Central Austin public schools are losing students, Community Impact reports. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, AISD started to see decreases in enrollment, a trend which is projected to continue until 2018.
Several factors are affecting the enrollment of central Austin schools, including charter schools, the 2007-2011 recession, which caused people to have fewer children, and the tendency of adults to wait longer to have children.
The average elementary school enrollment is currently 470, but by 2024, that is projected to be 368. Families are also being pushed out to the suburbs by the high cost of housing in the core of the city, and the fact that much of the housing stock isn’t geared towards what families want today.
Schools are paid per student, so decreases in enrollment make it difficult for them to fund high-quality programming and pay teachers competitive rates. The district does not want to close any schools since they are such an important part of neighborhoods and population and demographics could change to where the schools are needed. Kathie Tovo, a City Council member, wants to see creative solutions like renting out unused portions of schools to banks, afterschool programs, and other compatible renters.