Galveston Independent School District should only expect a slight increase in student population by 2027, according to a demographic presentation about the district’s future.
Future student enrollment is hurt by flattening kindergarten enrollment rates, fewer student-oriented new housing developments, increased housing prices, charter school expansions and hurricanes, according to the report.
“A 300-student growth is the middle range,” school board Trustee Anthony Brown said. “It could go higher or it could go down, but we kind of already felt that way. There’s no place to build new subdivisions and minus any other external changes, it doesn’t seem like we’re in high-growth mode.”
The district’s population for the next school year should be about 7,054 students and should increase to about 7,447 by 2027, according to a report by College Station-based Population and Survey Analysts.
“This means that we can focus our efforts on the current number of students,” Vice President Jeff Temple said. “Be it education and curricular needs, facilities, athletics, arts, etc.”
The preliminary results of the survey give school officials a better idea of where the district is headed, but the information is only one piece of a complicated puzzle, Temple said.
After Hurricane Ike hit the island in 2008, district enrollment dropped off significantly.
The enrollment has since improved to about 7,000 but has stayed steady for several years now, President Matthew Hay said in a previous interview with The Daily News.
The district’s board of trustees in April spent $47,900 on the demographic assessment as part of a two-study plan to assess district needs for an upcoming bond election.
The two separate assessments have been in the works since trustees in February called a $31 million May bond referendum, which school officials envision as the first in a two-part plan to improve district facilities.
The studies are necessary because the second bond election would focus on long-term needs, officials said.
Galveston voters in May approved that first bond issue, which will pay for immediate repairs at district facilities made necessary by deferred maintenance, with about 75 percent of the vote.
That election will not increase the district’s tax rate, officials said.
The second bond election is in the preliminary stages, trustees said.
First, several other pieces must come together, Brown said.
Trustees also approved a $100,000 study with Houston-based PBK Architects, one of six bidders, to conduct a facilities condition and needs assessment. That study continues.
“It looks like we’re at about 70 percent capacity in the elementary schools and 50 percent capacity in the middle schools,” Brown said. “That’s too low.”
The needs assessment study will include an evaluation of the district’s buildings and equipment, and provide comprehensive reports and data for the district to use, officials said.