

  • 2022-06-08 at 5:52 am

    How about auditing some of the completed developments to see how close the LCPS referrals and student generation figures were that drove the proffers too? 🙂

  • 2022-06-08 at 9:04 am

    Enrollment will continue to decline in public schools. Homeschooling will see an uptick if families can afford to have a parent stay home with kids – tough in Bidens hyper-inflation economy. Parents saw that public schools have been hijacked by activists and not educators, they will keep their kids in a safer learning environment if they can afford to do so….

  • 2022-06-08 at 9:49 am

    The public school system is broken in so many ways and creating new schools is one of them. Time and again, we see that centralization is the problem. We need smaller schools, closer to where kids live with smaller footprints (why are schools on enormous tracts of land?) with more efficient buildings (why are there single story buildings with 16-foot ceilings and not multi-story buildings?). But public school problems are much bigger than buildings. As many parents have already, it is time to pack up and leave the broken system. It will take at least a generation to fix public schools and maybe longer, but your kids need a real education now.

    • 2022-06-09 at 11:00 am

      This works fine for an elementary school and maybe a middle school. Once you get to the high school where you have multiple teachers, each working on a specific subject, you need more room. Younger children need a playground or park-like area for recess and other activity. Older children start looking at different specific sports, plus by having the high school stadium on the grounds of the high school makes it also available to the physical education teachers to explore different sports with the kids, and with enough extra space it provides room for the marching band to properly rehearse (watching the band work on its halftime show in the parking lot is a crying shame compared to what I remember doing when in high school). It also provides the necessary space for the different science teachers to have different labs (biology, chemistry, physics) to go through some practical application of concepts learned, room for different shop classes (wood, metal, electric, auto repair), home economics (cooking, sewing), as well as any other specialized classes.

  • 2022-06-08 at 10:12 am

    It’s amazing how clueless these officials are in LCPS. The students that left public school aren’t coming back. There was a reason why they left. You shut the doors on them when the children and parents needed the schools most. When you opened them back up, you demanded they cover their faces and miss a large amount of time from learning to quarantine when they sneezed. During the shut down, your curriculum of what was being taught to our children came to light, and parents had enough. Instead of ensuring that our children are being taught the minimum basics to function in today’s world, the LCSB worried more so about social activism causes, which only created more strain and stress across parents, children, and educators. Pitting parents versus parents, educators versus parents, etc. because the LCSB decided to become political. The LC BoS doesn’t care about the public schools evidence by their perpetual approvals of new housing developments that will only bring in more children to teach with already strained resources and limited capacities, and more costs to the taxpayers who no longer have any confidence in the LCPS system.

    It’s time to wake up Loudoun. We need fresh faces and ideas running our local government and school systems. What was once a proud and envious public school system within the commonwealth and country has become a laughing stock because of the far left liberal policies and wokism agenda that they are more consumed on than actually teaching our kids.

  • 2022-06-08 at 11:37 am

    What a waste of time and money. if the school board had compromised they would not be in this position. LCPS was once a wonderful school system, but with decreasing enrollment and test scores it is no longer. They should be looking at why students left and why test scores fell and base the action plan on fixing these issue. Until they fix these issues, they will continue to have problems.

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