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Moorhead enrollments could rise 30 percent in 10 years

MOORHEAD - Enrollment for the Moorhead School District will grow 25 to 30 percent in the next decade, according to a report being presented to the School Board at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. today by the district's demographer.

MOORHEAD - Enrollment for the Moorhead School District will grow 25 to 30 percent in the next decade, according to a report being presented to the School Board at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. today by the district's demographer.

This year's enrollment of 5,724 students could swell to 7,436 by the 2024-25 school year, the report said. That figure will rely on a continued increase in construction of single-family homes,demographer Hazel Reinhardt reports.

"This pretty much verifies where we were looking," Superintendent Lynne Kovash said Friday. "This puts us more in line with what we were looking at building within the next couple of years."

The School Board is considering asking voters to approve a bond issue in November to build at least two buildings: a new elementary school and a fifth- and sixth-grade addition to Horizon Middle School. Estimates put that cost at $78.2 million.

The district will also have to consider a major renovation and expansion of Moorhead High School, or building a new high school, district officials said. That could cost from $65 million for the renovation option to $120 million for a new school, officials said.

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Among the report's findings:

  • Elementary enrollment will rise districtwide over the next five years, but especially at Robert Asp and S.G. Reinertsen elementary schools..
  • Moorhead's kindergarten classes point to continued growth. Kindergarten classes have been larger than the high school senior class for the past four years. In 2011-12, the district kindergarten class was 429 students, while there were 350 12th-graders. This year, there are 500 kindergarteners, with 387 12th-graders.
  • The percentage of minority students is expected to be 21.9 percent of students in grades K-12 in next five years. That is slightly up from the 20.6 percent in 2014-15.
  • The number of low-income students is expected to decline. Projections show the number of students eligible for free or reduced price meals will decline from 38.5 percent of all students, to 32.8 percent.
  • The School District's enrollment has grown by 12.5 percent or 638 students since the 2005-06 school year.
  • Moorhead School District now enrolls 79.3 percent of the school-age population.
  • In the 2014-15 school year, 732 students in the school district's boundaries are attending traditional private schools, while 151 are attending home schools, the report said. The 10.4 percent of district students in non-public school settings is slightly higher than the Minnesota average of 9.2 percent.
  • Moorhead schools have had a net increase in students all but two years in the past decade. Net migration has added 224 students in the district.

Kovash said the in-migration figures show that Moorhead School District voters made the right decision in 2002 to bond for new schools and revamp the facilities that would remain open. "What the citizens did in Moorhead in 2002 really helped the district grow," Kovash said.

Related Topics: MOORHEAD
Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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