The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on the outcome of a discussion at last week's school board meeting, in which board members agreed to the expense.
According to the presentation by Chief Financial Officer Tim Rooney, the mandate that the contractor would have would be to "determine maximum and functional capacities for each of the District’s attendance centers" and "provide a comprehensive analysis of enrollment patterns to create five-year projections of student enrollment by attendance center."
He told board members, according to the newspaper, that Rockwood has not had a complete enrollment study of the district in 20 years. The district's 29 school take in about 22,000 students.
The district is already negotiating with two firms — RSP and Future Think, which have bid for the contract and would charge less than the $52,000 that has been approved.
Rooney's presentation cited five reasons why the study was important to the district:
- Instruction can be more effective if students are taught in an appropriate setting. In overcrowded buildings some spaces, intended for other purposes, have been turned into classrooms.
- If full-day kindergarten is offered without cost in the future, the report will help determine the facility needs.
- Before considering the addition of classroom space to a building, it is important to know if there is capacity in a neighboring school.
- The instructional delivery model has changed over time and there are standards to identify the appropriate size of instructional space. Although this engagement was not targeted to determine necessary building modifications, the information in this report, in conjunction with these standards, will help identify deficiencies in instructional space, and other support services including nursing, counseling, special education, etc.
- The District spends nearly 85 percent of its operating budget on salaries and benefits. The allocation of staff to each building is based on enrollment.