Enrollment & Capacity
1. What are enrollment projections and what is the methodology used to develop them? Is there a formula the District uses?
Every fall, the District's demographers prepare five-year enrollment projections for Broward County Public Schools. The projections show the future enrollment trend at each school by giving the estimated number of students expected to be attending each school, for each year, over the next five years.
To project future students by grade for each school, a statistical Cohort Projection model uses an aging concept moving groups of students into the future and increases or decreases their numbers based upon past trends. Once initial projections are prepared, many checks are performed to determine if projections are reasonable. When preparing enrollment projections, the District demographers obtain the current certificate of occupancy information for all new and ongoing development from each municipal planning office. The District relies extensively on the cooperation and coordination with the municipalities.
2. Who prepares the official student enrollment and diversity projections?
Student enrollment projections provided by the District's demographers are the official demographic projections used in planning school attendance areas. Student demographic diversity is reported based on actual benchmark day enrollment and is not projected. For additional information see the enrollment projections webpage.
3. How often are enrollment projections reviewed and how accurate are they?Broward County Public School's (BCPS) primary projection tool is a geographically-based Cohort Survival model, which projects future students by grade. The Cohort Survival model is considered very reliable and is utilized by the Florida Department of Education in their student projections and the U.S. Census Bureau for their reports. The model uses an "aging" concept that moves a group, or cohort, of students into the future and increases or decreases their numbers according to past experience through history. The District’s student enrollment projections allow the District to plan to meet the needs of all students using the best information available at the time the projections are released with a high rate of accuracy. Enrollment projections are produced every fall after the benchmark day of school (Monday following Labor Day) for the following five years. Enrollment projections are then updated in April to reflect any boundary changes adopted by the School Board. This allows the District to plan for educational needs and facility use based on current conditions in the county.
4. Why does the District need to report enrollment on the benchmark days of the school year?
Reporting enrollment allows for continuous planning improvements to align services.
5. Why does the District use the Monday following the Labor Day holiday as the benchmark for enrollment and projections instead of the October 15th FTE?
Full TimeEquivalent (FTE) is a school budget projection for the upcoming year. There are several reasons why the benchmark daycount is used as the basis for enrollment planning in the District instead of the October 15th FTE. For instance, one FTE does not generally equal one student but is based on a numeric equation used to predict the total FTE in the second semester in February. For example:a student in October may equal one half of an FTE, ESE students are considered weighted FTE's and may count as more than one FTE, and fee-based students, Headstart and paid VPK prekindergarten students are not counted in FTE calculations. In addition, the factor used to calculate an FTE varies by school and by level. For example, the District average for high schools counts one student as 0.96 FTE. To plan school attendance areas for the upcoming year, a process which requires an inclusive community vetting process, enrollment projections must be completed immediately following the benchmark day of enrollment and schools potentially not meeting class size and/or school concurrency mandates should be identified before the school year begins. The October 15th FTE, a calculation produced by FLDOE, is not provided to the District until the latter part of November which would set the boundary review process back months jeopardizing the ability for schools to plan for potential boundary changes in the coming year. The District depends on long-range planning for enrollment in school facilities that requires five yearprojected enrollment. Because of the way FTE is calculated, it would not be accurate or timely to use it to predict whole student body enrollment beyond the next year.
For additional information on
schoolbudgets contact the Budget Office (754) 321-8330.
6. What are the definitions of under-enrolled and/or overcrowded schools?
School Board Policy 5000 (page 4) defines standards for overcrowded schools:
- After the benchmark day count of each school year, the Demographics and Enrollment Planning Department will evaluate the impact of actual student enrollment and determine under-enrolled and overcrowded schools.
- Schools shall be considered under-enrolled when enrollment is below 70% of permanent FISH capacity and are projected to remain under 70% of permanent FISH capacity for the following school year.
- Schools shall be considered neutral when enrollment is greater than or equal to 90% of permanent FISH capacity and less than or equal to 100% of gross FISH capacity and are projected to remain as such for the following school year.
- Schools shall be considered overcrowded when enrollment is greater than 100% gross FISH capacity and are projected to have an enrollment greater than 100% gross FISH capacity for the following school year.
- All schools shall strive to achieve student enrollments aligning with 100% of permanent FISH capacity enabling non-traditional classrooms to be utilized for the intended purpose.
- Available capacity at under-enrolled schools may be considered as an option to relieve overcrowded schools during the boundary process.
- Schools with an enrollment of less than 100% gross FISH capacity may be deemed overcrowded, based upon the criteria of class size reduction requirements, special programs or special circumstances.
7. Why is my school considered for boundary changes when we have enough capacity to support our enrollment?The State Plant Survey has restricted the District from building any additional student capacity; however, there are schools that have more or considerably less students enrolled than available school capacity. As a result, existing districtwide school capacity must be filled which may cause school boundary shifts.
8. Is enrollment capping an option to relieve overcrowding at schools?School Board Policy 5000 states that alternative enrollment options such as enrollment capping can be used temporarily to ease overcrowding until permanent capacity becomes available through the building of additional facilities on site, boundary changes, or new schools. Currently, the state will not allow the building of any new educational facilities in Broward County.
9. What is FISH?
FISH stands for Florida Inventory of School Houses. A FISH number is used to identify the capacity of a school, which is the number of students a school is designed to accommodate. For example, if an elementary school has a FISH capacity of 1,000, it is designed to accommodate 1,000 students. The Florida Department of Education designates and makes adjustments to FISH.
For additional information contact Facility Planning & Real Estate (754) 321-2160.
10. How is it possible for a school’s enrollment to be greater than its gross capacity?Schools can accommodate student enrollment above their total gross FISH capacity through the use of spaces which are not included in
FISH capacitysuch as media centers, theater auditoriums, athletic facilities, and resource rooms. The use of these non-traditional educational spaces along with strategic scheduling thereby reduces the number of students utilizing the actuallisted capacity of a school at any given time.
11. Where can we look at all school’s enrollment and capacity?
Broward County Schools Planning Tool for School Enrollment and Capacity can be accessed at: