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Hatboro-Horsham Seeks Enrollment Insight

The Hatboro-Horsham School Board approved a contract with the Montgomery County Planning Commission to provide enrollment projection services.

The Hatboro-Horsham School Board approved a contract with the Montgomery County Planning Commission to provide enrollment projection services. Credit: Theresa Katalinas
The Hatboro-Horsham School Board approved a contract with the Montgomery County Planning Commission to provide enrollment projection services. Credit: Theresa Katalinas
Hatboro-Horsham School District officials don't have a crystal ball. 

Officials can not estimate what the planned 1,416 homes at the former Willow Grove air base will translate to in terms of student enrollment. Or what the 94 recently developed homes at the former Horsham Valley Golf Club will mean for the district's student population.

To gain some insight on what the future may hold, the Hatboro-Horsham School Board on Monday approved a contract with the Montgomery County Planning Commission to perform enrollment projection services. 

"We are working diligently to try to understand what this community‘s going to look like in the next 20 years," Superintendent Curtis Griffin said. 

The new service, which Griffin said has been used to date by one other school district, is expected to help with enrollment estimates. 

The study, which would cost $9,770 in all, would be covered by a 25 percent county subsidy, leaving Hatboro-Horsham with the remaining $7,327 expense, according to a letter from Scott France, AICP, principal planner to Griffin. 

The county planning commission would evaluate three factors as part of the enrollment projection for the next 10 years:

  • School district characteristics, including population change over time by municipality, school district and county; birth patterns by municipality, school district and county; district enrollment history by school division and grade; and alternate enrollments at private, charter and cyber schools, as well as students who are home-schooled. 
  • Housing activity, including impacts of housing on student enrollment; number of housing units constructed since 2005 by municipality, school district and county, with locations shown on a map; proposed and approved housing units; and housing sales information by housing type over time, including an overview of where turnover is happening and its potential impact on school enrollment.
  • School enrollment projections would be calculated by using births to kindergarten ratio to estimate new kindergarten students in five years; "data assumptions and potential adjustments" would be applied to analyze housing sales activity, change in household composition and related factors; individual school profiles would be devised to assess enrollment patterns for the next five years; and a guide to "special indicators of potential change" would be compiled for the district to help recognize causes for adjustment to projections in coming years. 
Once the enrollment projection process is underway, the county planning commission would make presentations at two public meetings, according to France's letter. The first, he wrote, would be an "interim" analysis, followed by the final report. 

Griffin told Patch that the enrollment figures will also come in handy as district officials move forward on construction of a brand-new Hallowell Elementary School.

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