School Planning Case Study

Situation

A large metro area diocese operated 52 elementary schools in an eight county market. Schools were located in inner city, urban, suburban and rural sub-markets. The Bishop’s office and advisors recognized that declining population, marriage and birth rates, and declining parish congregations have had a negative impact on enrollment.  Further, increasing operating costs, limits to tuition increases, older buildings and unsustainable projected economics required a deep analysis of the future of the school system.  The diocese’s education management needed to understand the options for the system near term (within 12 -18 months) and longer term (five to ten years).  They sought answers to several key questions:

  • How many schools are needed to serve the diocese?
  • Where should each school be located?
  • Should some schools be consolidated?
  • Where should investments be made?
  • How can these decisions positively impact the economics of the network?
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Analysis

We performed a detailed examination of the school system, concentrating on the macro-level, total network, as well as individual school enrollment areas.  It included current and projected demographics, per grade demographics in the market, women in child bearing ages, economic conditions, household life cycle/generation segmentation analysis, competitive schools analysis, school size, capacity and physical conditions and enrollment area overlap. Individual school projections were produced and a strategy for each school.  

Analysis

We performed a detailed examination of the school system, concentrating on the macro-level, total network, as well as individual school enrollment areas.  It included current and projected demographics, per grade demographics in the market, women in child bearing ages, economic conditions, household life cycle/generation segmentation analysis, competitive schools analysis, school size, capacity and physical conditions and enrollment area overlap. Individual school projections were produced and a strategy for each school.  

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Insights

Results of the analysis led to school closures, consolidations, targeted capital expenditures, reduction in operating expenses, individual school marketing programs and increase in overall school enrollment.

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