May 9, 2014

Dear HPISD Parents,


Dawson.Orr.7.2.2013 As the Highland Park ISD community prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, we are also working to accommodate a steady increase in student population.


Over the last decade alone, we have experienced enrollment growth from 6,172 to 7,037, a 14 percent increase. Here are 10-year and 50-year glances at our districtwide enrollment numbers:


Our Board of Trustees is considering every possible option for accommodating growth in a densely populated district with little land for sale. Despite the growth, the only campus that's been built since Hyer opened in 1949 is McCulloch Intermediate/Highland Park Middle School, which replaced the old middle school in 1995. Over the decades, we have added onto every campus to build capacity.
What are the drivers behind the enrollment boom? We asked the demographic study firm of Population and Survey Analysts to give us a snapshot. The firm examined growth from January 2010 to January 2011 and found that:
  • Enrollment grew by 270 new students.
  • 213 of the students lived in single-family residences, accounting for 79 percent of the growth.
  • 43 of the students lived in condominiums/townhomes, accounting for 16 percent of the growth.
  • 14 of the students lived in apartments, accounting for 5 percent of the growth
In addition, the following drivers may play a part:
  • SMU's policy requiring first- and second-year students to live on campus may result in more families with children living in rental properties.
  • The booming Dallas economy is attracting more people to the area, and quality education is always a factor for families making housing decisions. In the end, there are many factors leading to enrollment growth.
We are looking forward to an updated demographic study in June, and we will share the results with you.
There are three cities represented in our school district:
  • The City of University Park
  • The Town of Highland Park
  • The City of Dallas
We respect each municipal councils' authority over the consideration of real estate development proposals, and we believe in working closely with our city partners to share enrollment updates and other information that affects us all. However, we do not believe that it is appropriate for the school district to advocate for or against specific real estate projects.
Many of our parents have contacted us with concerns over the high rise proposed for Preston Center. None of us can accurately project what the effect would be on HPISD enrollment, but according to the developer, this proposed property will target empty nesters and young professionals. In the interest of estimating what the impact would be if the project moves forward, we will use The Shelton condominiums, off Luther Lane and the Tollway, as a point of comparison.
  • The Shelton: 121 units (24 students spread over K-12)
  • Crosland proposed development: 200-240 units
If we double the number of students coming to us from the The Shelton, it would mean approximately 50 new students over grades K-12, which would average four students per grade level. Currently, there are fewer than five Hyer elementary students from the Shelton. We wouldn't anticipate that all the new students would arrive at once, since the project would take several years to complete and occupy, assuming all the necessary approvals are obtained.
The district is committed to serving any students living within our boundaries, whether their families are buying older properties and building new homes or moving into condos and apartments.
We appreciate your partnership with us.


Dawson Orr, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
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