Midway Independent School District is set to conduct a $20,000 demographic study that will help it evaluate potential growth in the next five years.

Superintendent George Kazanas announced the plan at Wednesday night’s school board meeting, following the results of a districtwide survey released in July about where residents would like to see the McLennan County’s second largest school district go next.

Of 1,400 survey respondents, 45 percent stated they believed the district was overcrowded and suggested a new high school, middle school, ninth-grade center or career and technology campus to address the issue.

The vast majority, 93 percent, said Midway ISD provides adequate money for facilities, equipment and programs.

Board President Pete Rusek said Wednesday that the district’s various facilities still have room for growth. The study will help evaluate its needs going forward, Rusek said.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or mathematician to figure that we’re not out of room yet … The question is always how much growth are you going to have, so you have some idea of when you’re going to run out of room,” he said.

If the district ends up reaching the conclusion that a new school is needed, it will have to look at how to pay for its construction, which is typically done by calling a bond.

The district is nowhere near deciding whether a new facility is needed or calling for a bond at this point, Rusek emphasized.

“We’ve done demographic studies fairly regularly in the past. I don’t see this being anything out of the ordinary of what we’ve done,” Rusek said.

Midway ISD’s last demographic study was done about five years ago, and again five years before that, which is about the normal life expectancy for accurate data projections, Midway ISD spokesperson Traci Marlin said.

“The crystal ball the demographers use is pretty good two to three years out and gets cloudier the further you get away,” Rusek said. “They’re just that, projections.”

The study, which will cost about as half as much as the last one, will include enrollment forecasts, housing research, demographic analysis and long range facility planning, Marlin said.

Housing research in the study will probably be the most valuable component, she said.

The demographers will interview developers, identify specific housing developments by location, size and growth pace, provide calculations on expected enrollment from new housing, and identify where the most active pockets of growth will be, she said.

“It’s important that we balance community perception with current capacity facts of where we are now, and add in accurate projections of what the future holds,” Marlin said.

Midway ISD had almost 7,900 students last year, and the study is expected to be completed in the spring, Marlin said.

Shelly Conlon has covered K-12 education for the Tribune-Herald since July 2016. Prior to the Tribune-Herald, she was the managing editor for the Waxahachie Daily Light, and an intern for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

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