MSBA Study and Design Methodology

See the Nov. 20, 2015 letter from MSBA to Amherst about enrollment predictions and options for various grade configurations (PDF).

From: Brian Kelley <>
Date: March 29, 2017 at 10:09:54 AM EDT
To: Vira Douangmany <>
Cc: Siobhan Tolman <>, Donna Paul <>
Subject: RE: Wildwood School Building Project

Hi Vira,

I attached the most recent letter from the MSBA to Amherst regarding the enrollment for the Wildwood Elementary School project. Also, the following is an explanation of the enrollment methodology used by the MSBA:

MSBA Study and Design Enrollment Methodology


The Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) works with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient schools across Massachusetts.  A critical early component in achieving these objectives begins with an appropriate design enrollment that positions the District to efficiently meet space capacity needs throughout future enrollment variations.  The MSBA then works with each district and its designer to aggressively pursue strategies to create right-sized facilities that avoid unnecessary building area resulting in buildings that are more affordable to construct and less costly to operate and maintain.  The MSBA, with the assistance of its consultant, developed a data driven enrollment projection methodology based on the modified grade-to-grade cohort survival methodology (“enrollment methodology”).

During Eligibility Period the district completes an enrollment questionnaire, educational profile, and meets with staff to discuss the potential grade configurations and local issues that may impact school enrollments for the proposed project.  Based on submitted information the MSBA generates a baseline enrollment projection using its enrollment methodology and meets with the district to discuss.

The MSBA’s enrollment methodology generates a baseline enrollment projection using historic enrollment data (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education), birth data (Massachusetts Department of Public Health), female population data (US Census Bureau) and female population projections (University of Massachusetts’s Donahue Institute, “UMDI”) as follows:

  • Birth and female population data are used to calculate fertility rates;
  • Fertility rates are applied to actual and projected female populations;
  • Birth data and Kindergarten enrollment data is used to calculate an average birth-to-kindergarten (“B-K”) ratio;
  • The B-K ratio is applied to actual and projected births to generate Kindergarten enrollments;
  • Historic enrollment data is used to calculate average grade-to-grade survival ratios (the proportion of students enrolled in one grade and school year to the number of students enrolled in the next grade and school year) to project the number of students in each grade;
  • Grade-to-grade survival ratios are applied to actual and projected student enrollments to generate grade 1-12 enrollment projections; and
  • The baseline enrollment is calculated using the 10-year average of projected enrollments for the grades to be considered in the proposed feasibility study.

 All the best,


Brian P. Kelley
Associate General Counsel
Massachusetts School Building Authority