Projection: School Population to Grow by 8% by 2022

Students, who participate in free or reduced lunch, trending upward, according to a consultant; presently four of every 10 students qualify for free or reduced lunch in Framingham Public Schools.

Over the next decade, the Framingham Public Schools population is expected to see an estimated 8 percent increase.

Data from the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) showed Framingham with a current enrollment of 8,235 students and projected 8,891 students in 2022. The NESDEC presented its findings to the Framingham School Committee Monday night.

Over the next two years, the number of additional students in the system will rise about 30 a year. But in 2015 estimates showed a jump by 50 students over 2014 and in 2016 the projections show an increase of 110 students system-wide.

Consultant Donald G. Kennedy of NESDEC, said the the strain of more students in the schools will be first felt in the elementary schools starting in 2015.

The Framingham School Committee has requested NESDEC show projections of students who would be classified as special education, free and reduced lunch and Limited English Proficiency (English Language Learners) students.

The only sub-population that showed any discernible upward trend were students who participated in free or reduced lunch, said Kennedy.

“Those numbers are trending upward,” said Kennedy, who added Massachusetts  changed its reporting system in 2009 and that year there was a spike in reported participants.

Last year (2011-12) 2,709 students received free lunch and another 695 were able to qualify for reduced prices for lunch. There were 7,936 students enrolled in grades K-12 in 2011-12.

Presently, about four out of every 10 students are qualifying for free and reduced lunch.

The percentage of students participating in special education programs remained steady at 19 percent to 21 percent since 2005, said Kennedy. The state average is 17 percent, but Kennedy was quick to point out  Framingham has the resources to accept special education students from other districts and communities with demographics similar to Framingham’s were also reporting 19 percent to 21 percent SPED participation.

While actual numbers are increasing slightly, the percent of Limited English Proficiency students stayed constant over the years, said Kennedy.

“These sub-populations should remain stable,” said Kennedy.

Monday, Oct. 29 Kennedy will discuss how much space will be needed system-wide in the Framingham Public Schools to absorb the growing student population to the Framingham School Committee.


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