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VIDEO | Enrollment projections in the West Bend School District on the decline

July 24, 2018 – West Bend, WI – During Monday night’s West Bend School Board meeting the board introduced new Superintendent Don Kirkegaard. He started in the district July 9.

The board also reviewed architectural plans regarding a referendum, should it move forward. The board is expected to make that decision in mid-August and then Dave Ross, the head of facilities and maintenance, gave a report on long-range student enrollment projections.

The board agenda read:  In order to ensure that any new facility or renovation is sized appropriately, the district utilized the services of Applied Population Laboratories to conduct long-range enrollment projections.

Rationale: The board will need to be well informed as to future district enrollment growth or decline to ensure that the scope of any proposed work for a potential referendum is in line with future population growth/decline.

Bullet points of the presentation by Dave Ross are below:

-District enrollment history the enrollment is reasonably level in Figure 1A and it has tapered off over the years.

-Over the 10 year period the enrollment has declined by 159 students.

-Next page looks at student enrollment by grade grouping. As you look at the graph the 5,6,7,8 population has stayed stable and H.S.  But the K4 population is trending downward

-Page 5 – Kindergarten enrollment trends. Similar to K4 and trending downward over time.

-Page 6 – Interesting graph and shows difference between students graduating and those enrolling. When you have less kids coming in than going out you’re on the downward side of enrollment.

-Birth trends and population percentage. Washington County as a whole is projected to go up 2.1% but district and state will go up 1.8%. That’s telling for the community; We have some things to think about.

-Board member Kurt Rebholz comments on school choice. “The report looks at trends and how our numbers are actually doing. We’ve lost more students and we’ve lost our real estate support. We have a marketing challenge. It’s time to turn these numbers around.”

-Page 9 – looks at two graphs in surrounding communities. Others are hovering less than 7,000. When look at village and town of Jackson they are trending upward.

-Age structure and how housing affects enrollment. Two ways to increase is housing starts and other is for community turnover. If community is aging and moving to assisted living that’s when you see turnover. Right now in the district – by municipality – they’re improving but we’re still moving through that whole area.








-Page 16 – grade progression ratios. Spike between grade 8 and 9. That’s the kids in the parochial system electing to go to the public high school.

-When look at enrollment projections for facilities as district as a whole there are four methods. Baseline, 2 year projection, 5 year projection and the kindergarten-trend projects.

-Look out 10 years on baseline – the district would be down 772 students.

-Five year trend model indicates enrollment will decline as well by 840 odd students

-Two year trend – around 870 decline and kindergarten trend projection and that’s almost 1,350 students.

-We’ll have to monitor our projections and determine what’s the most accurate.

-Projections show three fairly tight and the kindergarten model is trending lower than everything else.

-We talk about the district as a whole and we’re concerned about Jackson area.


Dave Ross continues:

-You can see in 13-14 year or 14-15 there’s a large drop and that’s the year the fifth grade moved to Silverbrook.

-Same data – trending down in Jackson in kindergarten.

-Finally on Page 30 – 31 are the actual baseline projection models and the 5 year trend projection model the 10 year projection is about 9 /10 fewer students than we have today. To base that building on a 450 student size doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

-We want to have 85 – 90 % efficiency ratio. It’s not unreasonable – but with the 2 year and kindergarten projections the numbers are much different.

-We need to watch this going forward but as a district we can look at Jackson and say at some level of confidence we’re reasonablely close with size.

-At 2:52 – Board member Ken Schmidt –”All these trends are decreasing. I don’t see us and I also look at demographic info for the entire US and the state of WI and I don’t think we’re different. Birth rates are on the decline – I have a concern about overbuilding and making the best and wisest use of taxpayer dollar. I also see more of a trend of virtual classrooms.”

-K. Schmidt – “There might be more students choicing out to private schools. I don’t’ see 450 and I can see building to a capacity of 400 – square footage – I’m not sure. Building a second gym… I question that.”







-Dave Ross – Building to 400 doesn’t change a lot except for a couple classrooms areas.

-Mike Hacker with Bray Architects –Right now we have 17 classrooms so it’s 2 – 3 student difference per class. For us we work in a range of a max class size. Kindergarten 18 – 24 is the max range. First grade to second grade 22 – 24 and then 22 – 29 for target windows. Range of 350 – 450 students in that school. Three classrooms per grade with two flex classrooms.

Ken Schmidt – “No possibility of getting over 400 (enrollment)… so I don’t see why we need to build more than 400. If it does happen and Foxconn brings in families and they move up to Jackson, I doubt that, I think they’d want to be closer to their place of employment. You’ve already indicted you’re designing this (Jackson Elementary) for expansion I have a problem spending more than we need to.”

Superintendent Don Kirkegaard – When I was at the Jackson meeting they have three pretty significant housing developments they approved.

-Board President Joel Ongert – All stats are posted on Board Docs for the public to see. – (however I couldn’t find them and messaged Dave Ross to find so we can link the article).

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