The district thought they would see 82,690 students for the 2016-2017 school year, but it is at 83,238, that's 548 students more than anticipated. They credit an aggressive marketing plan, policy changes and school officials.
“They actually conducted school visits on a weekly basis, talked to different constituents for them to understand our policies and the changes that were in place to increase enrollment in our schools,” said Dr. Paul Cruz, superintendent.
In December 2014, AISD adopted a policy allowing out of district transfers for kids whose parents are not district employees. That opened the door for more than 1,434 out of district transfer students(approved) in the first six weeks of this school year.
There is still one problem that continues to have a domino effect on AISD.
“Something significant in Austin and something we are dealing with as a city, as the city deals with it so does Austin ISD, and that's affordability,” said Cruz.
Even though they exceeded enrollment expectations, enrollment compared to last year still went down by 0.65 percent...but it's a much better number than expected. The city is working to create more affordable housing options to keep families in AISD schools.
“Families, especially families struggling economically, are increasingly moving outside of the city of Austin to areas that are less expensive,” said Kathie Tovo, Austin City Council district 9.
Tovo is happy AISD is seeing a beacon of hope with rising enrollment, but can they retain those students?
“How can we really help keep families with children in our central city? Part of that is an attempt to making sure our schools are staying enrolled,” said Tovo.
District officials say they want to do all they can to keep families in the district because educating children and keeping them in the central city can have profound effects.
It makes our community stronger. We want to make sure we educate all of our students,” said Cruz.