The Prosper Independent School District board of trustees heard from Bob Templeton, president of Templeton Demographics, regarding growth in the school district at its regular meeting on April 17. If the board had any doubts about the district’s perceived growth before, Templeton firmly put those to rest, announcing his projections put the district at doubling in student enrollment by the 2021-2022 school year.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Holly Ferguson said there is value in a school district looking at these demographics.
“It is important to receive the most up to date information regarding growth and projections in order to plan for schools effectively,” she said in an email. “The board uses this information to better plan for the types of schools and their locations throughout the district that can be supported by the available funds.”
At the meeting, Templeton said his company gets its data with an actual physical presence in Prosper to keep track of the housing market, as well as receiving reports from the city about the number of plats it sees and deed transaction reports for new and existing homes.
“The housing market is performing at a very high level,” he told the board. “We’re seeing very strong growth for new home construction. We’re also seeing growth for new home values. So existing homes are selling at a very fast pace — it’s not uncommon for the sellers to get more than list price, to have multiple offers, and so it truly is a very hot housing market and we’re seeing that surge come into the Prosper school district.”
He said the area is seeing a surge of interest from retailers due to the number of rooftops arriving in Prosper. Rooftops mean population growth, he told the board, and that population growth is going to hit the Prosper school district in full force.
He said Prosper is unique from his other clients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area because Prosper is seeing more new home transactions than existing. It’s a sign that people are moving to Prosper, and these new families probably have elementary students.
“Typically elementaries grow all year long, so they do not slow down,” Templeton said to the board. “The secondaries, specifically the high school, its largest enrollment tends to be at the Christmas break. Parents don’t want to move their high school kids in spring, but the elementary is not that way. Those parents will move those kids even in April.”
What that ends up translating to is a surge of students entering the elementary schools, who will eventually move up to the secondary schools and high school, he said. Even without the addition of any new homes in the area, the simple act of students advancing to the next grade would cause the district to grow by several hundred students. But, Templeton said, Prosper is adding new homes — more than 2,500 a year to be exact.
“What you’ll notice is we’ve got you growing about 2,022 kids a year starting in about three years,” Templeton said to the board. “In five years this is going to add 10,500 kids to the district. It’s going to double in five years. And there’s only a handful of districts that have had that happen. … Not many districts are in this position.”
Perhaps it was due to the awed muttering in the audience with this announcement, but Templeton quickly added that this growth is a positive.
“This is a good thing,” Templeton said. “When you’re building 2,500 homes a year, and your average price for homes is $400,000 a house, your value at a minimum is going to grow almost a billion dollars a year.”
He next showed the board a chart tracking the growth at the elementary campuses.
“This can also take your breath away a little bit,” he cautioned, before telling the board the district is growing at more than 1,000 students a year at the elementary level. That number will continue to trend upward.
“By 2019 you’ll have six elementary schools that will have more than 1,000 kids,” Templeton said.
He pointed out the district will be opening two new elementary schools in the next two years, so there will be more capacity to handle the student load.
Templeton quickly went over the growth at the middle school and high schools levels as well, saying that by 2019 Rogers would have about 1,865 and Reynolds would have almost 2,000 students, compared to their current enrollment of 1,246 and 1,129 students, respectively. The high school had 2,515 enrolled this past fall, and he said the district will breach 3,000 by next year and will have 4,251 students by 2019.
“In closing, roughly two out of every three homes sold in Prosper ISD are new homes,” Templeton said to the board. “Within the district, there are more than 28,000 planned future lots. Light Farms accounted for nearly 18 percent for all the districts new home closings in 2016. By 2019 six elementary campuses will enroll more than 1,000 students. Prosper ISD can expect an increase of about 10,500 students during the next five years — that doubles your enrollment, you’ve doubled in five years, and by 2026 your enrollment growth could be 22,240 students and that would put your enrollment at 32,240.”
He fell silent to let the board and those present absorb those numbers. He then went on, saying that Templeton Demographics has modeled out this growth with a map of the district that allows the company to do facility planning, to help the district plan when to build its next schools and at what point it will need to have its next bond election.
“It is good news,” he told the board. “It’s a challenge, it’s an opportunity, but we work with districts that are declining in enrollment, they’re having to close schools, and that’s a much harder puzzle to deal with.”
He asked if the board had any questions, and was met with appreciation for the work he had put in to finding his information. He smiled and left the board with just two words.