OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – St. Landry Parish schools have faced dwindling numbers when it comes to school enrollment over recent years.
Now a projection by a hired demographer sees an even bigger threat to student numbers.
“We project in about five years it will be about 900 students lower,” says Demographer Mike Hefner.
Hefner was hired by the St. Landry Parish School Board to help address the reasons why enrollment numbers are dropping.
“My job here is to just give the best data I can so they can make good sound decisions as they move forward to developing their facility plan and then implementing that plan,” says Hefner.
His analysis is based on trends from 2013 through 2016.
Hefner says school leadership should help draw students back to St. Landry Parish.
“St. Landry has really been doing quite a bit here of late. Particularly with the new superintendent, I’m starting to feel more confident,” says Hefner.
The superintendent Hefner is referring to is Patrick Jenkins.
He says the study is helping build a road for the future.
“It plays three roles. One of which we’re looking at our strategic plan. Two…the demographic study itself and the third component of it is our facilities itself,” says Jenkins.
He understands the schools are facing an uphill climb.
“It’s a challenge but within all challenges there are opportunities,” says Jenkins.
Reviews will take place every year for five years to track enrollment numbers.