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February 5, 2020

Demography Report Part I: Enrollment Analysis

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Last fall, the Ames Community School District contracted with RSP Associates, a school planning company that works solely with school districts and provides demography analysis for those who are experiencing enrollment changes. For a school district, enrollment changes have financial implications, determine the number of certified teaching positions that are needed, and directly impact building capacity. With accurate demographic information, school districts can use the information to make informed-decisions around facilities planning and enrollment processes. Robert Schwarz, the CEO of RSP Associates, has experience in city planning and founded the company in 2003.

RSP Associates used school district enrollment data and worked with representatives from Story County, the City of Ames, State of Iowa, and pulled data from the U.S. Geological Survey and Census Bureau for the final analysis. Schwarz presented to the school board during a work session on January 27 and outlined their process and final enrollment conclusions. 

One of the primary goals of RSP Associates was to evaluate and determine a viable 5-year outlook of enrollment for the Ames Community School District. In addition to the current enrollment data, RSP also used forecast models when looking at planning areas across the city. They looked at population densities based on census data, potential growth areas based on the 2040 Plan from the City of Ames, and housing trends. 

Their 5-year projections indicate that the Ames Community School will continue its recent trend of growing enrollment. This will especially be seen at Ames High as the new building will be an appealing aspect for students and families from outside the district. Although elementary enrollment will stabilize over the next five years, the recent enrollment spike will be felt at Ames Middle School over the next several years. Overall, the District can expect a total student population of 5,328 by 2025. Here is how RSP outlined the next five-year enrollment changes:

  • District increases by just over 400 students (+7.9%) (Annual Range: +0.7% to +2.4% a year)
  • Elementary increases by about 20 students (+0.9%) (Annual Range: -1.2% to +1.8% a year)
  • Middle School increases by about 100 students (+9.0%) (Annual Range: -1.1% to +6.0% a year)
  • High School increases by about 300 students (+18.6%) (Annual Range: +1.5% to +6.1% a year)

Schwarz will present on February 24 as a part II on RSP’s findings that will focus on individual building capacities. You can view the complete demography report that RSP Associates presented to the school board at the link below.

RFP Enrollment Analysis for Ames Community School District