HISD superintendent says closing schools will be the last option amid troubling decline in enrollment

HOUSTON – At the top of the mind of Houston Independent School District leaders is enrollment.

New data from the district shows it’s down 14% since the 2016 school year.

“We’re at an enrollment of about 190,000 students, and that is significantly lower than what we’ve seen in the last 10 years,” HISD Superintendent Millard House II said.

A concern is enrollment is going down as the cost to educate a student goes up. A projected $26 million loss for the 2023 school year.

Superintendent House says this is a statewide trend. Gentrification, cost of living in the city, and COVID-19 are a few factors.

So, KPRC 2′s Sabirah Rayford asked what they’re doing to change the curve. He said to streamline the enrollment process and additional investments in Pre-K.

“We know that getting students in at an early time frame will allow us to keep them because they’ll feel good about those quality programs they’re in,” he said.

At a school board meeting on Thursday night, a graphic showed enrollment is directly linked to funding schools and departments.

A concern is school closures.

However, House says it won’t be happening this school year.

“I think it’s important that we’re very clear that anything that has to do with school closures and consolidations will be the last option,” he said

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