Board Hears Demographic Update, Discusses Enrollment Growth, Bond
At its January 5 study session, RISD trustees heard the annual updated report of RISD enrollment trends from Templeton Demographics. The demographic report evaluates enrollment trends and includes projections for enrollment for schools and neighborhoods across RISD.
- RISD enrollment has continued to grow, adding the second highest number of students in Region 10 over the last five years, behind Frisco.
- Moderate future growth is expected, driven by single family home turnover and new multifamily housing projects.
- RISD can anticipate an additional 2,344 students over the next five years.
- Over ten years, the number of projected additional students is 4,366.
- Enrollment districtwide is up in 2015-16 from 2014-15, but less than projected.
- Just over half of RISD students reside in single family homes.
- The largest two classes in RISD continue to be Kindergarten and first grade.
See the demographic report.
Staff then continued discussion (see background) of a wide range of short- and long-term potential options with trustees to accommodate enrollment growth, specifically at the elementary level, including some that might impact the upcoming bond package expected to be called by trustees in February. From among the potential options, and after factoring in the latest enrollment projections from the demographic report, preliminary recommendations from staff were discussed, including:
- Redrawing attendance boundaries to include a portion of Mark Twain Elementary’s boundaries south of Frances Way into Jess Harben Elementary.
- Redrawing attendance boundaries to include a portion of Skyview Elementary’s boundaries north of I-635 to Thurgood Marshall Elementary.
- Adding classrooms and potential necessary infrastructure at Aikin, Northwood Hills, Stults Rd. and White Rock elementary schools.
- Constructing a new primary education center at Northlake Elementary to serve pre-Kindergarten students in the Northlake and neighboring Wallace and White Rock attendance areas, and Kindergarten students in the Northlake and White Rock attendance areas.
- Construction of a primary education center would substantially alleviate space concerns at Wallace and White Rock without requiring a change in attendance boundaries for those schools.
- Reserving funds in bond 2016 to provide flexibility to add classrooms at additional schools if needed over next five years.
- Evaluating the use of portable classrooms as a temporary solution to accommodate short-term growth or accommodate sustained growth at schools while permanent classrooms are being constructed. Trustees and staff emphasized the need to ensure that the placement and configuration of any portable classrooms would maximize safety and security.
- Opening eligibility of all district magnet options to parents in Lake Highlands while increasing program offerings at Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet.
- Continue studying feasibility of relocating central programs at schools within the district to provide more comprehensive services and create classroom capacity at specific schools.
- Pursuing acquisition of land in a high growth area of Lake Highlands to provide future flexibility.
- Incorporating funds in 2016 bond proposal to fund the items requiring construction/capital purchases.
Staff believe a combination of preliminary recommendations would allow RISD to address short- and long-term elementary enrollment growth. Measures that could be in place in time for the 2016-17 school year include expanding magnet eligibility, changing attendance boundaries, relocating some central programs and/or installing portable classrooms.
Other measures that include construction of additional classrooms could be completed in time for the 2017-18 school year (by August 2017) if a decision is made by trustees by the end of February 2016.
The district will engage parents and stakeholders impacted by the possible attendance boundary changes to answer questions and solicit feedback. Details surrounding options for current students and families residing within potentially redrawn areas would be determined through the meeting and feedback process.
RISD staff and trustees also discussed, but staff did not currently recommend, construction of an additional elementary school in a high-growth area of Lake Highlands, which would potentially require attendance boundary changes to multiple schools. Acquisition of land in Lake Highlands to provide flexibility to address future growth was preliminarily recommended.
Trustees will study the preliminary recommendations and revisit the topics at their January 11 regular meeting.
See the bond planning presentation and preliminary recommendations to address growth.
In addition to the fiscal implications of construction related to enrollment growth on the 2016 bond, the Board also discussed other potential bond items and information, including:
- Reducing the size and scope of proposed Multipurpose Facilities at each high school to less expensive options, which would reduce the projected cost of each from $20.4 million to a maximum of $14.9 million. Trustees were provided information about comparable smaller facilities within the Metroplex. Less expensive options include a shortened field length, reduced height, removal of dedicated golf practice areas, and reduced space for trainers, offices, and storage. The shortened field length would still be able to accommodate RISD’s marching band practices.
- Reducing the cost and scope of proposed library transformations/renovations at each RISD school. As the potential projects have been evaluated at each school, projected costs have become more definitive as the amount of materials and retrofitting have become more clear. Less retrofitting work than initially projected would be necessary as it relates to electrical upgrades impacting the slab foundations, and fewer materials would be needed to support student and staff computers and devices. The impact of the refined scope on the projected cost of the proposed library renovations will reduce the cost from $23.3 million to $17.2 million.
See information and benchmark comparisons about the potential reduced-scope multipurpose facilities.
The preliminary impact of the additional potential funds to address enrollment growth on the 2016 bond package would be offset by the projected cost reductions of less expensive multipurpose facilities and library renovations, if trustees were to eventually vote to include all of the potential items into the bond package.
The total projected cost of all currently-proposed 2016 bond items would be $417 million, which if approved by voters would mean a property tax rate increase of approximately 8 cents. For an average residential home in RISD valued at $220,758, an 8 cent tax rate increase would mean an annual tax increase of approximately $138.95, which is a monthly increase of approximately $11.58.
Watch a recording of the entire January 5 study session.
Learn more about RISD's 2016 Bond Planning