New housing boosts DMUSD enrollment

The Del Mar Union School District will kick off the school year welcoming a lot of new students due to the increased and expedited new housing developments in Pacific Highlands Ranch. According to Jason Romero, assistant superintendent of human resources, there is room at the schools and teachers are excited for more “amazing” families to join the district.

In 2015-16, the district’s enrollment was at 4,389 students and the district is projected to reach 4,527 students this year.

With one specific apartment building in Pacific Highlands Ranch, the student generation factor the district had been using was blown out of the water, Romero said.

“Attainable housing brought two times the amount of students, therefore we needed to increase the amount of teachers,” Romero said of the new moderate income units which led to the district’s hiring of six additional teachers for the school year.

At Avino, the luxury-style one-to-three-bedroom apartment units, only four students have been enrolled of the 15 occupied units, generating far fewer than other developments in the district. Avino is planned for 276 total apartments with 80 expected to be completed this year.

At Cielo Carmel’s one-to-three-bedroom attainable units, they are seeing a much higher generation factor than any other development in the district’s boundary, Romero said. The district has already enrolled over 40 students from the first 100 units and are projecting up to 70 by year’s end.

“At build out for the 197 units, we will likely exceed 100 students coming from that complex,” Romero said.

Ashley Falls School will see the largest increase in new students. In 2015-16, the enrollment was at 387 students. Ashley Falls is projected to start the year with 455 students and the population is expected to grow to 472 students by February 2017 as more single family homes become occupied in Pacific Highlands Ranch. Sycamore Ridge will also experience growth with new students from Pacific Highlands Ranch — its enrollment is projected to raise from 490 in 2015-16 to 546 this school year.

Torrey Hills Elementary School will continue its uptick in enrollment with the two nearby apartment complexes of Torrey Gardens and Ocean Air Apartments — the school is expected to reach 661 students as the units will be fully occupied by mid-October.

Sage Canyon will remain the largest school in the district for the next few years with 722 students projected this year, while Del Mar Hills remains the smallest with 319 students.

On average, district class sizes are smaller in kindergarten through third grade at a ratio of 20.6 to one. In grades fourth through sixth, the ratio is 25.6 to one. There will only be three combination classes in the district this year.

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