School enrollment will continue to increase, consultant says

By Andy Muntz | Jan 17, 2014

“Enrollment is going up,” said consultant Dr. Les Kendrick in a report to the Mukilteo School Board on Monday. “We might quibble about how much and when, but it is going up.”

Kendrick, an expert in the field of forecasting school enrollment and a consultant to the Mukilteo School District for more than 15 years, told the board members that total enrollment will increase from its current level of about 14,900 students to about 16,000 students by 2020 and to 17,000 students five years after that.

Citing data from Snohomish County birth rates and new housing construction in the school district area, Kendrick said the most immediate problem the school district faces is with enrollment at the elementary level, which currently stands at 7,118 students.

He estimates that elementary enrollment will increase by about 350 students during the next five years.

Kendrick pointed out that there are two very large multi-family complexes planned to be built within the school district in the next two years that will offer three- and four-bedroom units.

He said those units probably will generate a greater number of students than a typical apartment complex with one- and two-bedroom units.

He also explained that the families that move into new housing units tend to have younger children, which contributes to the enrollment growth at the elementary level.

Long-range forecasts indicate that elementary enrollment could increase to more than 7,800 students by 2025, an increase of almost 700 students over the current enrollment.

By way of comparison, the typical elementary school is designed to hold about 600 students.

Kendrick said the Mukilteo School District increased its enrollment faster than any other school district in Snohomish County this year. The school district saw its total enrollment increase by about 250 students from 2012 to 2013.

He explained that one of the reasons enrollment growth has increased faster in the Mukilteo School District is because of the high percentage of multi-family housing in the district.

School districts with a high proportion of single-family homes saw a greater drop in enrollment during the recent economic downturn, he said.

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