The Wentzville School District could add up to 5,000 new students over the next decade according to projections in a new demographic study released by MGT Consulting Group. The findings, which indicate the District could top 22,000 students over the next 10 years, were shared with the Board of Education by MGT Project Director Dan Schmidt at the August 15 board meeting.
The report’s key findings include that since 2009, WSD enrollment has increased 38.57% across all age groups with grades 9-12 experiencing the most growth during that time at 49.39%. The report also states that although the population of females of child-bearing age has slightly decreased across the District, the future school age population (under 5) has increased.
“As a district we are well versed in dealing with growth and we can speak confidently about our historical enrollment,” said Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cain. “But when it comes to predicting future growth, we rely on the professionals to assist us with that so we can effectively plan to have the infrastructure in place to educate all students. This study confirms our growth will continue for the foreseeable future and we will need to continue to plan for expansion in the WSD.”
The report acknowledges that the new elementary school scheduled to open next year will temporarily alleviate the K-6 capacity issues, but says the anticipated increase in enrollment will soon lead to a need for additional elementary space. The study also concedes that need would be reduced if the District decides to move sixth grade back into the middle school buildings. “In that situation, the overutilization at the elementary school buildings would be alleviated and the need for additional elementary school capacity would be reduced.” However, the study acknowledges that moving sixth grade back to middle school would then accelerate the need for a fourth middle school. “Current middle school capacity will accommodate enrollment for the next several years, though enrollment will need to be balanced across existing space (due to a capacity issue at Wentzville Middle School). The projected utilization for the middle schools would change significantly if the district decided to move the sixth grade back into the middle school buildings.” The study also confirms the fourth high school will address overutilization at the existing three high schools and “keep the high school grade band efficiently utilized through the next decade.”
This is the third demographic study that the District has commissioned since 2007. The WSD continues to be the fastest growing school district in the 21st Century, averaging 602 new students each year since 2001. Current enrollment is approximately 17,400 students, which reflects an increase of over 600 students from this time last year and makes the WSD the ninth largest school district in Missouri. The entire demographic study can be found on the WSD website.