FAQ- Grade Configuration Study

Since there was a process to provide options for Elementary Schools in the fall of 2016, why are we conducting this process again?

The Board of Education requested that staff develop a process to bring additional feedback from the community to the BOE on the options presented by the Facilities Planning Task Force.


What is enrollment?

Enrollment is simply the number of students we actually have enrolled and attending school or that we anticipate to be enrolled in the future. Past and current numbers are taken from our Oct student count that is done during the first week of Oct each year. This is a number that we report to the state each year and gives us a consistent benchmark to work from. We also take another official count in March which allows us to correct for any major fluctuation in enrollment.


What is capacity and how is it Calculated? 

Our calculations and DOE calculations The Georgia Department of Education has a method of computing capacity that includes all instructional units that are used in the building. An instructional unit (IU) is generally any space that is used for instruction. This includes spaces such as general classrooms, Career Technology Labs, Physical Education Spaces, Media Center, and Drama Practice Rooms. The DOE reports a range of IUs related to a range in the number of students enrolled in a school. It is important that we consider these numbers as we are planning and building. We work closely with the Department of Education to make sure we are building to their standards and providing what they recommend for our students. CSD Capacity Calculation Parameters Notes: Classrooms used for “specials” (music, art, PE) are not counted for purposes of capacity. All spaces that can be used for classrooms are counted, including science and computer labs, performance spaces, and gymnasiums.

Grade Span                         Room Capacity                         Utilization

Elementary (Grades K-3)             22                                          95%

Elementary (Grades 4-5)              24                                         95%

Middle School (Grades 6-8)        26                                         75%

High School (Grades 9-12)          28                                         80%

In order to better reflect how CSD actually uses our facilities, capacities were calculated for each school using commonly accepted standards regarding the number of students per room and how the rooms are utilized. This calculation is different from the DOE calculation because it reflects how we actually use our buildings. It is important for us to know this as we are planning for the future. It helps us make better decisions regarding construction, temporary classrooms, and staffing.


Why can’t we just take 30 students times the number of classrooms?

We can, however, this does not really reflect an accurate look at enrollment. Students don’t come in nice neat packages and often have programs that dictate different class sizes.


How will enrollment projections be used in this process?

We will use current projections to plan for space. Our goal is to meet 95% of our needs for the 2020-2021 school year.


How often are enrollment projections reviewed and conducted?

Enrollment projections are updated yearly. CSD has had a historically high accuracy rate with its projection efforts. As we move forward with the master planning and implementation process it is important that CSD staff continue to monitor enrollment and capacity. We also felt that we needed to bring all of this information in one place to develop more consistency in how it is recorded and shared. As we developed the document we have taken our overall projections and broken them down by school and by grade level. We have also show Department of Education and City Schools of Decatur capacity numbers. Since it is important for us to consider transportation in our planning we have organized our elementary numbers into north and south regions. Ultimately this chart will take the numbers and projections that we have been using in the planning process for years and consolidate the information into one document. It is important to note that enrollment projections are estimates of where we think numbers will be in the future. While we put a tremendous amount of work and science into these calculations, there are many variables that can affect these numbers throughout time. That is why you see changes in each of our updates. We look at these numbers to identify trends and approximate enrollment numbers.


Will Pre-K continue to be offered at their own facilities, or will there be an option to offer Pre-K at all elementary schools?

There is no plan to move Pre-K from the ECLC.


Will this grade configuration reduce the wait list College Heights?

This will not affect the enrollment numbers at the ECLC. It will continue to serve the same number of students.


Why does this process have such a short timeline?

To stay on track with our current construction timeline for a Fall 2019 opening, the Board will need to make a final decision in April.


Will operating costs be part of the data used for decision making?

Yes. We will provide estimated Operating costs to the steering committee and community.


Will this process include any boundary changes?

No. We will begin this process at a later date.


Why are we doing projections differently now?

We are using the same methodology as previous calculations. The difference is that we are attempting to drill down to a by class level and by school. This is necessary as we move into the next phase of planning for the district.


What does this mean for CSD? Will facility plans change?

Facility plans are always evolving to meet our needs. It has always been our stated intention to develop and implement the master plan in phases to allow the district to react to any changes we experience over time.  Since it is so difficult to predict the future it is critical that we allow ourselves the flexibility to make changes as we evolve.