DOWNEY – The Downey Unified School District lost about 800 students since the start of the 2016-17 school year and the decline in enrollment is expected to continue, district officials said this week.
If district projects are accurate, Downey Unified could lose an additional 700 students by the 2019-20 school year, resulting in decreased revenue.
“Downey Unified is currently looking into ways in which to address this issue as well as preserve the students that are currently enrolled,” district officials said in a statement.
“Discussions have begun that propose the idea of preserving these students by conceivably adding to the already innovative programs being offered to students as well as adding additional advanced programs in various CTE and STEAM-related subject areas.
“The district has also started doing survey work on dual language immersion programs, early college and international baccalaureate programs.”
Earlier this month, Downey’s board of education heard a report given by educational consulting firm Jack Schreder & Associates on the results of a demographic analysis and enrollment projections study that was conducted for the district to determine long-range enrollment trends.
The purpose of the study was to provide detailed demographic information about the Downey community and the effects these findings will have on Downey Unified’s student enrollment numbers as well as its potential fiscal impact.
Officials, however, stressed that the declining enrollment numbers are consistent with statewide trends that include both public and private school systems.
The study discovered that the population within district boundaries of adults that are of child-bearing age is declining; increased housing costs have made it more difficult to purchase a home; and families with school-age children are migrating inland to purchase homes.
Declining enrollment at Downey Unified is being particularly felt at the kindergarten and transitional kindergarten level, where the number of enrolled students is projected to decline until 2022
“This deduction was made based on the fact that the 2022-23 school year will be the year children currently being born would be the age to enroll into the Downey Unified School District as TK or kindergarten students,” officials said.