New enrollment projections show slower growth for Decatur Schools

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 14, 2015
Consultant Tom Sayre delivers a presentation to the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education on Nov. 5, 2014. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Consultant Tom Sayre delivers a presentation to the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education on Nov. 5, 2014. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated. 

A consultant for City Schools of Decatur made a surprising revelation during the Oct. 13 School Board meeting.

Projected enrollment growth will be slightly lower than first thought, but still enough to justify passage of a bond to fund school construction.

Tom Sayre from the Sizemore Group consulting firm made a presentation during the meeting. One slide shows a projected enrollment of 6,296 students in 2020, 231 less students than he projected back in November. Sayre said even with that difference, the $75 million bond referendum won’t be sufficient to build enough schools pace to hold the projected number of CSD students in each grade level.


Here is the full presentation delivered at the Oct. 13 meeting:

Enrollment Presentation Revised 10-13-15

After the meeting, Sayre said there are two reasons for the lower projections.

“There is a lower birth rate that occurred in the years 2010, 2011, 2012, so add five years and they’re entering into the school system,” Sayre said. “The second thing is in the current school year there was a lower than projected enrollment in certain grades and the way we calculate the future is we look at the current trends and project them out. So with the current growth at certain grades, it affects, not only does it make those particular grades smaller than what we thought they would be, it also means the relationship between that grade and the previous grade drops, so we anticipate fewer children move from one grade into the next.”

So why was enrollment in certain grades lower than expected?

“What is the reason for the drop? I would be speculating to tell you,” Sayre said. “My speculation is that the adjoining areas are beginning to see an improvement in their school systems which Decatur has enjoyed for more than 10 years, and there is therefore less motivation for parents to move into Decatur than there once was. That is on the margin. We’re not talking a huge number, just enough to change by a couple of hundred kids.”

So the $75 million bond referendum is still needed?

“Well needed, yes,” Sayre said. “In fact you’re still going to be short.”

The $75 million bond referendum will be on the ballot Nov. 3.


About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Hans

    I’d also *speculate* (to be clear) that Decatur is running out of affordable single family housing stock, and that the majority of people who would like to live in Decatur for the schools find the median home price daunting. Those who can afford a median-value of $400,000 (and growing at 20% per year) can also likely afford private school options elsewhere in the city.

    Perhaps another column?

New Ben Ad
Banner Decaturish 300x250_April
Decaturish_300x250 V. 3

Receive the Daily Email DIgest

* = required field