HUNTINGTON BEACH : Increase in District Enrollment Seen

Enrollment in the Huntington Beach City School District is expected to steadily climb during each of the five next years, according to an independent study released this week.

The district, which suffered a deep, decade-long enrollment plunge until 1987, has since recovered, and is expected to continue to attract more students, the report said.

District enrollment, which now stands at about 5,540, is projected to rise by about 2% in each of the next five years, surpassing 6,100 students by 1996.

Those figures do not include more than 1,000 new students anticipated within the next decade because of the massive Holly-Seacliff and Bolsa Chica housing developments. A new elementary school will be built in the Holly-Seacliff area, and other mitigation is being planned for the still-unapproved Bolsa Chica proposal.

The additional 2% growth is expected because of smaller housing developments cropping up citywide and large apartment complexes that are producing more students than previously. Also, new families are moving into the city with school-age children, and existing residents are having more children, the study said.

The report brings both good and bad news to the district. Additional students mean additional state revenue, so the school district's future financial picture appears brighter.

But many district schools are already filled to capacity and have little or no room for additional portable classrooms.

For example, the student growth is expected to be concentrated at Eader, Kettler and Smith elementary schools, which have the least amount of available space among district schools, the report said.

To avoid overcrowding, the district may have to open one of its four closed sites, build a new middle school or expand busing. A separate study is being done to consider reorganizing the district's use of school sites and other facilities.

In general, the enrollment expansion is expected to be concentrated in the west, but most of the available school space is at the district's eastern sites.

The district's enrollment grew steadily until 1975, when it peaked at 8,311.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World