The Demographic Reality
Several reliable demographic studies all come to the same conclusion that the population in the ABC School
District is aging and the number of school-age children is decreasing.
Southern California Association of Governments
Southern California Association of Governments or SCAG is the nation's largest metropolitan planning
organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents. Its
Regional Transportation Plan 2012-2035 of 2012
shows the total population in the ABC School District (Artesia, Cerritos, Hawaiian
Gardens plus 10% of Lakewood) will increase by 3% from 87800 in 2010 to 90460 in 2035, whereas the 0-16
year-old portion of this population will decrease by 3% from 20370 to 19811 during the same period of time.
American Community Survey
The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing statistical survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, sent to
approximately 250,000 addresses monthly (or 3 million per year). It regularly gathers information previously
contained only in the long form of the decennial census. It is the largest survey other than the decennial
census that the Census Bureau administers.
According to data based on the 2009
American Community Survey, ABC school district is experiencing a severe decline in school-age children
population. The following chart shows that in 2009, there were 8500 15-19 year olds, 9058 10-14 year olds,
6666 5-9 year olds, 6361 0-5 year olds. Thus, the total number of 5-19 year olds was 24224 in 2009, but 22085
in 2014, suggesting a decrease of 2139 in that population.
Davis Demographics and Planning, Inc.
DDP is a premier firm providing demographic analysis and long-range
planning and ESRI-based GIS software applications for K-12 school districts. It is assisting close to 200 school
districts throughout the U.S. In 2008, ABC School District hired DDP to perform a demographic study. The resulting
report was never made public, but here is an incomplete copy of the DDP Report.
By school and by grade level, this report depicts the enrollment forecast for the ABC School District with shocking
accuracy. For a quick summary, here is the enrollment projection on page 16.
Following is a chart of the total enrollment of in-district students from 2008 to 2015 based on this projection.
Amazingly, DDP was also able to predict the increase of out-of-district students during the same period
of time, as shown in the following chart.
ABC School District's Enrollment Data
ABC school district's enrollment data from 2003 to 2009 echoes the enrollment projection in the DDP Report.
Yet there appears to be a reversal of the trend from 2009 to 2013. Upon closer analyses of the
district's enrollment data, however, it is clear that the downward trend of
in-district student enrollment has been continuing unabated.
The upward trend in enrollment figures is entirely due to an ever more successful effort to recruit students
from outside of the school district by inter-district permit.
Reduced school enrollment leads to reduced need for school facilities. Many schools are operating with a
student population way below their capacity, some schools are nearly half empty.
The five "over-crowded" schools have student populations over their enrollment capacity all because of the
inter-district enrollment policy. For example, Cerritos Elementary has a capacity of 676 students, but an overall
enrollment of 707 in 2013, making it 31 students over capacity. However, of the 707 students, only 615 are in-district,
which is 61 students below capacity.
While there is nothing wrong sharing our surplus school facilities with students from neighboring cities,
making long-term investment in those same facilities is a different matter. Unless there is good reason to believe
the current demographic trend won't continue, it's necessary to re-assess our real need for school facilities
and consolidate before making any decision on new capital investment. As our
case studies show, this can be done in a way that will benefit all
As is stated on the website of California
Department of Education, "A decision not to close a school, however, amidst circumstances of declining enrollment
and economic necessity, can be imprudent. And while the immediate effects of closing a school may be painful, the
long-term effects can be beneficial to everyone." It is already wrong not to heed the advice of the State DOE and
muster the courage to do the right thing, and it is even more wrong to force taxpayers to invest in school facilities
they no longer need.