Archived Story

I.J. Holton: Student enrollment mirrors school demographics study

Published 6:01am Monday, September 2, 2013

Though I.J. Holton Intermediate School will be an answer to the rising student population at Austin Public Schools, district officials aren’t done looking at demographics data.

District officials began to examine student population after a 2009 report by demographer Hazel Reinhardt showed Austin schools could grow by 400 students as soon as 2015, based on Mower County birth rates. According to Finance Director Mark Stotts, Reinhardt’s predictions have been accurate thus far.

“She’s been right on the money,” he said.

There were about 4,370 students in Austin during the 2010-2011 school year, according to district data. Last year, about 4,510 students attended Austin schools. By the 2015-2016 school year, as many as 4,700 students could go to Austin schools, according to Reinhardt’s report.

Stotts said student counts have followed Reinhardt’s mid-level projections, in some years exceeding Reinhardt’s higher projections. The district estimated about 4,800 students registered in Austin as of Aug. 26, though student counts aren’t considered official until October, since students tend to move in and out of districts during the first month of the academic year.

Reinhardt projected as many as 1,000 new students, or about 5,300 students in total, could attend school here by 2020, though her projections after 2015 were made based on data trends instead of hard figures. Stotts said the district will commission a new study from Reinhardt this winter to keep track of student growth within the district.

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