Lindbergh Schools’ official enrollment exceeds projections by 50 students

District growth panel begins its study of enrollment issue

By Mike Anthony

Lindbergh Schools’ official enrollment for the 2013-2014 school year exceeded projections by 50 students, according to Brian McKenney, assistant superintendent of human resources.

District officials had projected enrollment would increase by 107 students compared to last year, but Lindbergh’s official enrollment increased by 157 students compared to September 2012, according to information provided to Superintendent Jim Simpson and the Board of Education by McKenney.

McKenney was scheduled to present the information during a Board of Education meeting Tuesday night — after the Call went to press.

Total district enrollment for the current school year is 6,115 students.

Over the past five years, district enrollment has increased by 419 students, according to McKenney.

Other information provided to the board by McKenney states:

• Elementary school enrollment increased by 138 students compared to September 2012. Over the past five years, elementary school enrollment has increased by 289 students.

• Middle school enrollment increased by 28 students compared to September 2012. Over the past five years, middle school enrollment has increased by 85 students.

• High school enrollment decreased by nine students compared to September 2012. Over the past five years, high school enrollment has increased by 45 students.

Regarding the school district’s official 2013-2014 enrollment exceeding projections, McKenney wrote, “Our research tells us this is due, in large part, to turnover in existing housing stock. New housing developments scheduled to come online later this year and next will continue to exacerbate the issue.

“Growth is clearly our most pressing district challenge and will continue to be for years to come,” he wrote.

To address the district’s aggressive enrollment growth, the Board of Education voted in June to establish a District Growth Committee.

The first meeting of the District Growth Committee was scheduled Monday night — after the Call went to press.

The panel is expected to make its recommendations to Board of Education members sometime in late December or early January.

The committee will bring together community members, staff and parents to explore the enrollment growth, especially at the elementary level, and propose a solution to address growing class sizes and the need for additional teachers.

Sappington Elementary School has more than 600 students, making it the largest of five elementaries in the district, and Concord and Long are not far behind in enrollment numbers.

Lindbergh High is nearing capacity with a student enrollment of around 2,000.

The district’s residential enrollment grew by 569 students, to a total of 5,928, from the 2007-2008 school year to the 2012-2013 school year.

During a June 1 work session, board members discussed the district’s enrollment growth, focusing on opening a sixth elementary school on the roughly 10-acre site of the Dressel School building.

The district closed on the $1.94 million purchase of the property in July 2011.

Opening a new elementary school would require voter approval of a bond issue to fund construction and an increase in the district’s operational tax rate to hire more teachers. The time frame for building a new school, including an election, architectural and engineering work, permitting and construction, is roughly 48 months.