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Austin ISD student enrollment exceeds projection

Current figures show 548 more students than anticipated

Today the Austin Independent School District provided a snapshot of the organization's 2016-17 school year enrollment, and the number of students currently attending AISD exceeds projection for the first time in three years.

The membership for the district during the 2016-17 school year was projected to be 82,690. At the end of the first six weeks, Sept. 30, student enrollment in AISD was at 83,238 or 548 students above projection.

"Every day, our teachers and staff show up excited and ready to help Austin ISD reinvent public education, and I am thankful for their work," said Superintendent Paul Cruz. "With graduation rates at an all-time high and SAT and ACT scores that exceed the state and national average, it's an exciting time for all 83,238 of our students."

Enrollment projections consider factors such as the birth rate and the number of families with children moving in to or out of Austin ISD boundaries. The Austin ISD Office of Student Services makes the forecast in collaboration with the offices of planning, finance, special education and early childhood.

In addition, long-term projections that guide facilities planning are provided by Davis Demographics & Planning, which works exclusively with K-12 public school districts.

When comparing the district's 2016 enrollment figure to the number from the same time in 2015, AISD saw a 0.65 percent decrease in total number of students.

The Sept. 30 enrollment snapshot by school level is:

End of the first six weeks enrollment, 2016
SchoolsEnrollment
 AISD high schools 21,238
 AISD middle schools 16,054
 AISD elementary schools 45,460
 Special/separate campuses 486

 Source: AISD TEAMS Enrollment Data

First 6-week Projection vs Actual Graph comparing number of enrolled students each year from 2014-17

In December 2014, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees adopted a policy to allow out-of-district transfers for students whose parent or guardian is not an Austin ISD employee.

"That policy change has resulted in growth and is an indicator that parents who do not live in the AISD boundaries find our programs and academic offerings to be the premier choice for their students," said Reyne Telles, executive director of communications and community engagement.

The first six weeks enrollment total includes:

  • 1,434 approved applications for out-of-district transfers
  • 802 applications are from families that are not AISD employees.

"The data also show that families enrolling in AISD through out-of-district transfers are choosing a variety of campuses across the district," Telles said.

More than 110 of the district's schools are represented in the 1,434 approved applications for out-of-district transfers.

"Part of our effort to reinvent public education is to provide parents as much flexibility as possible in deciding what school their student will attend," said Director of Student Services Andri Lyons. "Whether transferring into the district with an out-of-district transfer, or within the district, AISD is receiving and approving more transfer requests than ever before."

During the 2016-17 school year, the district received:

  • 7,819 new requests for transfers
  • approved 90.70 percent of those transfers.

The newly approved transfer requests, when combined with students continuing on previous transfers, totals nearly 16,000 students. In other words, nearly one in five students attends an AISD school on transfer.

Additionally, the district carried out a marketing campaign last year, part of which focused on 30 schools through targeted marketing. The selected schools met criteria that included:

  • having a viable student population near the school
  • experiencing a persistent decline in enrollment or being consistently underenrolled
  • at or below 75 percent capacity
  • neighborhood factors such as apartment complexes being built or torn down

When the 30 schools are viewed as a whole, the group exceeds projection by 219 students, with 29 campuses receiving new out-of-district transfer requests.

"The process had us identify the campuses facing the largest challenges in regard to enrollment. By highlighting the programs and successes at these campuses, we were able to successfully outpace projection," said Telles.

Austin ISD is the largest school district in Central Texas, serving more than 83,000 students at 130 schools. Follow us on Twitter at @AustinISD or on Facebook at facebook.com/austinisd.

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