a decade of 17% growth with a similar projection to 2026-27...
In 2007 -- when the previous Master Plan was approved -- Winchester was a district of just under 4000 students. By last school year, we’d seen over 17% growth in our PreK thru 12 population -- over a period when state-wide enrollment continued to fall. By 2016-17, we were nearly double the size of the average Massachusetts school district.
Over the coming decade, our new Master Plan projects continued growth of 16% -- very similar to the previous period. While this rate of growth is certainly familiar to us, it represents a sustained double-digit phenomenon that sets us apart from most other Massachusetts districts….
McCall Middle School’s...
share of this substantial growth is projected to be 175 students by year ten, however the vast majority of this growth is expected by years 4 through 5, or 2020 through 2021. Taking into account today’s shortfall of two instructional spaces this growth drives a need for 8 additional classrooms.
Based on discussions with other town boards and committees this summer, the School Committee sought an independent, expert third-party review and “second opinion” of the 2017 enrollment forecast. The UMass Donahue Institute for Economic & Public Policy Research (UMDI) reviewed the enrollment projections in light of regional population growth, job sector growth, personal wage growth and trends in transportation, housing demand and availability.
School enrollment in Winchester is expanding...
in response to the underlying dynamics of population and job growth in MA and the Boston area.
The Commonwealth has become the fastest growing state in the Northeast, and the growth spurt is focused in Boston and its metropolitan region. With a population growth rate above 6%, Winchester is growing at a faster pace than either MA or the US.
Most Winchester workers commute to jobs out of town. Jobs growth in places where Winchester residents work – Boston, Woburn, Cambridge, Somerville, Burlington, & Waltham – has been increasing faster than the nation and other parts of Massachusetts since the end of the Great Recession.
Nearby job opportunities in finance, technology, & healthcare, within commuting distance from Winchester, are adding to the town’s appeal for highly educated workers, further stimulating population growth.
The Donahue Institiute also looked at Winchester residential development trends, including tear-downs converted to duplexes or to larger, multi-bedroom homes, as well as active 40B multi-unit projects, and found the town’s development pipeline further supports a scenario of future growth. In sum, UMDI’s second opinion found the Master Plan’s enrollment projections to be on track with regional demographic & economic trends.
The Donohue Institute's findings were "consistent with the Master Plan forecast of 473 students by 2026 [distributed across elementary, McCall and Winchester High School]".