Report: Carson schools’ student population will decline

Carson City School District administration building.

Carson City School District administration building.

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Demographic shifts resulting from families having fewer children could be having an impact on schools, Superintendent Andrew Feuling reported during the Carson City School Board meeting May 9.

Data provided by public school consultant Davis Demographics projects there will be fewer K-12 students from the current school year through 2029 living within Carson City’s district lines. A total of 7,034 students were counted at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year; that is expected to drop to 6,109 within five years.

Davis Demographics considers births occurring in the area, mobility factors and student yield factors.

Feuling said, for example, Carson Middle and Eagle Valley middle schools would see boundaries change due to the population shift. Since 2015-16, as the district was growing, Carson’s elementary schools were beginning to see smaller class sizes. As the COVID-19 pandemic began, the district overall was down 7% in size for the 2019-20 school year.

There are also widening trends between the number of births and the number of children in kindergarten, which Davis Demographics has found in California, Texas and Arizona, Feuling said. In Carson City in 2012, before the pandemic, there were 561 live births with 543 children starting in kindergarten in school year 2017 when most of those children born were expected to enroll, but the gap widened in year 2017 with 584 live births and 474 kindergarteners in school year 2022 after COVID.

Davis Demographics also looked at figures for planned housing and expected future student populations, with estimates at 1,830 for new units to be developed within the next seven years. Within the forecast timeframe, 294 multi-family units would bring 57 K-12 students, and 652 apartments would yield 127 K-12 students, while single-family houses would yield 193 K-12 students.

The report also examined students living outside CCSD’s boundaries, and these numbers also have dropped, with a net decrease of 81 students since 2021-22.

In all, the report shows total K-12 enrollment is expected to decrease by approximately 13% to 6,268 students by the 2029-30 school year.

Feuling said as the student population steadily declines and staff members gradually retire, ultimately it could mean there will be less of a need to fill vacant positions, but for now, there’s no immediate impact on the district.

“Families are having fewer kids,” Feuling said. “We are seeking the impact of that over time. The population is fairly stable here. There is a pretty reasonable chance we’re going to see a reasonable decrease in population. I don’t know if there’s any major decision to make.”


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