The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) projects public school enrollment will see a large increase over the next few years.
Planning uses Grade Succession Ratio methodology to prepare school enrollment projections, which requires historical data for each political subdivision on the number of live births and number of children enrolled in public school by grade. Projections for the next 10 years (2020-2029) show most of the growth occuring from 2020 to 2022, with “moderate growth anticipated from 2023 to 2024 and from 2027 to 2029.” Planning predicts an increase of 3.5% by 2029 as compared to 2019, a total of about 30,890 more students.
For these projections, Planning analyzes historical birth data for the years 1970‐2018 and historical school enrollment data for the period 1975‐2019. Besides historical data on the ratios of births and associated enrollment in kindergarten and first grade, Planning also analyzes historical grade succession ratios that reflect projected grade cohort survival for all other grades, from first to second grade and from eleventh to twelfth grade. Specific combinations of historic ratios are then selected that generate grade‐specific school enrollment projections consistent with the range of school age population-based projections of public school enrollment. Planning will be posting the 2020 projections soon, but you can currently view the 2019 projections.
These projections are of importance to counties, as each Local Education Agency (LEA) is required to prepare an Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP) which includes enrollment projections. The Interagency Commission of Public School Construction (IAC) then evaluates each proposed school facility project based on projected student enrollment. Planning allows for LEAs to complete their own district-wide enrollment projects and if they are within five percent of Planning’s numbers, the LEA may use them in their EFMPs. The state projections are completed at the LEA-level; local school facility planners project enrollment at individual schools and submit these to the IAC as part of their Capital Improvement Program (CIP) requests.