The Civitas Institute is questioning the accuracy of Wake County student enrollment projections and saying they need to be double-checked before voters are asked to approve another school construction bond issue.
In a blog post Wednesday, Bob Luebke, a senior policy analyst for the conservative think tank, points to how the district’s enrollment projections for the next several years are higher than two different projections done by the state Department of Public Instruction. (Luebke calls them Wake Education Partnership figures in the post but they’re the same as the ones the district jointly developed with the county before last year’s school bond.)
In one case, Wake’s projection in 2020-21 is 15,684 students higher than what was projected by DPI’s School Construction Office. In another case, Luebke says the difference between Wake’s projections and a recent set of five-year DPI enrollment estimates raises questions whether Wake will have as many students as it projected in 2020.
Luebke’s post comes just after Wake said that this year’s enrollment was 750 students below the bond projections.
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“We acknowledge Wake County is a growing county and it’s important to that the county meet those needs,” Luebke writes. “It’s equally important, however, that the county accurately predict its future needs. Overestimation can cost the county millions of dollars and fracture the trust between citizens and government.
WCPSS student enrollment estimates need to be thoroughly reviewed. Only then can we ensure the numbers are accurate and reliable; only then can parents, students and taxpayers be satisfied that the educational needs of a growing student population will be met in an efficient manner.”