AUSTIN (KXAN) — New enrollment projections are out for the Austin Independent School District. A report showing the district’s 10-year outlook shows the student population will decline annually for the next 10 years by 6,100 students, which is a 7.4 percent decrease. Despite an overall population decline, the northwest and southeast areas of the district will see significant increases in the elementary school population.
“Across the district we’re losing students. But in southeast Austin, which is part of my district, we’re here at Blazier Elementary School, which is a good example. This school was built to accomodate 560 kids. The enrollment today is 1100. This campus will soon be surrounded by 3800 new housing unit development,” says Saldana.
As the cost of living in Austin continues to rise, families are moving out of the area and that number includes educators. Saldana says the district is working with the city to address affordability issues for school employees.
Summary of the District-wide 10 Year Analysis (issued by Davis Demographics & Planning, Inc)
- Over the next 10 years, elementary level populations are expected to lose over 2,700 students (-6%) and middle school populations are expected to decrease over 2,100 students (-13%).
- High school populations will continue to grow through 2022, when smaller classes will begin to arrive in high school, replacing larger classes.
- There are 68 known active and planned housing projects scattered throughout the District, yielding an estimated 11,337 new housing units over the next ten years; however, a recent shift in housing types from traditional single family detached to condominiums, townhouses and apartments will not bode well for future student growth, as these residential types have not yielded large numbers of students in AISD.
- AISD has experienced a reduction in student population since SY2013, primarily at the prekindergarten and kindergarten grade levels, and can be attributed to decreasing birth rates and lower births-to-kindergarten relationship (market share).
- Lower birth rates combined with the lack of affordable housing will have a negative impact on projected growth at the lower grades for AISD that will translate to losses at all grade levels and drive lower projected numbers for the higher grades towards the end of the ten-year period.
To combat the shrinking population, earlier this month AISD decided to hire a marketing firm to help change the public’s perception about historically under-performing schools.
The board will receive a formal presentation of the report at its next board meeting on Jan. 11.