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Austin ISD tries to stabilize student enrollment



AUSTIN (KXAN) As Austin’s population grows at a rapid rate, the Austin Independent School District isn’t keeping pace with its student enrollment.

Katie Casstevens is the student enrollment and attendance interim executive director at AISD.

“A lot of families can’t continue to afford to live in the city,” she said. “So we’re seeing some families move into some of the surroundings of our communities.”

According to the district, these students are enrolling in districts outside the area, such as Del Valle, Manor and Leander ISD.

Education Austin president Ken Zarifis also believes AISD is losing students who live in the area.

“There are other opportunities in terms of charters and private schools in the city,” he said.

For AISD, funding from the state is based on enrollment and attendance.

“The overall educational experience in terms of what the districts provide and how they can build their budget is all built on that funding,” Zarifis said.

Looking ahead, that attendance-based funding will likely keep dropping.

Over the next five years, the district forecasts losing around 4,000 students.

“As our enrollment decreases, we get less funding per student from the state,” Casstevens said.

Zarifis worries that this may come at a cost to the overall educational experience.

“There must be more funding for our students and their families to do more for our workers,” he said. “If we don’t see a change in funding, we’re going to see a continued drop in public education.”

With schools set to start on Monday, district officials are hopeful enrollment is stabilizing.

“We’re very excited that in the 2021 and 2022 school year we maintained our enrollment of about 75,000 students,” Casstevens concluded.

AISD also sends more tax dollars to the state’s recapture program than any other school district in Texas.

This year, the district projects that nearly $800 million dollars will go to recapture — that’s $37 million more than last year.



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