Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - An updated enrollment projection report prepared for the Rochester School Board suggests the need for a fourth public high school may not materialize for many years.

The report, which is updated annually, projects overall enrollment in the Rochester Public Schools this fall will rise by about 150 students to around 18,500. Factoring in the projections margin of error, the number could be as high as almost 18,600, or as low as 18,300.

The 5-year projection calls for modest increases of fewer than 50 students each year through the 2022-2023 school year followed by modest decreases in enrollment in the final two years of the 5-year prediction. If that proves accurate, the number of students enrolled in the fall of 2024 would be about the same as the enrollment forecast for the start of the next school year. The number of students at the elementary and middle school levels is predicted to slowly decline over the next five years, while high school enrollment is predicted to grow by almost 250 students.

The long-range projections forecast slowly declining enrollment through 2029 although school officials have pointed out the accuracy of the longer-range predictions may not be all that reliable due to the number of variables involved.

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