Stanly County School Board approves study to help forecast student population over the next decade

Published 11:21 am Thursday, December 15, 2022

With new families moving into Stanly County each year, there continues to be discussions within the school system about how best to accommodate for such growth and make sure schools have enough capacity.

Elementary schools have been facing choices in recent years to find enough classrooms to meet smaller state-mandated K-3 class sizes, which went into effect a few years ago.

During a Stanly County Schools Board of Education work session on Tuesday, board members talked about ways to alleviate capacity issues for certain elementary schools, especially Locust, Endy and Stanfield, bringing up the possibility of eventually having to expand certain schools or even build new ones.

To better understand how projected growth in future years will likely impact the school system, the board approved a scope of services study with Michael Miller, founder of Numerix Solutions, which provides data-driven planning solutions for schools, according to its website.

Miller, who has been involved with the application of decision science to school planning for almost 15 years, was former program manager for the Operations Research and Education Laboratory at North Carolina State University. His team has worked with dozens of public school districts of all sizes in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, including districts in Durham County, Wake County and Johnston County.

The study, which should last five to six months, “will consider historic demographic trends along with county-wide residential development data” to create a 2022-23 Land Use Study and a 10-year Membership Forecast report, according to the proposed scope of services document, a copy of which was provided to The Stanly News & Press.

Miller will collect from the school system current school capacity data, the number of active mobile units per school and Average Daily Membership to create a geo-database that will provide demographic analysis and residential growth potential, which will help the district with future school planning.

“He’s going to do every level and every age group in the county,” said Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis, who has previous experience with Miller during his time with Durham Public Schools, noting it will be a “comprehensive” study.

The total project cost, which includes at least two on-site visits and 108 hours to complete the tasks, will not exceed $20,000.

The plan is for Miller to begin the study next month.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

email author More by Chris