The district uses a variety of sources and variables to develop enrollment forecasts. For each neighborhood school, staff analyzes the interaction between four historic variables, including:
Resident population -- total number of students eligible to attend a school based on grade level and residence
Resident attending population -- percentage of the resident population actually enrolled in their neighborhood school
Nonresident population -- students enrolled at a school who reside in another school's attendance area
Birth trends -- which are the basis for future kindergarten enrollment.
The estimated student generation from any anticipated new residential development is then added to the base school site forecast. A district forecast by grade is also developed using a similar methodology.
The 2014-15 enrollment forecast will be available in Spring 2014.
Enrollment in the district has declined since the 2000-2001 school year, when the student population reached 142,260, but it has stabilized since 2007-08 at around 132,000. This decline followed more than 20 years of steady growth in the 1980's and 1990's. This growth period is referred to as the "Baby Boom Echo," where an influx into San Diego of families with school-age children led to rapidly rising enrollments, especially in the Mid-City area where enrollments at some elementary schools doubled and even tripled. The increases were later felt at middle and high schools.
Growth since the late 1990's has been concentrated primarily in the northern portion of the district because of new residential development in Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch. However, the student population density remains highest in portions of Mid-City, which also have the city's highest overall population density. Enrollment decline since 2000-01 has been most significant in areas experiencing gentrification—the older neighborhoods surrounding Balboa Park being one example—as well as areas with large numbers of rental housing units suitable for families (such as south San Diego). Increased residential redevelopment occurring in the Downtown/East Village area has thus far not generated a significant public school population, but district staff is closely monitoring this activity and working with city staff to plan for new school facilities should they be needed.
To alleviate overcrowding at new schools and modernize existing schools, voters approved Proposition MM, the $1.51 billion bond measure that provided funding for improvements at 161 existing schools, the building of 12 new schools and the rebuilding of three additional schools.