A recent demographic study commissioned by one local school district found that a steady decline in student enrollment figures, driven partly by high housing costs and transfers, was expected.
Coppell ISD’s board of trustees was presented with student enrollment projections by consultant Bob Templeton during its meeting on October 23. Templeton is vice president of the education segment at Zonda Education, which analyzes demographic trends in public education enrollment.
Templeton suggested that the district — currently serving a student body of 13,371 — would have only about 12,973 students by 2028, according to Community Impact. With the basic state allotment per student averaging $6,500, the loss of around 400 students would translate into a budgetary drop of $2.6 million.
Although Coppell ISD’s student enrollment grew in the 2023-2024 year by 252 students, the number of 11th and 12th graders fell year over year. Meanwhile, just 704 kindergarteners were enrolled, the lowest number in five years.
As previously covered by The Dallas Express, Coppell ISD’s board of trustees grappled with several budgetary issues this past summer. These discussions highlighted the impact of inflation, new state-mandated security measures, a national teacher shortage, and a projected demographic slowdown on its budget.
Many North Texas public school districts have been grappling with similar issues, like Dallas ISD, the second-biggest public school system in Texas. Texas Education Agency accountability reports for the 2021-2022 school year showed that 41% of Dallas ISD students scored at grade level on their STAAR exams, significantly below the 48% statewide average.
Coppell ISD performed better, with 78% of its students scoring at grade level that school year.
Instead of pointing to student achievement scores, Templeton’s presentation blamed Coppell ISD’s declining numbers on other factors.
The first main issue he identified was the high cost of housing within the district’s attendance zone.
“The Coppell market is one of the most expensive markets in the DFW region,” Templeton said, according to Community Impact. “The family makeup tends to be older; it tends to have fewer younger kids, so we don’t see that regeneration at the younger grade levels.”
He noted that there were four housing projects in the works, which could increase growth prospects. However, Templeton pointed out that not much vacant land is left within the district’s limits to increase the housing inventory and lower prices.
Another issue faced by Coppell ISD is the number of students transferring out of the district, opting for private school or homeschooling. Between the 2017-2018 and 2023-2024 school years, a nearly 26% increase in student transfers was logged, according to Coppell Student Media.
Nonetheless, Templeton pointed out that such transfers have almost entirely been absorbed by new students, hailing mostly from multifamily dwellings.
“The good news is you’re still adding more students to the district [versus those] leaving the district, so that’s good,” Templeton explained to the board. “I’ve got a lot of clients that don’t see that. They’re seeing the leaving outnumber the newcomers.”