Enrollment Projections: 4 Things To Know

Enrollment Projections: 4 Things to Know About Growth and Student Housing
Posted on 09/22/2022

As the City of Maple Valley and our surrounding community continues to grow, so will our student enrollment. We want to provide you with insight into our projected growth, what we’re doing to proactively address increased enrollment, and how you can stay involved along the way. The most crucial element in this planning is how we move forward together with our Tahoma Family to provide a top-tier educational experience for students that aligns with our community’s goals. Here are 4 things to know about enrollment and student housing:

1. Demographer’s 10-Year Projections Show Continued Growth

Graph showing enrollment projections

According to the district demographer’s report from April 2022 (Les Kendrick, Ph.D.), the medium growth projections for the Tahoma School District over a 10-year period (from Oct. 2021 to Oct. 2031) show an expected increase of 1,209 students

  • Please note: This figure is “headcount enrollment” and includes every student who is enrolled in a TSD school, regardless of classes/time spent on campus. To adequately address student housing, our district uses “full-time equivalent” or “FTE” as our calculation (For example, our June 2022 headcount enrollment was 8,632 and our FTE was 8,441, a difference of 191 students).

Historic enrollment trends

The pandemic impacted many public school districts’ enrollment in our region, including our own. While the District’s enrollment is not as high as its peak in 2019 (8,846), we were one of a small handful of King Co. districts that saw an enrollment increase from 2020 to 2021. That is one of the reasons that the demographer’s report projects long-term growth.

The demographer’s report also outlines projections for distribution by age level and school (based on the current boundary). Here is the forecast for each school’s medium growth projections through Oct. 2026, based on headcount enrollment:

Enrollment forecast by school

2. Growth in the City of Maple Valley

The City of Maple Valley updated its Comprehensive Plan in Nov. 2021, and the City is currently projected to add approx. 1,700 households between 2019 and 2044. To meet the State of Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA) requirement to prevent “urban sprawl,” the City is providing additional capacity. Our District is monitoring the City’s growth as we consider our student housing needs in both the short and long term.

More information about the development code amendments to the City’s plan can be found online. School Board Vice President Pete Miller participated in a video Q&A this spring regarding the City’s growth, its impact on the District, and how we’re monitoring that growth.

3. Proactive Planning for Growth

You may be wondering what the Tahoma School District plans to do to accommodate the projected growth, or what Tahoma is doing now to prepare for the future. Tahoma has a Housing Committee made up of district staff, parents/guardians and students. The committee was formed prior to the pandemic with the goal of considering short-term (1 year) and long-term (10-year) student housing solutions and to eventually make a recommendation to the school board. The committee did not make any recommendations before we transitioned to remote learning. Last school year, the committee reconvened and engaged an architect to consider our existing spaces and how those might be modified to optimize their use for students. We will continue to update our stakeholders on the committee’s work moving forward.

Other solutions have included adding capacity at some of our schools. Last school year, a modular classroom building was installed at Cedar River Elementary School, and a new double portable classroom was installed at Glacier Park Elementary at the start of the current school year.

4. Your Partnership is the Key!

This is where YOU come in! As we consider growth over the coming years, it’s critical that the District and stakeholders stay engaged and have continued dialogue about the needs of our students and community interests. Our school board is eager to hear from stakeholders on how to plan for the future while maintaining a high standard for providing the learning spaces, educational programs and extracurricular opportunities that every student deserves.

We encourage you to follow along for continued updates on student housing and opportunities for stakeholder input. Consider connecting with your school board directors and offer your thoughts as we navigate the growth of our school district.

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