On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the La Porte Community School Corporation convened a special school board meeting to discuss data surrounding declining enrollment, future enrollment forecasts, and the financial impact on the district.

Amid concerns over decreased numbers, district leadership sought expertise from McKibben Demographic Research, LLC to give them insight into what enrollment will likely look like over the next decade and beyond. Dr. Jerome McKibben, a leading demographer, presented their forecast to the school board members. His analysis provided a view of the demographic shifts affecting school enrollment, highlighting the need for proactive measures to align resources with anticipated demographic trends.

The meeting also featured presentations from Dr. Ben Tonagel and Dr. Jane Larson who highlighted a continuous decline in student numbers over the past 16 years, compounded by a report on building capacity that revealed schools are operating significantly below their maximum capacity.

Dr. Peggy Hinckley explained that just as working families have to adjust their spending if their work hours are reduced, the school corporation must do the same. Loss of enrollment for the LPCSC is like a reduction of work hours. “Improving the health of our cash balance will require proactive measures. As we look ahead, sustainability will hinge on our ability to respond effectively to the evolving needs of education, ensuring that financial resources are aligned with our enrollment realities,” stated Dr. Hinckley.

Adding to the discussion, Dr. Greg Hunt presented an analysis of the district’s financial position, focusing on the deteriorating health of the cash balance fund since 2019. While the district stands with a cash reserve, the report underscored the necessity for strategic interventions to ensure long-term financial sustainability.

In a statement to the community, the board reassured stakeholders of their dedication to fostering a culture of trust and stability. “The work ahead of us will be challenging, but it is very doable. We have a special community in La Porte that rallies around kids. We have a staff of amazing, dedicated professionals that work incredibly hard for the kids they love. As a board, we’re here to pay attention, make necessary changes, and do the right thing by our kids and families. We feel fortunate to serve this community and do not take that responsibility lightly.”

Additional information presented at the meeting can be found on the business page of the LPCSC website.