BUILDING A BETTER DISTRICT

Information | Communication | Transparency | Accountability

A Movement By Citizens  Demanding Transparency, Accountability, and Community Engagement for school districts in the State of Illinois.

Building A Better District is a taxpayer-led movement and is not affiliated with, nor endorsed by, the State or Regional Board of Education, any individual school district, or administration/Board of Education. 


Enrollment Projections

  • Definition: An enrollment projection is generally a more straightforward, often linear, estimation of future student numbers based on past and current enrollment data. It often assumes that current trends will continue into the future without significant deviation.  Sticking to a flat 3% growth rate would be a projection.
  • Methodology: Projections typically use historical enrollment data and apply statistical methods to extend these trends into the future. Common methods include moving averages or simple extrapolation.
  • Data Reliance: Heavily relies on historical enrollment data. It does not typically account for external factors or potential changes in trends.
  • Certainty and Use: Projections provide a baseline understanding of what the future might hold if current trends continue unchanged. They are often used for short to mid-term planning.


Enrollment Forecasts

  • Definition: An enrollment forecast is a more complex and nuanced estimation, incorporating not just historical data but also external variables and potential changes in trends, market data, or other factors that could influence future enrollment.
  • Methodology: Forecasts involve more sophisticated statistical or econometric models and may include scenario analysis. They integrate external data such as demographic trends, economic conditions, population changes, and even changes in types of housing to be built.
  • Data Reliance: While it also uses historical enrollment data, a forecast integrates a broader array of data sources, including predictive factors and potential future changes
  • Certainty and Use: Forecasts provide a more nuanced and more accurate picture of future enrollments, recognizing that trends can change. They are valuable for strategic planning and long-term decision-making, considering multiple potential futures

While enrollment projections provide a straightforward, trend-continued view of future enrollments based on past data, enrollment forecasts offer a more comprehensive, contextually informed prediction that attempts to account for a broader range of influencing factors and potential changes in trends. 

Projection vs. Forecast -- What's the Difference?

Enrollment projections and enrollment forecasts are both methods used by educational institutions, government bodies, or researchers to estimate future student enrollments. They serve as essential tools for planning and decision-making, especially regarding resource allocation, budgeting, and strategic planning. Despite their similar goals, there are distinct differences between the two in terms of methodology, data reliance, and the level of certainty they provide.

The district continues to stress a 3% growth rate in spite of our current growth rate being 1.7% , real estate sales being at a 10-year low, and new construction expectations cut by more than half.  They have  even used clippings from articles from 1979 as "proof" that the 3% growth rate has been the standard for district planning.  The district doesn't see the need to change their methodology in spite of their catastrophic failure to properly calculate Central High School's needed capacity in 2016.

Social Media Post Shared by Central 301 School District

Building A Better District wants the community to understand why basing future planning on a projection instead of a forecast leads to these failures so we can make sure our district does NOT misspend our tax dollars again.

Maybe Straight Projections Have Worked for the District In The Past, But 2016 Clearly Shows This Methodology Is No Longer Appropriate For Accurate Long-Term Planning.  It Is Time To Bring In Professionals To Perform An Enrollment FORECAST.

Enrollment forecasting has many factors and variables and requires the work of a professional demography firm to provide short-term (1-5 years) and middle-term (5-10 years) projections for future planning.  It requires the incorporation of:

              • live birth rates (currently trending DOWN in Kane County),
              • true NEW student growth by grade, (based on future new construction, currently stalled)
              • current grade level sizes,
              • aging-in-place consideration, ("empty nesters" after kids graduate)
              • appropriate Student Yield Factor calculations (ours is too aggressive and doesn't factor lower rates for multifamily housing)
              • confirmed start dates and projections for near-term new development and
              • careful consideration of growth plateaus that would mark the beginning of student attrition due to graduation outpacing new growth

Such analyses helps districts create a phased approach to growth, addressing growth where it is happening, when it is happening.  This builds in progress checks along the way to see if the district is on track with projected growth trends to avoid building unnecessary schools that will not be maximized in the future. 

Our Board of Education must perform their fiduciary duty and appropriate due diligence by directing the district to commission an independent Enrollment Forecast & Facilities Analysis of Central CUSD 301 before moving forward with any new expansion plans.


About us

We are a local group dedicated to cultivating an empowered and engaged community of parents and taxpayers to build an environment of transparency, accountability, and communication within Central Community Unified District 301 (D301), representing the unified voice of the people for a successful and sustainable future.

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Building A Better District is a volunteer community group advocating for transparency, honesty, accountability, and community engagement from Central CUSD 301 in Burlington, IL.

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