Trying to predict the district’s enrollment the last ten years has been an extremely daunting task. From 2001 until 2006 Mason ISD experienced numerous ups and downs in terms of total enrollment. There was basically no trend available to help predict future declines or increases in enrollment. Our neighbors didn’t provide much help either except in areas to the west who were trending downward until the recent slight oil boom. I am including a graph that shows our enrollment numbers since 2001 and you will see that not until the past three years have we had any data that would support increased enrollment planning.
The next step in the process is to conduct a professional demographic study that will help predict whether this recent increase is simply temporary or more of a long term trend that will require more urgency. A long term building project could quickly become a short term issue should our recent numbers hold true. The down side of such an in depth study is that Mason ISD conducted such a study in the late nineties and the trends that were predicted never came to fruition. Many of the building projects that were completed in the late nineties were based on just such a study.
City and County statistical data point to a slight increase in population; however the majority of new people that those numbers represent are people who do not have children. Fredericksburg saw the same issue occur around Gillespie County over the past twenty years. We were really not concerned about space issues in our long term planning as much as the age and functionality of our current facilities.
This year’s growth has occurred primarily in the Jr. High as the enrollment on that campus went from 188 students at the end of last year to a total of 212 students this week. The High School and Elementary also experienced an enrollment growth but not that dramatic. Twenty four new students at Mason Jr. High caused us to take some fresh looks at our schedule in fifth and eighth grades. Sixth grade class sizes have become a concern as they now have twenty-six in each class. We anticipated an increase in the Jr. High enrollment due to the fact that our largest grade in the district is the fifth grade class, however we didn’t see an increase of eight students moving in to the district in eighth grade.