Lake Travis ISD is expected to experience steady growth over the next 10 years despite a recent decline in enrollment.

Two-minute impact

Representatives from Population and Survey Analysts shared highlights from the district’s 2023-24 demographic study at a Jan. 17 board of trustees meeting. While the district experienced consistent growth from 2013 to 2019, enrollment has fluctuated in recent years as the district experienced its largest loss of over 120 students from 2022 to 2023, according to the report.

“In those early years, there was some really fast growth,” PASA President Stacey Tepera said. “Over the past few years, it’s stabilized off a little bit.”

As of October, the district’s enrollment of 11,276 was lower than previous projections for the 2023-24 school year. This comes as the housing market slowed, kindergarten class sizes declined, and Travis County voters approved conserving land previously planned for housing developments, Tepera said.

The district’s enrollment is expected to grow each year over the next decade, gaining almost 2,400 students by 2033.

Diving in deeper

PASA considers several factors in projecting student enrollment growth, including birth rates, incoming kindergarten class sizes, aging of current students, new housing construction and regeneration, or younger families moving into the homes of empty nesters, Tepera said.

The district’s largest cohort of students will soon graduate to be replaced by smaller kindergarten classes, Tepera said. Incoming kindergarten class sizes have decreased over the last two years; however, birth rates have increased over the past four years, resulting in larger kindergarten classes in 2027, she said.

Rising interest rates have made it harder for families to buy and sell homes in the district, PASA demographer Susan Cates said, resulting in less regeneration.

“That can be a significant impeding factor on an individual or family's ability to buy a home in the district,” Cates said about interest rates. “Another factor that this impacts is existing homeowners deciding to stay in their homes.”

The district is expected to receive almost 10,000 new housing units over the next 10 years, about 55% of which will be single-family homes and 36% will be multifamily units, Cates said. New housing is expected to bring around 200 to 300 students to the district each year compared to 400 to 500 students in years past, according to the report.

“We're at about half the single-family units coming online [compared to] 10 years ago, and that's part of being an established district,” Cates said.

In November, Travis County voters approved a bond package allowing the county to purchase conservation easements, including over 880 lots planned for the West Cypress Hills Phase 3 development, Cates said. The land purchase resulted in the district losing over 800 students in its enrollment projections, according to the presentation.

Looking ahead

The district is expected to experience moderate growth over the next 10 years, assuming kindergarten class sizes increase, mortgage rates drop or stabilize, home resales slightly increase, the amount of students per home stays consistent, and unemployment rates stay low, according to the report.

Enrollment growth is expected to concentrate in the district’s western and southern portions. Projections show Bee Cave Elementary School gaining the most students over the next decade followed by Rough Hollow and West Cypress Hills elementaries.

Bee Cave Middle School is expected to see the most growth, while Lake Travis Middle School falls closely behind.

Projections without High School No. 2 show Lake Travis High School reaching an enrollment of over 4,000 students by 2033. The district’s second high school opening in 2027 is expected to accommodate around 2,000 students, Superintendent Paul Norton told Community Impact in August.