How ISD 709 in Duluth May Start Tackling Declining Enrollment

By KBJR News 1

How ISD 709 in Duluth May Start Tackling Declining Enrollment

February 9, 2011 Updated Feb 9, 2011 at 6:43 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Duluth public school district is facing growing competition and dwindling numbers.

Now the district is working to find ways to keep your kids in their schools.

District officials are taking a business-like approach.

They are looking at the school age kids and their parents as a market.

They are hoping to invest in a survey spending $10,000 to $15,000 to find out why parents take their kids out of ISD 709 and what keeps them there.

With more students and parents choosing charter, online or private schools, the district is looking to maintain and grow their enrollment to keep funding.

The administration found many parents listed a different school being closer to their work as a reason for leaving the district in their paperwork, but bullying, class size, and stability also made the list.

The administration hopes a comprehensive, reliable study will show hard evidence to back up potential investments.

"You might be in a position after the survey to say, 'yeah if we provided this service, we could attract more students, but the service will cost us this much money, so do we have the potential to get a good return on our investment," Katie Kaufman, the public relations officer for ISD 709, told school board members.

The study may show the district needs to spend more in areas such as bus routes, but the district says many investments may we well worth the money.

The district plans to use the research to help maintain, if not grow, its current student base.

Officials also hope to raise the public perception.

ISD 709 has lost about 3,000 students over the past decade, but most of those were due to the decline of school age children in Duluth.

In 2001 the district educated 80 percent of the total student population, now the number is down to 74 percent because students have more options.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike