School District Services

Enrollment Forecasts, Attendance Boundary Realignment, Custom Research

Demographic research is valuable when school districts need to make important decisions, such as whether to build or close a school, to change attendance boundaries, or to propose a bond measure.  Clients also use our enrollment forecasts for planning annual budgets and staffing.

custom research

School districts face a variety of challenges requiring custom research to help governing board and staff members make decisions.

We help identify and provide the demographic information needed to make decisions.

Our research projects have included evaluating integration policies, the impact of charter and private school enrollments, and changes in residents’ socioeconomic characteristics.

Enrollment Forecasts

We use standard demographic techniques (based on the cohort survival method) when forecasting school enrollments.  We advance existing students one grade for each forecast year, adjusting for migration into and out of the district, future kindergarten classes, and new housing (if necessary). We base our forecasts on factors that include:

•  Historical grade progression patterns which reflect migration of students into and out of the district as well as                housing turnover
•  Births to district residents and regional birth trends
•  The relationship between kindergarten enrollments and resident births five years earlier
•  Inter-district transfers
•  Expected housing growth
•  Student ethnic mix
•  Private and charter school enrollments

We use the most recent birth data to forecast elementary enrollments four years, middle school enrollments nine years, and high school enrollments thirteen years. We provide forecasts beyond these periods, but they are less certain because future students have not yet been born.

We provide a range of enrollment forecasts (such as Low, Medium, and High) to indicate the level of uncertainty in the forecast and the range within which future enrollments are likely to fall.


housing growth and student yield analyses

Specific analyses for school districts with significant housing growth document the new units’ impact on enrollments and the need for facilities.  We first develop a housing forecast based on information from city or county planners.  We then conduct student yield studies that measure the average number of students per housing unit. Student yields vary by factors such as type, age, and size of units, as well as the school district’s reputation. Enrollment forecasts for these districts require adjustments to the cohort survival method for forecasting enrollments that account specifically (and separately) for this type of enrollment growth.

housing turnover and Neighborhoood Life Cycles

Housing turnover studies are useful for analyzing changes in numbers of students living in older neighborhoods.  Areas with housing that is mostly older are affected by the resale market, remodeling, and square foot additions. Computer models that simulate neighborhood life cycles can help predict the enrollment impacts of these variables.

New Attendance Boundaries

Attendance boundary realignments are usually necessary when schools open or close and when the geographic distribution of students changes.  We use GIS software to geocode (“pin map”) students’ home addresses on an electronic map of the school district.  Once students are mapped, it is simple to experiment with alternative attendance boundaries.  New attendance boundaries can be drawn easily, and the computer automatically generates the number of students by grade (and other characteristics) in each area.  Our GIS software is flexible; there are no restrictions on the size or number of areas to be constructed, and data are produced that make it simple to evaluate large numbers of possible scenarios.

computer mapping

We use Geographic Information Systems (computer mapping) software to produce school-specific forecasts and analyses of inter- and intra-district transfers. This is necessary for analyzing which school to close or where to build a new school. We are experts in the use of GIS software for school district projects.

(Click on thumbnail for full size map in pdf format.)

School attendance boundaries for Cupertino (CA) middle schools

San Mateo Union High School District students by neighborhood income level

San Jose Unified School District private school enrollment rates

School District Clients

Acalanes Union High School District
Alameda Unified School District
Albany Unified School District
Alisal Union School District
Aspen County Day School
Banta Elementary School District
Belmont Redwood Shores School District
Brisbane Elementary School District
Carmel Unified School District
Castro Valley Unified School District
Cleveland (Ohio) Municipal School District
College of Marin
Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District
Cupertino Union School District
Emery Unified School District
Enterprise Elementary School District
Gavilan Joint Community College District
Gonzales Unified School District
Grant Joint Union High School District
Hawaii Department of Education School District
Hayward Unified School District
Lafayette School District
Larkspur School District
Los Altos School District
Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District
Monterey County Board of Education
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District
New Haven Unified School District
North Slope Borough School District (Alaska) School District
Oakland Unified School District
Orinda Union School District
Palo Alto Unified School District
Pleasanton Unified School District
Salinas City School District
Salinas Union High School District
San Francisco Unified School District
San Jacinto Unified School District
San Joaquin Delta Community College District
San Jose Unified School District
San Leandro Unified School District
San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District
San Mateo Union High School District
San Rafael City Schools School District
Santa Clara Unified School District
Sonoma County Office of Education
Sonoma Valley Unified School District
South San Francisco Unified School District
State Center Community College District
Stockton Unified School District
Twin Rivers Unified School District
Union (San Jose, CA) School District
West Valley-Mission Community College District
Whisman Elementary School District