Mahanoy Area School District
At a Glance:
- Schuylkill County, PA
- K-12 Enrollment
- Low Income
Frontline Solutions Used:
- Frontline Analytics, powered by Forecast5
- Comparative Analytics, formerly 5Sight
Mahanoy Area Schools form a small K-12 district in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Their many-faceted mission is to provide diverse practical educational opportunities for all students. They strive to enhance each student’s self-esteem and help them develop individual talents and interests. Through collaboration with parents and the community, all students are learning to become productive citizens in an ever-changing, global society.
Over the past ten years, the demographics in the community have changed quite a bit. The district’s business administrator, Jack Hurst, noticed that enrollment numbers had fluctuated in unexpected ways and wanted to identify the source of the shifts in enrollment, a key metric for the district.
From Jack’s perspective, enrollment is at the heart of most decisions made at the district level, whether they are financial, programmatic, support, or in other areas of need. It seemed that enrollment numbers were staying fairly steady across the district. Class sizes had only declined by one student per year over the last decade but increases in special education expenses and charter tuition costs were noticeable. A closer look might reveal if demographic shifts in conjunction with pandemic-related enrollment loss should impact the district’s upcoming budget decisions and fiscal priorities.
We wanted to take a deeper look into the demographic shifts within the student population and ensure the district was prioritizing spending to align with current student needs rather than perceived needs.”
A Frontline solution, Comparative Analytics powered by Forecast5, provided some very clear student enrollment data that would shine a light on significant changes in the Mahanoy Area School District. While class sizes had remained relatively stable, the ethnicity and academic needs of students in those classrooms had changed.
Increases in the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) correspond to more diverse student needs and additional resources to support this expanding student population. Changes in the number of students eligible for special education services and the increasing number of special education students identified as category three have resulted in a $1.2 million increase in spending over the last decade.
In addition, the growing number of low-income families meant support services needed to be evaluated to ensure the district was able to provide appropriate resources for these children. Like most school districts in the county, charter school tuition more than doubled from $476,386 to $1,150,726 over the last several years, adding to the burgeoning expenditure budget.
During that time period, the district relied heavily on state and federal dollars to aid in funding the costs linked to these ethnic and need-based demographic shifts.
- 2022 average class size similar to 2010 average
- Significant change in ethnicity: 90% white in 2012, 64% in 2022
- Considerable growth in ELL population: from 7 students in 2014 to 62 in 2022
- Special Education population grew 17% since 2014
- Low-income population grew by 14% since 2014
- Little to no change in total property assessment since 2011
- Consistent number of live births over the past 11 years
- Ratio of enrollment to live births dipped for a few years but rebounded to the average for 2022
- Enrollment projections reflect little or no change in total enrollment
Data-driven decision making is an integral part of school business management. Comparative Analytics is an excellent tool to facilitate this process. Our board loves the graphics/charts that can be built. I believe seeing something visually can sometimes make more of an impact than just figures. In addition, the staff at Frontline provide superior support and go above and beyond to assist you.”
Comparative Analytics gave Mahanoy Area School District insights into data that would have been challenging to quantify on their own. The fresh perspectives allowed Jack Hurst to identify the demographic shifts in the student population and associate the increased expenses directly with these shifts. The tool allowed him to create a data and analytics-driven communication strategy for key district stakeholders, ensuring that spending decisions and priorities continue to align with student needs.
The data within the Comparative Analytics tool is available in various state databases. However, it’s time-consuming and tedious to gather the data needed, make it presentable and compare it against peers.
Comparative Analytics takes state-provided datasets and presents the data in easily consumable charts and graphs. All the district needs to do is filter the data and pick other districts they want to compare against. It is really that easy. It also allows them to span multiple channels of data such as enrollment or financial data all in a one-stop shop.”
About Frontline Education
Frontline Education is a leading provider of school administration software, connecting solutions for student and special programs, business operations and human capital management with powerful analytics to empower educators. Frontline partners with school systems to deliver tools, data and insights that support greater efficiency and productivity, enabling school leaders to spend more time and resources executing strategies that drive educator effectiveness, student success and district excellence.
Frontline’s broad portfolio includes solutions for proactive recruiting and hiring, absence and time management, professional growth, student information systems, special education, special programs, Medicaid reimbursement, school health management, inventory control and asset management, payroll, benefits and financial management, and analytics solutions that help district leaders tap into their data to make more informed decisions for the benefit of their students and communities. Over 10,000 clients representing millions of educators, administrators and support personnel have partnered with Frontline Education in their efforts to develop the next generation of learners.
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Learn more at www.FrontlineEducation.com