Report predicts significant enrollment increase for Battle Ground Public Schools

posted Feb 1, 2018, 4:10 PM by Rita Sanders

Report predicts significant enrollment increase for Battle Ground Public Schools

February 1, 2018

Battle Ground Public Schools' enrollment is projected to increase by as many as 2,735 students over the next decade, according to an enrollment report prepared this month for the district. The Enrollment Forecast Analysis, conducted by E.D. Hovee & Company Economic and Development Services, concludes that "after nearly a decade of stable to declining enrollment due in large part to the Great Recession, the Battle Ground School District appears to be poised for renewed enrollment growth driven by a resurgent residential development."

The report describes two scenarios for future enrollment growth in Battle Ground Public Schools. A conservative baseline scenario predicts enrollment will increase by 1,535 students between 2017 and 2027 to a total headcount of 14,650. An alternative, high-growth scenario predicts that the district could see 2,735 new students over the same time period, putting total enrollment at 15,852 students by 2027. The high-growth scenario reflects a nearly 21 percent increase in headcount over the district's current enrollment of 13,117.

The report confirms district-wide data presented to the volunteer Facilities Improvement Team in its effort to create a Long-Range Facilities Plan for the district and brings clarity to which schools will be most impacted by growth over the next decade. The district commissioned the report in preparation for a new state requirement that districts create a four-year budget projection and to provide an update for long-term facilities planning. 

"This report confirms for us what the Facilities Improvement Team heard during the planning process for the bond: that our District will continue to see a surge in enrollment growth for the next 10 years and beyond," said Mark Ross, Superintendent of Battle Ground Public Schools. "The report will also help guide our projections for student growth that are critical in future budgeting processes."

The primary schools that are expected to see the largest increases in enrollment over the next 10 years are Glenwood Heights Primary with an additional 378 to 445 students, Captain Strong Primary with an additional 129 to 182 students, and Pleasant Valley Primary with 136 to 245 more students. Tukes Valley Primary is expected to see 75 to 135 students.

Among middle schools, Laurin, Chief Umtuch, Pleasant Valley and Tukes Valley are predicted to increase with the largest influx happening at Laurin, which is projected to see an additional 381 to 442 students over the next 10 years.

The report examines trends in enrollment, demographics (including birth rates) and residential development to project the district's enrollment through 2027. The analysis takes into account the district's enrollment history, current developments in the district, developable land assets located within the district, population data from a private firm and both the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census, and county birth rate data. 

Besides providing enrollment projections, the report also confirms the accuracy of the rate the district uses to project how many students will come from new single and multi-family home developments in the district. These numbers are used to project enrollment and in the calculation of impact fees charged to developers.

In addition, the analysis shows that the district is experiencing more growth than ever before from multi-family housing developments.

The report also shows
  • Over the next 10 years, the number of residents living in the district is expected to increase by 9,700 in the baseline scenario and by 16,802 residents in the high-growth scenario.
  • Battle Ground Public Schools' 71,900 residents accounted for an estimated 15.3 percent of the Clark County population in 2017. In 2000, Battle Ground district residents accounted for 13.6 percent of the county's population. If the district's share of county-wide population continues to increase, the district could reach nearly 87,000 residents by 2027.
  • Birth rates declined from 2000 (especially during the Great Recession) to 2013, but are expected to stabilize or increase through 2025.
  • As of 2017 there were 28,300 existing housing units in the district, with another 2,350 total single and multi-family units pending development.
The report also calls attention to the potential for future development within the Battle Ground Public Schools district. The Clark County Vacant Building Lands Model shows the district has remaining capacity for the equivalent of 16,851 single-family housing units under current zoning. "When developed, [vacant buildable land] may represent a 60 percent increase in the district's housing inventory—indicative of substantial as yet untapped growth capacity ahead," the report concludes.

The district has taken measures to address growth throughout the district, including installing modular buildings and revoking boundary exceptions at the rapid-growth campuses of Glenwood Heights Primary and Laurin Middle School and Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle schools. The district's Board of Directors has placed a bond on the Feb. 13 Special Election ballot that will replace these four schools and build a new primary and middle school campus in the southeast section of the district to help accommodate growth. The directors also could explore redrawing district boundary lines.