Between now and the 2024-25 school year, the district will lose another 1,347 students, according to district projections. Since the 2011-12 school year when MMSD added 4-year-old kindergarten, the district has always had at least 26,000 students. Projections show it will drop below that in 2024-25 for the first time since.
Projections from Vandewalle and Associates show enrollment stability in the “long term,” the report adds.
The district’s projections are based on what the report calls a “sharp decrease” in the birth rates in the cities of Fitchburg and Madison in 2016 and 2017, the last two reported years. Continued drops in enrollment are significant for the district’s funding, as state aid is largely based on enrollment, measured each September on the third Friday of the school year.
The drops are projected to initially come in elementary schools, as kindergarten classes will continue a trend of being smaller than the year prior. At the high school level, East and Memorial are projected to grow in attendance by the 2024-25 school year, while West will have five students fewer than this year. La Follette is projected to lose 49 students from this year to 2024-25.
The overall enrollment decrease means that most buildings are projected to be at or below the “ideal” 90% capacity use five years from now, according to data included in the report, which is calculated using factors including class size policy, section availability and building size. The most significant exceptions are Falk Elementary School, which is projected to be at 104.4% of its capacity in five years, and West High School, projected at 98.7% — just below its current 98.9% utilization.
Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district recently expanded their least diverse schools.
“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”
But by 2024-25, the total number of students is projected to drop to 25,779 students, about 1,400 fewer students, or a 5% reduction, from enrollment 11 years prior, according to the report