There wasn’t a whole lot of good news presented by a consulting group hired to assess the needs of the Guilford County school system, but one thing school officials apparently do not have to worry about is an increasing student population in the coming years.
Over the last decade, the school population as remained remarkably stable. Ten years ago it was 72,118; in the current school year it’s 72,587, and, if consultants hired to study the system are correct, nine years from now, in the 2027-2028 school year, there will be 73,275 students in the Guilford County system.
Those findings were part of a year-long $1 million study by Tallahassee-based MGT Consulting Group that was presented to county and school officials on Thursday, Jan. 31. The fact that the school population will remain flat is one reason the school facilities only needs $1.5 billion worth of enhancements rather than more.
The projected increase comes to just under one percent growth for the system over the next nine years. The consulting group took a number of considerations into account in its projections including birth rates, national population migration trends and expected parental choices. While the overall student population in the school system is expected to remain flat, the distribution of that population over class sizes will shift somewhat if the predictions turn out to be correct.
The fact that the student population has stayed relatively flat for so long has contributed to some interesting circumstances. For instance, recently the Rhino Timesreported that over the last decade the school system has added two employees for every additional student.
To a large extent, the consultants said, the lack of growth in school system students is a part of the overall story of the demographics in Guilford County. The county has had a total population growth of about 3.8 percent during the past five years, an average of less than 1 percent growth per year and that population is on average getting older.
According to the consultants, the population of the US is growing on the West Coast, across the South and on sections of the East Coast.
“This area of the country, there is somewhat of an exodus,” one consultant said.