AISD enrollment expected to drop by thousands over next decade

Assistant Director of Planning in AISD Office of Facilities Beth Wilson and City Demographer Ryan Robinson discuss demographic study (KXAN Photo)
Assistant Director of Planning in AISD Office of Facilities Beth Wilson and City Demographer Ryan Robinson discuss demographic study (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The number of students in Austin Independent School District is only going to continue to drop. A demographic study released today projects Austin ISD will lose 6,140 students over the next 10 years.

The reasons, AISD reports, are lower birth rates, additional education options and most significantly, affordability.

“The city of Austin in the middle of possibly the biggest economic and population boom that it has ever experienced,” City Demographer Ryan Robinson said.

“This of course is due to the fact that housing is much more expensive within the central city, as well as they tend to be housing types that are not as family friendly as in suburban areas,” Beth Wilson, Assistant Director of Planning in AISD Office of Facilities said.

Wilson encourages people to think of the school district’s population as a doughnut, with the least amount of students in central downtown, in the “hole.” Projections show, over the next decade, that hole is only expected to get bigger as more and more families move to the outer edges of the city.

The reality is top of mind for Mike Pharis, when he thinks ahead to sending his 2-year-old daughter off to school.

“A lot of people are just holding on as long as they can, but feeling like that eventually they’re gonna have to sell their houses or rent their houses and move somewhere else,” Pharis said.

An estimated 11,337 housing units are expected to be developed within AISD over the next 10 years, but only one-third are single family homes.

“The enormous amount of construction that’s occurring outside of this building, it’s not adding to the family friendly stock,” Robinson said.

AISD is opening up out-of-district transfers for families wanting to stay within AISD schools. It’s an option Pharis hopes he doesn’t have to turn to in the future.

“It’s hard, I definitely want to stay in the city but, like I said, it just feels like it’s only a matter of time. I’m not going to be able to afford it,” he said.

AISD accepted 150 out-of-district transfer students through its pilot program this year, and hopes to double that number next school year.
The full demographic report will be presented to the school board at 6:50 p.m.

AISD receives $7,390 for each student enrolled. With the demographic projection showing the district can expect to lose an average of 614 students a year, financially, AISD faces a yearly loss topping $4.5 million.

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