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West Linn-Wilsonville School Board questions accuracy of student enrollment projections

The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board voted Monday, Nov. 6, on three nominations for the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) — one for the Board of Directors and two for the Legislative Policy Committee —  and continued to discuss which company they plan to use to collect student demographics moving forward.

While they did not come to a decision during the four-hour board meeting on who they will use to collect demographic data in the district, it was smooth sailing across the board when they voted on the OSBA nominations.

The board — which counts as one vote — moved to approve Liz Hartman, of Lake Oswego, as a member of the OSBA Board of Directors, and Rob Wagner, of Lake Oswego, and Ron Adams, of West Linn, for Legislative Policy Committee. All three nominees have some type of legislative background and a desire to advocate for the improvement of schools and student achievement.

While that might have been one of the more brief decisions Monday evening, the discussion surrounding demographics took a bit longer.

For the last 10 years, the district has used Davis Demographics for enrollment projections and mapping attendance boundaries — deciding what neighborhoods are in each school's boundary. And with the district showing continuous growth in enrollment, they need accurate projections to determine updates to the Long Range Plan to ensure facilities are available and are meeting student's and the district's needs.

As of Sept. 30, there are 9,902 students enrolled in the district — 134 more than last year and 377 more than 2015. With the addition of preschool, the total is more than 10,000 students.

"It kind of surprised me," said Director of Operations Tim Woodley, when he saw that between 2003 and 2017, enrollment at district schools has grown over 2,000 students.

This level in growth is why deciding whether to continue with Davis Demographics or go with a different company is so important.

Board member Dylan Hydes had several questions surrounding the accuracy of Davis Demographic's numbers. In recent years, he saw that one of their projections for the year were off by almost 200 students. He wanted to know why that's the case and whether that is an acceptable margin of error.

Superintendent Kathy Ludwig said there are a lot of factors that play into the numbers not being completely accurate, like transfer students coming into the district, so it was suggested that they bring in a representative from Davis Demographics to explain their numbers so the board can make a more informed decision.

"These numbers are going to be a part of many decisions you will make as a board," Ludwig said.

West Linn Tidings reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-636-1281 ext: 112.

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