The Regional School Unit 20 Board of Directors learned about the current enrollments at each of the district schools Tuesday night, Sept. 14, and also examined what the district’s student numbers might look like a decade from now.

The discussions on this year’s enrollments came as part of reports from principals regarding the opening of school, and an agenda item under new business led the board into a broader conversation about what the future might hold for the district.

RSU 20 presently serves a total of 2,569 students, said Superintendent Bruce Mailloux. According to an enrollment projection study that was completed by Planning Decisions Inc. of South Portland, the student population is expected to remain relatively steady, with a projected loss of 159 students by 2020.

“The population is changing a little bit, but not significantly,” said Mailloux. The projected loss amounts to a 6.2 percent decrease.

Mailloux added that the same research and development firm provided an enrollment projection study for the former School Administrative District 34, and that those figures proved to be “fairly accurate.”

Mailloux said one part of the study that he found to be of particular interest concerned the relationship between a rise in residential dwellings within a school district and student enrollments. Mailloux said traditionally, one new home would likely bring at least one additional student into the district. According to the latest enrollment projection study, however, that does not appear to be the case these days.

“It’s a sign of the times,” said Mailloux.

Board member Gerald Reid asked how the numbers in RSU 20 compared to other areas around the state.

Mailloux said most places in the state appeared to be on a similar track to RSU 20’s, with the exceptions of Downeast and northern Maine, which are seeing enrollments “declining tremendously.”

Board member Joyce Chamberlain noted that a decline of 150 students is equivalent to two small grade schools in the district.

Closing one or more of the district’s smaller elementary schools was discussed during the budget building process last year, with Stockton Springs Elementary, Frankfort Elementary and the Nickerson School in Swanville being considered for possible closure. In the end, the board opted not to include a school closure as part of the budget cuts for the current fiscal year.

Board member Peggy Andrews asked Mailloux if he could provide the board with the enrollment projections for the previous 10 years, and Mailloux agreed to do that.

In a telephone interview following Tuesday night’s meeting, Mailloux said that task may take some time, as the enrollment projections for the previous 10 years reflected student numbers for the former SADs 34 and 56. He said he knew the enrollments for SAD 34 had decreased “considerably” over the previous 10 years, but until he sorted out the old enrollment numbers, he would not have an exact figure.

“It’s just a matter of cranking out the numbers, but the information’s all there,” he said.

Mailloux also gave the board an update on the state’s effort to collect social security numbers of district students. The district is mandated by state law to request that information from parents, but parents are not required to provide the information should they opt out. The state intends to use the social security numbers to establish a statewide system to track Maine students throughout their school years and into the workplace.

Mailloux said 149 families had complied with the request, which accounts for about 5 percent of the entire district’s student population.

“I don’t anticipate a lot more coming in,” Mailloux said.

Mailloux said that when the board learned of the state law that required schools to request that information, directors decided to comply with the law and to take no position on it, one way or the other.

“We just requested the information and gave people the facts,” he said.

In other news, Mailloux announced that the district would join Waldo County General Hospital in an effort to offer flu shots for area students. The shots will be available Saturday, Oct. 16, at Troy Howard Middle School from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.