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Austin (Texas) district projects a 10% enrollment decline over the next decade

Feb. 10, 2020
Despite an unexpected increase in student numbers this year, the 80,000-student district predicts enrollment will drop by nearly 8,000 in the next 10 years.

The Austin (Texas) school district is projecting that its student population will drop by 10% in the next decade,

The Austin American-Statesman reports that despite an increase of 764 students in 2019-20, which brought districtwide enrollment to 80,890, the Austin Independent District will experience an enrollment decline in the medium and long terms.

The district's latest demographic report predicts that enrollment (excluding out-of-district transfers) will decrease by 4,597 students, or about 6% of the current student population, in the next five years. By the 2029-30 school year, demographers expect Austin schools to have lost 7,796 students.

Even though the Austin area continues to add jobs at a higher rate than the rest of the nation, and unemployment remains low, property values have kept rising, and administrators believe that is one of the reasons the district is losing students.

In addition, the report points out that a significant number of new home sales last year were condominiums and town homes, households that tend to have fewer school-age children.

Charter school openings and expansions continue to provide increased competition for student enrollment. According to a University of Texas Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis brief, the number of charter students in the Austin area increased 792% between 2008 and 2018.

District administrators have decided to close and consolidate some schools over the next several years partly in response to a decline in enrollment. On Nov. 18, district trustees voted to close four schools.

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