Enrollment Spikes Again…What That Means for CISD?
With the new school year underway, the Coppell Independent School District is again finding itself in a growth position in terms of student enrollment. Early numbers show CISD is up by just over 200 students increasing the total student population to 10,175. This additional growth, once thought an anomaly, that began last school year, was not anticipated by CISD since it did not follow the projections identified by an outside demographer in his Demographic Analysis prepared for the district in 2007. Now, with a second year of growing numbers, demographers are advising the district that the increase in students may well be a function of the economy.
Superintendent Jeff Turner added, "With multi-family households, students leaving private schools for public, some pockets of residential development within the district, and the flight to high performing school systems, Coppell ISD's student numbers are continuing to be on the rise."
Whether boundary changes could offer some relief is a question circulating on the soccer fields, in church parking lots, grocery lines, and most any place parents gather. The last time the CISD Board of Trustees made boundary changes was in 2007 and a minimalist approach to the effort was taken: one in which the fewest number of students would be required to change schools. Of some 40 different scenarios reviewed by the Board, there were several which completely balanced the enrollment numbers but the tradeoff was the large number of students who would be required to change schools. In carefully considering all campuses, the Trustees recognized that even one small change in the enrollment zone from a single campus could create a domino effect that would impact many students.While enrollment has actually declined at 7 of 14 campuses, significant growth has occurred in the Valley Ranch and Irving areas nearest to the Valley Ranch and Mockingbird Elementary campuses. Mockingbird's enrollment for this year is up 5 students over last year at 569 while Valley Ranch's student population has increased from 557 last year to 616 for 2010 (+10.5%) and Coppell High School now has 2691 students, an increase of 19 students over last year.Board President Cindy Warner commented, “With the added pressure of a down economy these past two years, there is just no possible way we could have managed the influx of new students, added the International Baccalaureate program, and opened the new academies at Coppell High School without the relief of our second high school New Tech High @ Coppell. Adding the project-based learning environment has been great for kids, and a huge help to CHS, but we must remember that the New Tech facility was never meant to be a permanent solution.”
Warner added, “If the TRE passes, the Board will have a few more options at their disposal in order to add staff and make significant changes where enrollment concerns exist. On the other hand, if the TRE fails, we will most certainly need to look at making further staff reductions district-wide.”The CISD Board of Trustees will continue to monitor the enrollment closely and begin discussions regarding both long and short-term solutions in order to ensure balance across the district. Long term, three-to-five year solutions would need to include consideration for the future growth anticipated in Cypress Waters (the North Lake Development) where building a new elementary school in Valley Ranch and/or the North Lake area will eventually materialize.A short-term solution the Board could consider might be redistricting or adding a wing on to an existing building. Assistant Superintendent for Business Sid Grant noted, “If enrollment trends continue, we will have to consider redistricting again, possibly for the 2011-2012 school year. As for the long term, opening a new elementary campus in the Valley Ranch area is a possibility but comes with a much bigger price tag. It takes over $1 million per year to run a new school when you consider electricity, custodial/ maintenance services, and additional staff for the facilities. We just need to look at all our options and dialogue with the community about their desires for this district.”
Grant added that “The Discussion” monthly public forums will continue this year offering a great opportunity for the topic of student enrollment to be addressed. For more information about enrollments for each campus, history on the North Lake Development, or the Tax Rate Election (TRE), visit https://www.coppellisd.com/.