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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fort Thomas - A Growing Community?

Recent news from the Enquirer about over crowding at Moyer is just the latest indication that population in Fort Thomas is not decreasing as census numbers would indicate.  The article mentions the rationale given by Fort Thomas Schools that younger families moving into the area and replacing older families is the cause for the over crowding.   There is some impact from out of district enrollments but the numbers indicated in the article is only a fraction of the total increase.  Taking a look at district wide enrollment numbers provides a further indication that this is not a Moyer only phenomenon

Years                 District Enrollment                    Growth Rate
08-09                             2,564                                     4.5%
07-08                             2,453                                     1.7%
06-07                             2,413                                     2.2%
05-06                             2,363                                     1.8%
04-05                             2,322

Even if the housing stock is not increasing (I'll cover this item in a minute) this indicates the average household size is increasing thus leading to increased population.  The article mentions the Ville Grande development and this is one of only a few recent developments that has increased the amount of housing in the city, a topic that I covered before on the blog.  Increased housing stock + larger average family sizes adds up to 1 conclusion - increasing population.

You may be asking yourself - 'why does this matter?' and the conclusion is funding.  Performing a quick google search indicates the following areas where funding could be impacted by census counts:
We are all familiar with the wealth penalty that Fort Thomas gets when it comes to education funding and the same penalty applies with other state funding but the Vision 2015 effort and other regional groups are working hard to change some of these formulas as the 3 population centers (Lexington, Louisville, and NKY) continue to be a larger share of state population.  Lets hope they are successful changing impressions about this component of the funding formula.

While regional efforts work on those changes Fort Thomas should focus on what they can impact and this is one area.  Generally the biggest areas of impact from the population component of funding formulas are general health and safety and it truly requires further work from the city to ensure Fort Thomas is getting their fair share.

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