School population forecast shows more strain on New Baltimore-area schools
Greenville Elementary students file off the school buses to their first day of school this year. - Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Taking a 50,000-foot view, the county's public school staffers believe the overall student population would look much the same a decade from now. But a closer look shows more uncertainty for schools in the New Baltimore area - and uncertainty about the school board's redistricting plan approved earlier this year.
Fauquier County Public Schools released its 10-year enrollment projections this week, a document it updates every year. Ten years from now, the district expects to have 11,238 students in all schools, a 1.2 percent increase from this year's enrollment total of 11,084.
The projection shows continuing strain on Greenville Elementary School and Auburn Middle School.
Greenville Elementary has 488 students now. The district expects a steady increase in enrollment at Greenville. The school will hit 95 percent of its capacity in the 2015-2016 year when its population reaches 530, according to projections. Ten years from now, the projection shows the school's population at 642.
Auburn Elementary is already at 95 percent of its capacity now, with 602 students. The projection expects that strain to continue until the 2023-2024 school year, when it will drop to 583.
The projection does not fully reflect the effect of the new middle school redistricting plan. The schools won't know for another year how that plan will shake out, because of "the allowance of waivers for eighth graders," according to the document.
In April, the school board approved the redistricting plan, which shunted 142 middle school students from overcrowded schools to Marshall and Taylor middle schools.
Board members Donna Grove (Cedar Run), Sheryl Wolfe (Lee) and Maureen Riordan (Scott) voted in favor of the plan. Brian Gorg (Center) and Raymond "Duke" Bland (Marshall) voted against the plan.
The projection also cautions that it does not fully take into account economic conditions and activity related to new developments and building permits. New schools, new classrooms, changes in school boundary lines and the relocation of division-wide special programs could also muddy the school system's 10-year forecast, according the the projection.
The projection draws its conclusions from past development activity and live birth data. Of note:
-The number of new single-family dwelling permits issued increased 70 percent from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2013. What's more, the number of permits issued in the first three months of fiscal year 2014 is up 95 percent over the same time period in the prior year.
-Sixty-five percent of fiscal year 2013's permitting came from the Scott magisterial district, in which New Baltimore resides.
-Meanwhile, the period between Oct. 2011 through Sept. 2012, the most recent reported live birth data, shows the lowest birth rate in Fauquier County in 12 years: 703 births, a 7.4 percent drop from the previous year's 759 births.
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