Eanes ISD is continuing to see a high number of students transferring into the district, per a report from Zonda Education demographer Bob Templeton.

Templeton presented the report, which included other district demographic and enrollment data, to the board of trustees during a special meeting Feb. 6.

Breaking it down

The Texas Education Agency reported the number of student transfers in and out of Eanes ISD between 2017 and 2023. While this year’s data will not be made available until the end of March, Templeton said that Eanes is “in rare company.”

“You’re transfer-positive. Most [districts] are transfer-negative to a great degree,” Templeton said. “You’re a destination district, for sure.”

The report also showed that between 2017-23, 109 Eanes students transferred out to Austin ISD schools and 33 students transferred out to Premier High Schools.

“Some of those Austins, I suspect, are staff kids,” Templeton said. “They work in those other districts, and they take their kids with them.”

More details

Despite a steady flow of students transferring in, Templeton said that the expansion of charter schools across Austin has contributed to the decrease in overall enrollment numbers. Across the state, enrollment has dropped by about 70,000 students.

The COVID-19 pandemic also impacted home-school enrollment, he said, which has “likely tripled” in the last three years.

“It’s a little hard to quantify that because [home schools] are not required to report to TEA," Templeton said.

Still, Templeton attributes a large part of Eanes' enrollment drop between the 2021-22 school year to the “aging of the school district,” some of which is tied to a change in birth rates and more expensive housing.

“The high interest rate is causing a low supply of existing homes,” Templeton said. “Folks are staying in their homes longer, so we don’t have that turn. You need the turn to then cause some families to come in that have school-age kids.”

However, the district isn’t necessarily losing students, Templeton said—it's just "aging out" and graduating students at a faster rate than what is coming in.

“If you look at the grade level numbers, there’s consistent steady growth between first to second [grades], second to third [grades],” he said.

Looking ahead

According to Templeton’s 10-year district forecast, the key is for the number of kindergarten transfers to remain in the 450-460 range in order for the district’s total enrollment to stay at 7,500 students. The district currently has 7,732 students.

“If we don’t see it there, that number could float down to around 7,200 to 7,300,” Templeton said. “That puts you in a unique spot to where you have the ability to control the knob, so to speak, because you are a destination district. I’m sure that the folks that want to come in here is a long list.”