Trustees hear demographic planning information for Winters JUSD area

The Winters Joint Unified School District has been able to maintain steady student enrollment with continuing housing development in the city. Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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The Winters Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees received a demographic planning presentation at the Feb. 18 school board meeting.

Winters JUSD contracted with SchoolWorks to update and analyze relevant data for the district’s facility planning efforts.

SchoolWorks President, Ken Reynolds, gave a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation outlining the demographic planning used to make budgeting, staffing, program and facility uses for the future.

Reynolds offered an Executive Summary indicating that 2020 enrollment was down 34 students as compared with 2019. He noted interesting dynamics across the state dealing with COVID-19 that revealed smaller transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes along with slower than anticipated housing development.

Currently, there are 1,525 students in the Winters JUSD with a projected increase to 1,604 for the 2026-27 school year. Based on current loading standards and classroom space, the Winters JUSD has a net classroom capacity of 2,432 students.  Even with future development, Reynolds said there is still plenty of space for the growth that is anticipated.

Although there may be a challenge at a particular grade level, in general, Reynolds said, Winters JUSD is well-positioned to handle what is currently on the books and what is projected at this time.

SchoolWorks’ enrollment projections were extended out annually over the next six years and suggest that Winters JUSD will have a steady and slightly growing student population.

The school district has been able to maintain steady student enrollment with continuing housing development, however, 2020 revealed a lower-than-average kindergarten enrollment of 102 students when compared with birthrate data. Kindergarten enrollment in 2021 is expected to increase to 131 based on more births and housing development and then return to average enrollment.

A list of 20 developments was provided that projected 320 new units to be built over the next six years with another 956 units on the books, but with construction not expected to commence until sometime after 2027.

A historical chart of kindergarten enrollment through current grades revealed class sizes have remained relatively equal over time. Slight increases were noted in grades eight and ten while a decrease occurred in fourth and seventh grades.

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