Since 2009, there has been a noticeable decline in Wellesley’s elementary school population.The recent peak elementary enrollment of 2,481 students occurred in 2008-09; the enrollment for the 2017-18 school year was 2,209 students. This is a decline of 272 students or 11% in less than ten years. The School Department updates its enrollment projections in October of every year. In October 2017, elementary enrollment was projected to continue to decline with projections of 2,156 for 2018-19, 2,066 for 2019-20 and 2,010 for 2020-21.
Outside consultants have confirmed this trend. To supplement the School Department’s annual enrollment projections, the Town contracted with the nationally recognized demographic consulting firm, Cropper GIS, in March 2013 to develop forecasts based on Wellesley’s demographics, historical trends and real estate activity. Additionally, under the auspices of the HHU Master Planning Committee, the Town hired FutureThink in 2016, and that firm’s work further confirmed the observed downward trend.
The School Department and the SC are closely watching residential construction, including 40B housing, but based on continued demographic trends in Wellesley and across Massachusetts, they do not anticipate that that residential construction will substantively impact enrollment projections. Both the Cropper and the FutureThink analyses evaluated real estate trends and contemplated the possibility of future increased housing density and its likely effect on the school population. Click here to see Cropper Report and FutureThink Report