Boulder Valley School District

Board hears about enrollment projections and next steps

students with laptops
Susan Cousins

En Español

At its Feb. 27 meeting, the Board of Education heard the first annual report about enrollment projections and school building capacity for BVSD elementary schools for the next five years. Projections show that enrollment will decline for nearly all BVSD schools in the coming years. Because school districts are funded on a per pupil basis, declining enrollment can lead to budget reductions, inefficient facility operations and a less comprehensive educational experience for students at small schools. 

Data shared in the report indicate that in the years ahead, a number of BVSD schools will move into the enrollment advisory and engagement phases identified in the metrics created by the Long Range Advisory Committee (LRAC).   

For the 2023-24 school year, there are six schools that are in the low enrollment advisory phase (Coal Creek, Community Montessori, Eldorado K-5, Flatirons, Kohl, and Mesa) meaning that they have fewer than two classes per grade and are running at less than 60% capacity. 

At this phase, families and staff should be aware that resource allocation will adhere to the established staffing funding formula to the greatest extent possible and multi-age classrooms may be necessary to meet the funding formula. Library, counseling, and specials may be limited.

BVSD’s funding formulas determine how many staff will be assigned to a building based on the number of students enrolled.

“We always follow the staffing formulas, and then we overlay one-time dollars on the formula as we see fit to make sure we are delivering on the promises that we have [made] for [delivering high] quality [education],” Superintendent Dr. Rob Anderson explained to the Board. “Schools go through different situations and scenarios. We have listened to schools and added resources, but we can’t sustain it indefinitely.” 

“There is a business aspect of running a school district that is real, that we take incredibly seriously,” Dr. Anderson commented further. 

Heatherwood Elementary’s enrollment is at the level that a community engagement process will be initiated. This process is triggered when a school has less than 1.5 classes per grade level and is at less than 50% capacity with a projected trend to continue for at least 5 years.

The process will begin with a community meeting on Mar. 7, and from there an educational advisory team will be created to evaluate options and develop a plan for the path forward. Learn more about the Heatherwood Community Process here.

“One of the important things we discussed too is the fact that there needs to be ownership with the school that is doing it and that’s what this committee is going to be doing,” LRAC co-chair Jeff Anderson explained to the Board. 

“I want to partner with our communities as we think about taking on these tough challenges,” Dr. Anderson commented. 

Looking ahead, Projections indicate that in the next five years, enrollment will continue to decline throughout the district, and by 2028-29, BVSD will have seven schools at the Enrollment Advisory Phase and six at the Community Engagement Phase. These schools are distributed with nine in Boulder, one in Louisville, one in Superior, and two in Broomfield.

“I wish I could tell you all this is going to be easy,” Dr. Anderson said. “But it’s not going to be easy because we’re going to have to make choices. We’re going to have to be honest with folks. We’re going to have to look tough decisions square in the eye, and we’re going to have to make decisions that not everyone is going to like, but that is the world of declining enrollment.”

Learn more about how BVSD is responding to declining enrollment here.


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