Lexington’s town budget has been challenged by sharply increasing school enrollments since 2000. Due to the reputation of the school system, enrollment is projected to increase for the foreseeable future.
Enrollment has exceeded capacity at the elementary, middle, and secondary school levels. The town has responded with projects at Estabrook, Clarke, and Diamond. In December 2017, voters will weigh in on the latest projects at Hastings and a new preschool. In the near future, a new or remodeled Lexington High School will be necessary. If elementary enrollment continues to increase as additional land is developed, a seventh elementary school is also expected.
Lexington has many more pupils than comparable sized communities. This scatter chart shows Lexington relative to peer communities.
If this view is truncated, click here to open in Tableau Public.
Balancing budgets will require active efforts to tackle increasing enrollment, as well as creating a systemwide master plan based on a credible capacity target.
As Lexington approaches 8000 students, a series of reports examined the 250 METCO students which are brought into Lexington without substantial cost reimbursement. These students were said to fill “empty seats” when school enrollment was declining, but this is no longer the case. Read these reports to learn how METCO costs Lexington taxpayers $5.6 million/year and why Lexington’s participation in METCO violates the state law which enabled it.