During its meeting Thursday, the Olentangy Schools Board of Education received an update on the district’s current enrollment projections.
Sharon Jurawitz, a member of the district’s Facilities Committee, led the presentation in which she began by comparing last year’s projections to the current figures.
At this time last year, the Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) was projecting a total enrollment of 22,967 students across all grades for the 2022-23 school year. This year’s total enrollment surpassed the projection by 293 students with a total enrollment of 23,260 students.
The largest difference in enrollment projections was at the kindergarten level, which showed 121 fewer students than last year’s projected total of 1,577 students. However, the enrollments for grades 1-5 each came in higher than last year’s projections.
Thursday’s presentation also included a first-time comparison of the enrollment projections in 2017 to how they’ve actually played out this year.
“We added a slide to this year’s presentation, which is comparing what we had projected back in 2017,” Jurawitz told the board. “That was the first year that we started looking at enrollment in this format and using these scenarios and these formulas that we are using. It was five years ago, so we’re looking at how well we did because our goal is to be more accurate each year.
“And not just for that following year (of projections) but in the future years so that we can make sure that we’re providing you with adequate information for years that are to come. I think that we’ve been getting more accurate with our projections.”
The 2022-23 enrollment projection in 2017 was off by just 2.3%, which drew the praise of board President Kevin O’Brien, given all the unforeseen circumstances at play over the past five years.
“I think it’s important to pause on that (accuracy) because if you would have told me what the next five years would look like five years ago, we never would have predicted what we had to go through with COVID and the economy. So to still be within 2% is pretty remarkable,” he told Jurawitz.
Future projections show the total enrollment across all OLSD schools to increase to 23,500 for the 2023-24 school year before approaching the 24,000 mark in 2024-25 with 23,894 students. Enrollment projections surpass that mark in 2025-26 with 24,378 students and continue to steadily rise to 27,927 students by the 2032-33 school year.
Superintendent Mark Raiff noted that as the projections reach the 2030-31 school year, every class of students in grades 4-12 is projected to surpass 2,000 students.
As part of her presentation, Jurawitz displayed a graph showcasing the climbing enrollment figures dating back to the 1977-78 school year. Enrollment figures in the district really began to take off in the 1999-2000 school year when there were a total of 5,444 students, and those numbers increased dramatically for the 2002-03 school year when enrollment hit 7,586 students.
With the district now at 23,260 students and projected to approach 28,000 students over the next decade, Jurawitz said the constant growth will subside eventually, although it won’t be any time soon.
“We joke about this curve and how it’s just going up and up and up. At some point, it will come down. … I don’t know when though,” she said, to which O’Brien laughingly asked, “In whose lifetime?”
To view the presentation in full, visit www.olentangy.k12.oh.us/board-of-education/board-meetings/board-meeting-records.