Report: Newhall School District student population expected to remain stable 

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The Newhall School District got some good news at Tuesday’s governing board meeting: the population of students is set to remain roughly the same over the next seven years. 

While that may not seem exciting, David Kaitz, vice president and senior project manager at Davis Demographics, said with a statewide trend of school districts losing students and projected to continue losing them, the report that he gave on Tuesday should keep minds at ease. 

“I’m trying to paint this positive picture, and stability is not a bad thing,” Kaitz said. 

The current population of students, according to district data from October, is just over 5,900. Using what he called a three-pronged approach — looking at birth factors, mobility factors and student yield factors — Kaitz is projecting the district to have roughly 13 fewer students in the 2030-31 school year, approximately a 0.2% decrease, with some peaks and valleys in the years between. 

According to Kaitz, birth factors indicate how many babies have historically been born in district boundaries, and how many are expected to be born in the future and enroll in the district beginning in kindergarten; mobility factors take into account how many students could be entering into the district after moving within the boundaries; and student yield factors consider how many students could be entering the district via new housing developments. 

Kaitz said the birth rate in district boundaries have been holding steady in recent years, or even growing. He added that with at least nine housing projects currently in the works within the district, an estimated 952 units are set to be added within the next seven years, with many of the families that move into those homes being assigned to Oak Hills Elementary using the current district guidelines. 

There were thousands of homes that Kaitz had previously used in his reports that were pulled from this most recent one due to a developer’s request, Kaitz said, adding that this makes it seem like the district is losing students compared to previous reports, but that is not quite the case. 

“It’s possible to come back a year from now and there’ll be more units in those later years,” Kaitz said. “But I had to keep that right now that it wasn’t, and that’s why you’re gonna see the forecast being less than it was last year.” 

Governing board member Donna Robert questioned if the higher-priced homes that are currently being built is good or bad for the district. Kaitz said there is no sure way to know this, but that, from his experience, higher-priced homes typically equate to families with older kids moving in, possibly already past elementary school. 

The big difference that Kaitz pointed out was the number of resident students — those who attend a school within the district’s boundaries — which will decline by approximately 87 students over the next seven years. That, he said, is due to smaller incoming classes while larger classes are graduating, despite new housing developments in the area, many west of the Interstate 5 freeway. 

Kaitz said accepting more out-of-district students would help offset that. He noted that the district has already been doing that, with roughly 900 of the district’s total student population coming from outside its boundaries. 

“I do have that going up a little bit over the years,” Kaitz said. “More or less, that’s helping to offset the decline. It’s not much of a decline. I think we had about an 80-resident student decline over the next seven years. That’s pretty stable.” 

Governing board President Suzan T. Solomon agreed with Kaitz that being stable is better than losing a larger chunk of students. She added that, should new developments come to fruition, the district does have a school site plan in place, but there are no immediate plans to build anything. 

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