Demographer LASD Enrollment Forecast – Stable, not growing

Enrollment growth stable. LASD classrooms have capacity now, may have more over time.
Written by lalahpolitico

On May 14, 2018, LASD’s Demographer — Shelly Lapkoff– presented her newest 8-year forecast of student enrollment to the LASD Board of Trustees . Enrollment for LASD only (without BCS) is forecast to be flat but within a range of slightly declining to slightly growing. The estimate includes all NEC and El Camino housing projects which are approved by the cities of Mountain View and Los Altos, but not the ones that are still just talk. The audio of the presentation can be found from the  1:02:00 time mark to the 1:40:00 time mark. 

Trustee Sangeeth Peuri suggest the board ignore the demographer’s enrollment forecast and instead focus on…

On May 14, 2018, Shelly Lapkoff presented the newest 8-year Demographer LASD Enrollment forecast to the LASD Board of Trustees. Student Enrollment for LASD only (without BCS) is forecast to be flat but within a range of slightly declining to slightly growing. The estimate includes all NEC and El Camino housing projects which are approved by the cities of Mountain View and Los Altos, but not the ones that are still “just talk.” The audio of the presentation can be found from the  1:02:00 time mark to the 1:40:00 time mark. Google Drive folder with .mp3  files. Demographer from 1:02:00 to 1:40:00

The Demographer LASD
Enrollment Forecast

Shelley Lapkoff, demographer

Her “medium” forecast is for STABLE enrollment.

Only actual planned new housing projects are included, not prospective housing projects.

If BCS grows by 300  students as it plans, LASD will have reduced enrollment of 300. The demographer says that as BCS grows, LASD shrinks, pretty much 1:1.

Demographer Highlights LASD May 2018


The Demographer “LASD only” forecast
& Lalah “what if” 800 bump

If the talked about Showers Drive housing ever were to be built by say 2025, it could add up to 800 students

The Demographers LASD + BCS Forecast
vs. Target Capacity of ~4800

On the previous graph, you can see that LASD only medium forecast is below capacity of 4800. On this graph with BCS enrollment you can see the total system exceeds target capacity. And BCS has absorbed all of that enrollment in its two 100% portables facilities.

Speculative Housing projects
where 800 students might
or might not come from by 2025

If the Kohls and Showers parcels were to ever get approval for housing, the demographer estimates it could generate from 300 to 800 more students. She chose NOT to include these numbers in her forecasts, because the housing plan approvals are still so speculative. “There could be a recession!”


NEC and on El Camino Now

LASD and BCS together serve about 800 NEC students right now.  This is two neighborhood schools, not one!

Lalah’s back of envelop calculations suggest that LASD enrollment is 14% NEC, while BCS enrollment is 8.5% NEC. BCS in the past has attributed this to the fact LASD does not want to do joint kindergarten registration outreach.

Lalahpolitio:  So consider the 10th site – 8.6 acre Old Mill/ Safeway – in Mountain View.

It could be a NEC neighborhood school with 800 now…  to as many as 1100/1600  NEC students by 2025+?  It could be a BCS school with 850 now… to 1200 students by 2025+.  The only existing LASD schools serving that kind of massive enrollment are the 15 acre+ junior high schools. Cramming this many students on that little 8.6 acres of land land is shockingly below the district norms.

So just one NEC school for all NEC students is impossible or at least undesirable given our standards. Others have proposed that the students in NEC-Palo Alto [west of San Antonio] continue to attend Santa Rita school. The rest of NEC [ perhaps 400 to 500 students ] could attend a new neighborhood school at Old Mill/ Safeway.

LASD staff are arguing Old Mill/Safeway is best for BCS. They are arguing that keeping LASD’s NEC students – some of which are from lower socioeconomic families – split into 3 groups and mixed in with preponderantly privileged[?] kids at LASD’s Covington, Almond, and Santa Rita schools is good for those less-advantaged students. Lalahpolitco: Well if that is good, perhaps even better is to split them into 7 groups and assign them to all 7 LASD elementary schools.  Let’s subsidize the bussing.  Perhaps let the families chose which school to attend – constrained by space availability like in Saratoga.  Maybe a parent who lives in NEC – P.A. and works at El Camino Hospital on Grant Road and would like his child to attend Oak!

Demographer’s BCS Forecast

Demographer LASD Enrollment Forecast

BCS has been running below its 5-year agreement enrollment cap of 900 students.  Grades 7 and 8 run at 60 or so students, while all the other younger strands run maxed out around 100 and a bit.  LASD Trustee Sangeeth Peruri asked “Why?” The demographer had no answer. Lalahpolitico: Lot’s of reasons I suppose. Perhaps parents begin to decide if the graduating BCS 6th grader is going to be going to MVLA, or if the child should enter a private prep school in 7th grade to get a spot. I suspect a significant fraction of BCS 6th grade students destined for MVLA high schools decide to enroll at Egan and Blach for 7th and 8th, for social and other reasons. I hear of many families with some kids at BCS and some kids at LASD.

1:1 Tradeoff between
LASD / BCS Growth

The demographer said that if LASD enrollment goes up by the 300, then the forecast column needs to shrink by 300. In other words, in the “medium” LASD k-6 forecast, LASD enrollment will shrink and there will be space at the seven  k-6 schools in the district.

With the expiration of the 5-year agreement, BCS plans to grow by 300 students.  BCS folks say it has around 800 students on its waiting list, so it seems reasonable to assume they WILL GROW. The demographers said, if BCS grows, that will depress LASD enrollment virtually 1:1.  Enrollment will shrink at the seven k-6 LASD schools, leaving room for students which may arrive beyond the timeline of this forecast.

Sangeeth Peruri
“Let’s ignore this 8 Year Forecast”
“It makes sense to acquire land now”

After using Lapkoff’s previous Enrollment forecasts in 2014 and 2015 to motivate the public to vote for the $150 million Measure N bond…to solve the “Enrollment Growth” problem, Trustee Peruri now says he is going to ignore this forecast.

Trustee Peruri said to ignore the enrollment forecast and think about the very long term real estate forecast

Paraphrasing Peruri…

It was a Demographer LASD Enrollment Forecast of collapsing enrollment in the 1970’s that lead earlier boards to Trustees to make the mistake of selling off 3 school sites. The demographer agreed with Peruri, it would have been better to rent out the sites.

Look at the history of 100 years, or of a very long time.  It was the in the 80’s and 90’s that the apartments west of San Antonio were built. There were not many families then. It took decades for them to age and become naturally occurring affordable housing.  That’s when we got the spurt in students.

Instead of a Demographer LASD Enrollment Forecast, Peruri says he needs a 30+-year housing forecast, based on long-term real estate projections.  He is sure that over 30 years, one can envision all the the area’s parcels – Sprouts/CVS, Village Court, Showers Drive, El Camino Los Altos – all converting to more housing.

Paraphrasing Peruri, clearly, very long term, it makes sense to acquire land now. The demographer did not disagree.

Lalahpolitico:  Evidence-based decision making? Forget about it. It’s about LASD-City of Los Altos parent privilege.



LASD Demographer Enrollment Forecast


A. Presentation – Demographer’s Report

Google Drive folder with .mp3  files. Demographer from 1:02:00 to 1:40:00

About the author


Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.