Recent Growth Patterns

Brian Wheeler has put together a clever graph of Albemarle growth rates, looking at building permits for single-family homes. He’s found that 51% of new permits in the past two years have been for rural areas. Among non-rural areas, Crozet leads at 20%, followed by the Glenmore area at 10%. The whole of the northern growth areas combined yields just 10%, presumably because the construction there is sufficiently urban that single-family homes aren’t being built much.

4 Responses to “Recent Growth Patterns”

  • This would be more interesting if single family building permits had a correlation to increasing student population, which it does not. I have seen this data used to show why schools need to be built. The lack of growth of Albemarle student population is the “dirty little secret” of the school board.

    While this data does relate to building trends its use in terms of schools has, up to now, been limited. There are tens of thousands of homes that can be built today by-right. The majority are in the rural area. Hopefully they will be in the growth areas.

  • If the School Board in Albemarle has any secrets I am all ears! In fact, we have discussed at length, and with the Board of Supervisors, about the enrollment projections. Our budget and staffing is driven by actual enrollment data.

    You will be interested to know that our February 2005 enrollment projections predicted growth of only 20 TOTAL students over the next 5 years. I posted that projection on my constituent website here:

    However, this year’s enrollment data indicates that at September 6, 2005 we were +60 students over projection. So in other words, at least for this one school year, we grew by 3 times the rate we had expected for the next 5 years together. We keep a close eye on this throughout the year. Also, another issue that is hard to predict, even when we are not growing rapidly, is where people will choose to live. While total enrollment may be relatively flat year to year, families can switch school districts and make an impact on capacity at a particular school. Brian Wheeler

  • Brian after years of reading about school budget I have never seen what you just written mentioned anywhere else. Are you saying that when one puts together the last five years with the next five years Albemarle will have a yearly growth rate of about 1/10th of a percent?

  • If you look at the document I linked, you will see in the lower right hand corner the number 20. That represents the enrollment increase projected to occur between 2004-05 and 2009-10 school years. That data is from February 2005 and was presented to the School Board. Now look at the column for 2005 which totals 12,373. That was our projection for the current 2005-06 school year enrollment. We came in 60 students over that amount at 12,433 as of September 6, 2005. So my point is, we projected we were going to grow 20 students over 5 years and have already grown by 60 in the first year of that projection.

    When we start preparing the 2006-07 budget, we will use as our guide the September 30, 2005 enrollment number. I don’t have that snapshot handy, but it will be close to 12,433. That gets us through the budget process. However, if we get many fewer students than we expect in the division or a at a school once the school year starts, we don’t just spend the money budgeted. It only gets allocated for staffing based on the ACTUAL enrollment in the given school year. I hope that explanation helps. Brian Wheeler

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