Castaic school district officials looking at declining enrollment

Castaic Union School District Building. Dan Watson/The Signal

A lack of housing developments and growth in the Castaic area are projected to negatively impact enrollment numbers in all four schools in the Castaic Union School District, according to a 2017 report from Davis Demographics.

The district’s Governing Board is expected to review the student population projections by residence for the next seven years, from fall 2017-18 to fall 2023-24, during its meeting Thursday.

The projections are used to address student housing needs, student generation rates, developer fees, budget projections and student attendance areas.

“Over the next three years, the total enrollment (TK-8) for the Castaic Union School District is expected to decline by 261 students (a net loss of 11.7%),” according to the Davis Demographic report.

This decline in enrollment and demographic projections is due to the economic crisis and downturn in the housing market that caused planned developments to be halted or stopped.

“There has been very little if any new residential development in the Castaic area for the past five years, but things may be starting to change over the next 3-4 years,” the report read.

These changes are due to the potential development of the Newhall Ranch Project (Landmark Village) with occupants in 2020 and the Northlake housing project with occupants in 2021.

The report also states that the modified Los Valles project might begin by 2019 and the Tapia Ranch project might start up again with occupants by fall 2020.

However, it is uncertain if and when the housing projects will begin construction and welcome in new occupants.

Elementary School (K-6) Projections

All three attendance areas—Castaic Elementary School, Live Oak Elementary School and Northlake Hills Elementary School—are expected to experience dropping enrollment over the next three years.

In October 2016, enrollment for students in transitional kindergarten to sixth grade was 1,650 students, or an average of about 550 students per elementary school.

The 2016 enrollment reflects a decrease of 122 students from 2015 with 1,777 students enrolled.  It also shows a steady decline in enrollment from 2012, with 1,940 students in 2014, 2,006 TK-6 students in 2013 and 2,150 K-6 students in 2012.

However, the Live Oak attendance area and Northlake Hills attendance area could see growth in the upcoming years if housing projects, Newhall Ranch and Northlake Hills, begin.

Davis Demographics believes no new elementary school site is needed during the next five years, but the district may want to open a new elementary school by or after 2023.

“The District does have plans to eventually open more schools, but the delays and/or reductions in the residential projects have affected the timing of new facilities,” the report read.

Middle School (7-8) Projections

In 2015, the district converted Castaic Middle School from a sixth through eighth grade school to a seventh and eighth grade school.

In fall 2016, Castaic Middle School had an enrollment of 577 students.  The enrollment numbers reflected the ninth consecutive year of decline compared to 584 in 2015 and 629 in 2014.

Enrollment for the middle school is expected to continue dropping for the next four years to nearly 440 students in 2020.

The decline is due to smaller incoming seventh grade classes and a lack of new residential developments.

However, the school could see a continued rise in enrollment beginning in 2021 if developments begin.

“Castaic Middle School, which once housed over 1,800 students, should easily be able to accommodate the 7-8 student population for the next seven years and beyond,” the report read.

Additional Agenda Items

  • Adopt resolution to revise the Measure QS Citizens’ Oversight Committee Policy and Regulations to allow members to serve three consecutive terms
  • Approve of i-Ready Universal Screening for English Language Arts for data-driven insights, new standards implementation and personalized, targeted student instruction
  • Approve of contracts with The Academy for Advancement of Children with Autism – Antelope Valley, California Psychcare, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Pediatric Therapies of Santa Clarita, and Dr. Sandi Fischer for Individual Education Evaluation (IEE)
  • Approve of independent contract with Dawn Zischke to Provide physical education instruction for Northlake Hills Elementary students from August 2017 to June 2018
  • Approve of purchase from Great Western Recreation to replace the cracked spiral slide at Castaic Elementary School
  • Approve of proposal from Facili-Serv Athletic Facility Product and Services to replace damaged bleachers at the Castaic Middle School Gym
  • Approve of annual landscape maintenance agreement with StayGreen, Inc.
  • Approve of service agreement with AllerClean Pest Control to add bait stations to Castaic Elementary School and Live Oak Elementary
  • Approve of agreement with ASAP Pest Control Services for ongoing treatment of gopher control to keep fields maintained and safe for instructional use and sporting events

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