Rising Housing Prices Blamed for Students Leaving Silicon Valley Schools - NBC Bay Area
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Rising Housing Prices Blamed for Students Leaving Silicon Valley Schools

Santa Clara County school districts have seen significant declines in student population in the last couple years.

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    Rising Housing Prices Blamed for Students Leaving Silicon Valley Schools
    Cumberland Elementary School educates students within the Sunnyvale School District. That district is one of many in Santa Clara county with record low enrollment.

    Many Santa Clara County school districts are experiencing low levels of enrollment in part because of the rise in housing prices. Hundreds of students have left some districts over the last few years.

    “Districts have had students disappear,” said Tom Williams, a demographer of Bay Area schools. Williams has been monitoring school enrollment patterns in the Bay Area since 1985.

    Overall enrollment at county schools has increased. Exactly 276,689 students were enrolled in Santa Clara County schools during the 2014-2015 school year, according to the latest count from the County Office of Education. That is an increase of over 500 students.

    Individual districts, however, have seen significant declines in student population in the last couple years. Evergreen School District in San Jose has been the hardest hit, with more than 600 students having left the district in the last year.

    Williams said Silicon Valley schools were growing until 2013, after which numbers begin to decline. He believes the shift in enrollment is connected to the rise in rental prices around the area.

    "The cost of housing has just totally eclipsed everything else," Williams said.

    A few districts have grown in the last year. Santa Clara Unified School District gained 83 students thanks to a rise in housing developments.

    Yet, Williams said the growth should be more pronounced considering the amount of housing units. He believes many of the new rentals are being occupied by DINK couples — double income no kids.

    Many families with school-age children have been priced out of the area.

    "I've never seen a situation before where the median rents and housing values are unaffordable to the median income,” Williams said. “If majority of the families can't afford the housing stock, something has got to give."

    Below is a list of enrollment trends for Santa Clara County Districts.

    Enrollment changes in select Santa Clara County and Alameda County school district.
    Photo credit: Santa Clara County Office of Education

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