AUSTIN (KXAN) — AISD student enrollment hasn’t changed much over the last two years, but after almost a decade of declining numbers, the district is hoping to put an emphasis on attracting more students.
“Enrollment has increased in the state, however for urban districts there are declines,” said Oscar Rodriguez, AISD chief officer of technology. “Hispanic and Black students are declining and Asian and white student enrollment is going up.”
A graph shown during a recent board meeting shows in 2011 there were about 52,000 Hispanic students, but that number has dropped to just over 40,000.
In 2011 there were about 7,800 Black students, but now there are just over 4,700.
With more than 75,000 students AISD is one of the largest school districts in the state, but there are challenges that continue to impact growth.
“We are having to win them (students) back,” said AISD trustee Candace Hunter. “We are surrounded by charters there is economics and affordable housing issues.”
Hunter said some people are moving to communities outside Austin because it’s less expensive.
“We have our families going out there because they can still have affordable housing, but they are still close to Austin.”
Just 30 minutes north from Austin, Hutto ISD is seeing rapid growth.
“Realistically over the next 20 years this is a four high school school system,” said HISD Associate Superintendent of operations, Henry Gideon.
Gideon said the district is already planning for expansion in the near future.
“In 2015, we were just over 5,700 students and now we are sitting at 9,780.”
Gideo says projections show 13,000 students in 5 years and while prices have increase in the area it’s still more affordable than Austin.
“The biggest driver east of Austin and northeast of Austin is affordability,” said Gideon.
Austin ISD is looking to increase enrollment in a number of ways. The district is working to improve the current enrollment process by making it easier to register, they have also set up focus groups to hear from parents about what makes a good school and how families decide which school to send their kids to.