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AISD releases grim student demographic predictions

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 by Courtney Griffin

The Austin Independent School District heard the results of its yearly demographic report Monday afternoon, and then again on Monday night at its 6:30 p.m. board meeting. The report, which informs the district about student population trends in the community and anticipates how those trends may affect the district, is particularly poignant given AISD’s loss of about 3,000 students since the 2012-2013 school year. This year’s estimates do not show any deviation from past trends. In fact, it forecasts further declines in AISD’s enrollment over the next 10 years, a predicament that will hit AISD’s wallet hard. How many students there are and how often they attend school both play a significant role in the amount of state funding the district will receive. In 2014, the state gave AISD about $5,140 per student who attended school on a regular basis. The report states that, by 2025, the residential student count is projected to be 77,628 students, a reduction of 6,140 students from the 2015 student count, or a 7.4 percent decrease. The greatest declines will be seen in the elementary and middle school grade levels, with an anticipated decline of approximately 2,750 students (6 percent) and 2,100 students (13 percent), respectively, over the 10-year period. The subsequent changes associated with a smaller student body are expected to percolate slowly upward, from elementary school to high school, as the smaller student body ages. According to an AISD press release, the declines at these grade levels can be attributed to decreasing birth rates in the area and a shift in Austin’s new housing market. Student growth from new and planned future residential developments in the district is expected to be limited due to the anticipated high cost of projected future housing. An estimated 11,337 potential units are expected to be developed over the 10-year period, but only a third of these new housing developments are single-family residential units.

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