When Plano ISD budgets for each upcoming school year, the process is informed by an array of informed estimates: How many students are going to return from last year? How large is the incoming kindergarten class? How do enrollment numbers affect the funding the district receives from the state?
When those estimates are incorrect, it can throw the budget off by millions of dollars, as was the case this school year when hundreds fewer students enrolled in Plano ISD schools than district staff had expected.
Demographic studies suggested the district could expect 188 fewer students to enroll this year than in 2017-18, a continuation of an ongoing trend in which the kindergarten classes coming in are smaller than graduating classes going out. However, the actual decline was four-and-a-half times as large, according to a district report presented in October to trustees.
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