Happy New Year to everyone as we look forward to an exciting 2022. I hope everyone had an enjoyable Holidays and is off to a great start in 2022.
January, 2022 will witness two significant events for our school district. The first is an annual event, however, one many in the community anticipate and use in a variety of capacities. The school district first conducted a demographic study with RSP & Associates in 2013 and has conducted an updated study each year since 2013. The professional demographic studies provided accurate student enrollment projections used in the last two major construction projects as well as the drafting of the elementary attendance boundaries. The demographic studies have greatly assisted in the school district’s short and long range facility plans to ensure efficient financial and operational planning and implementation. The enrollment projections have shifted and adjusted over the years according to current economic environments as well as housing capacity in the community/region. However, the enrollment projections overall have shown high levels of accuracy in terms of the 5-year outlooks. The timing of the projections is impacted by several external factors, however, the overall trends and projections over multiple years have remained accurate to this point. The last report in January, 2021 was challenged by the many unknowns at that time with the pandemic and condition of the energy industry and recovery. The upcoming report should assist in providing a return to “normal” outlook compared to the 2021 study and account for recent changes in our regional economic outlook. The RSP model is very sophisticated and proclaims a target accuracy of 95%; which our projections have been in that range with most of our studies. For example, the RSP enrollment projection for 2021-2022, shared in the winter/spring 2021, was 1,781 students; the actual enrollment as of December 27th, 2021 is 1,783 students. The boundary lines developed by RSP and Associates has also proven successful with anywhere from only 0-20 students separating the enrollments of each building at any given time. The data is also used in staffing considerations for the upcoming year before any formal registration processes begin. The latest RSP and Associates study will be presented to the Board at the January 10th regular school board meeting and will be shared on our website following the meeting.
The Bakken Area Skills Center grant application was submitted prior to December 31st, 2021 and will be reviewed this month by the State CTE grant review committee. The grant process conducted by the State Career and Technical Board was delayed to address federal requirements with the funds provided to the State; which led to health monitoring as part of the grant application. Each school district was allotted the opportunity to address the new requirements and submit prior to December 31st, 2021. The Bakken Area Skills Center has received significant interest from the community and industry over the past several months and the eventual grant announcement will be highly anticipated to determine whether this project will continue and be part of the school district facility plan. As the economic environment in our region grows stronger, the need for workforce is a priority and a challenge facing the region with opportunities to capitalize on the potential for economic growth and development in our communities. The ability to combine workforce training with K-12 and postsecondary efforts in our community and extend to our region remains a vision we hope will become a reality in the near future. By the next update, we hope to know the potential future of this project moving forward into 2022.
I hope everyone has a great start to 2022 as we look forward to the second half of the 2021-2022 school year!