Boyd projects
decreases/stability will continue in part because Porter County schools, and
schools across the state are losing students to online, private, and charter
schools due to the voucher program. “The state voucher programs have a
negative effect on DSC continuation rates. In 2017, $151,159,000 in state
tuition support went to 35,500 voucher students in Indiana. Just 274
vouchers went for students transferring from “F” rated schools, while the
rest went to private, parochial, and charter schools. DSC lost $876,436 in
state tuition support alone to private, parochial, and charter schools,”
according to Boyd’s report. The 2017 loss in support was due to 434 students
transferring out of Duneland, when only 276 transferred in for a net loss of
158 students.

Another reason for
Boyd’s projection that DSC will see a decrease of 324 students, or 5.5
percent between now and 2026 is that Porter County’s birth rate is
declining, and Porter County’s median age is older than the state
average--40.3 years--and the number of Porter County residents over 65 is
projected by other research to increase by 67.8 percent by 2035.

How closely do
Boyd’s projections match the last five years at Duneland? The data indicates
that the outcome he projects is mainly a continuation of what’s been
happening already at Duneland: stable to decreasing enrollment with little
fluctuation.

**
**Is Duneland
crowded?

Other factors,
including student-staff ratios and space utilization at each school,
however, can mean that some schools are more crowded or seem more crowded
than others.

Assistant
Superintendent for Operations and Human Resources Monte Moffet told the *
Chesterton Tribune* how many salaried, licensed staff members (teachers
and media specialists) were at each school at the start of the 2017-2018
school year. The following student-staff ratios are based on those numbers.
For simplicity, the ratios were rounded to the nearest whole number and
calculated without accounting for a handful of teachers who travel between
campuses for classes like band, orchestra, and foreign cultures.
Administrators are also not included.

Bailly Elementary,
18:1; Brummitt Elementary, 17:1; Jackson Elementary, 19:1; Liberty
Elementary 17:1; Yost Elementary, 16:1; Liberty Intermediate, 18:1;
Westchester Intermediate, 21:1; CMS, 21:1; CHS, 20:1.

Though Jackson
Elementary has the lowest enrollment, it has the most students per licensed
staff member among the elementary schools because it also has the fewest
licensed staff members. Westchester Intermediate, despite having roughly
half as many students, is on par with CMS in terms of the student-staff
ratio.

As for school
counselors, each elementary or intermediate school has one. CMS has two
counselors for 974 students, and CHS has six counselors for 2,066 students.

Boyd reported on
space utilization in his study to gauge how much room Duneland has left for
growth. Boyd provides two numbers for capacity: actual capacity and
functional capacity. For the purpose of the study, actual capacity
represents the number of students that can potentially fit in each school,
assuming 25 students should be the maximum per classroom for every available
classroom space, and functional capacity is based on how instructional space
is currently used. Boyd used these figures to calculate the percentage of
instructional space available and being used at each school, essentially a
measure of how much room there is for a growing student population.

According to Boyd,
“Taken together the nine facilities are being utilized at 97.4 percent of
their functional capacity and 78.5% of their actual capacity.” Boyd’s
projections indicate that if Duneland’s enrollment remains stable or
decreases, its existing facilities will be adequate for at least 20 years.
Boyd’s definition of adequate for 20 years of functional life is, “Facility
is generally structurally sound, well-maintained, and contains spaces which
are appropriate for a modern educational program. It’s functional student
capacity provides for effective and efficient educational programming.” Boyd
adds that “The DSC facilities are exceptionally well-maintained.”

Moffet said, from a
practical standpoint, the functional capacity is more about staff and actual
capacity is more about square footage. For example, having 50 classrooms
doesn’t automatically improve functional capacity if there are only 38
teachers to use them. However, Moffet said the actual capacity of each
school indicates Duneland isn’t in danger of overcrowding its facilities and
needing more space soon. “It’s not about having a new building. We have the
space to have that many students,” Moffet said.

When Moffet said
“that many students,” he meant 7,480 students--which is the combined actual
capacity of the nine Duneland Schools, according to Boyd’s report. The
combined functional capacity of the nine schools is 6,029.

As both numbers are
well above the current ADM, Moffet said, “Are we overcrowding our schools?
The answer is no because our capacity is much greater than our enrollment.”

When Boyd went
before the Board, he made a note that there are classroom spaces in every
school not being utilized for instruction, and those can be used before
physical expansion of the facilities would be required. Moffet in turn said
that the rooms Boyd labels as “resource room,” “teacher workroom,” and
“unassigned,” are spaces that can be converted for classroom use, as well as
some space used for storage.

**
**School-by-School

For 21 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity of Bailly Elementary is 442
students. The actual capacity is 525. Boyd wrote, “However, some six
classroom areas could be used to accommodate a regular classroom group
without any negative impact on facility utilization and effective and
efficient educational programming.”

For 25 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity of Brummitt Elementary is 323
students. The actual capacity is 375. Again, Boyd says six classroom areas
could be used for more instructional space without interfering in students’
education.

For 13 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity of Jackson Elementary is 265
students. The actual capacity is 325. Boyd says 11 classroom areas could be
used for more instructional space without interfering in students’
education.

For 24 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity of Liberty Elementary is 480
students. The actual capacity is 600. Boyd said nine classroom areas can be
used for more instructional space without interfering in students’
education.

For 18 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity of Yost Elementary is 359
students. The actual capacity is 450. Boyd said three classroom areas could
be used for more instructional space without interfering in students’
education.

For 16 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity and actual capacity of Liberty
Intermediate are the same: 400 students. Boyd says “several” classroom areas
could be used for more instructional space without interfering in students’
education. in addition to the general purpose classrooms, there are three
rooms Boyd labeled “workroom” and two Boyd labeled “unassigned.”

For 21 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity and actual capacity of
Westchester Intermediate are the same: 525 students. Again, Boyd said
“several” classroom areas could be converted without interfering in
students’ education. In addition to the general classrooms, there are two
rooms Boyd labeled “unassigned.”

For 61 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity of CMS is 1,225 students. The
actual capacity is 1,600. Based on enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year,
Boyd said CMS is operating at only 58.9 percent of its actual capacity.

For 112 general
purpose classrooms, the functional capacity of CHS is 2,010 students. The
actual capacity is 2,680. Based on 2017-2018 enrollment, Boyd said CHS is
being used at 80.7 percent of its actual capacity.