Four takeaways from the CCPS enrollment projection report

Carroll County Public Schools staff presented the 2019-2029 student enrollment projections analysis report presented at the Board of Education meeting on Jan. 9. Here are four takeaways from the report.

Elementary and middle school enrollment is increasing; high schools to see decrease.

According to the report, Carroll County’s elementary schools are expected to see an increase of 650 students and middle schools are expected to have an increase of 250 students over the next 10 years. However, those increases will not be seen at the high school level as students at that level are expected to decrease by 200 to 400 in that time frame.


But, once the 10 years pass, high schools are projected to gain the students from elementary and middle schools, bringing enrollment back up.

Schools are broken into geographic clusters — five elementary school clusters and four each for middle and high schools. Only two of the 13 are projected to be over capacity in the next decade.


The Southern Area middle school cluster — consisting of Mount Airy, Oklahoma Road, and Sykesville middle schools — has 2,231 students and is at 98 percent of capacity. It is anticipated that this cluster will be over capacity beginning in 2023. Also, the Northeastern Area high school cluster — which is just Manchester Valley — is expected to exceed its state-rated capacity in 2021 and 2022.

Elementary school redistricting may be required in the Freedom area.

Although a few elementary schools are listed as “approaching inadequate” — meaning they are projected to get to 101 to 105 percent capacity at any point during the 10-year period — only one is listed as “inadequate” — meaning it is projected to surpass 105 percent of its capacity.

Freedom Elementary School is projected to be inadequate for the entire duration, through 2028, but Board of Education President Donna Sivigny said Eldersburg Elementary School, which is 1.2 miles away from Freedom, is under capacity and redistricting could be a possible solution.

Total enrollment is down slightly and expected to be stable throughout the decade.

Bill Caine, facility planner at the CCPS Facilities Management Department, said the September 2018 enrollment was 25,179 students, a decrease of 111 students from the 2017-18 school year. However, the decrease was not as great as the projected loss of 191 students based on birth data for Carroll County.

“We did expect to lose students,” he said at the meeting. “It was a very low birth year. The kindergartners coming in weren’t as high as the seniors leaving.”

Births in Carroll reached nearly 2,000 in 2004, but have averaged 1,650 over the past 10 years.

Caine said projections indicate total enrollment will remain between 25,000 and 26,000 students for the next 10 years.

More families with young children are coming to Carroll County.

The decrease in students was not as much as projected, Caine said, because families with kindergarten-age children who were not born in Carroll are coming into the county by the time they start school.

“We should be losing students based on the actual birth year,” he said, “… but it was a little better than expected — which means something’s going on in the demographics, which means more people are moving in with kids.

“We earned more in first to second grade [students], and elsewhere,” said Caine. “People are coming in from other jurisdictions, other counties.”

Sivigny said that fact is an important one.

“That's a key distinction,” she said. “When you talk about declining enrollment, we are losing kids, where are they going — it’s not that we are losing kids from the system. It’s just incoming kindergartners are smaller classes than the departing seniors.


“It’s not that people are leaving in droves or people are leaving the county.”

The entire report can be found on the Carroll County Public Schools website, in a link on the Board of Education January 2019 agenda.

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