Wentworth School Catherine Bart

SCARBOROUGH — Rebecca Wandell, enrollment projection specialist, presented the Scarborough School Board on March 2 with the results of an study anticipating projected enrollment. The data will be especially important to the board in putting together a proposal for a unified school.

Due to the town’s population exceeding the capacity and infrastructure of the Scarborough’s three primary schools, a large, unified school project, to replace the existing primary schools and serve all students, is being proposed.

Wandell presented the school board and visiting members of the town council with a comprehensive analysis of data used to help predict the enrollment of Scarborough schools over the next decade. Wandell presented information on factors affecting enrollment such as Scarborough’s population, historical data, birth trends, number of homes, and more. Using all of the information, four models were created for predicting Scarborough’s future enrollment.

One was a statistical model based on historical trends. This model can be expected to be accurate if historical patterns continue. The second model used the first but adjusted for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The third and fourth models used the second, but with also the effects of housing unit development in Scarborough. One of these models looked at a potentially more intensive version of the effects of housing unit development. These last two models were recommended to be used as a guide.

“The big recommendations here — watch the birth trends. I can’t say that enough,” said Wandell. She also recommended the board watch housing trends, the number of students coming from multi-family housing over the next three years, and the preschool, elementary, and grade-to-grade migration trends for changes.

The study predicted an increase of students in Scarborough over the coming years. This data aligns with the growing problem of the town’s need surpassing the capacities of the school system.

Town Council member Don Hamill said he appreciated Wandell’s work. “One thing I’d like to say is that this is a huge challenge, and you don’t have the benefit of a crystal ball or tarot cards. So I applaud the efforts that you’ve made so far and the data will lead us to, hopefully, the right decisions,” Hamill said. “I look forward to a robust discussion moving forward between the school and the council.”

The results of the study can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_OxIvppnIiqdtTYiQBdwxXDD01t6zzVO/view

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