Whether you are the parent of a school-aged child looking to enroll in the district or simply a resident who understands the link between strong schools and quality of life in your local community, student enrollment is an important topic on which everyone should be informed. This month's edition of our e-newsletter is dedicated to the subject of student enrollment in the Cypress School District and strives to answer your frequently asked questions. We hope you will take a few minutes to learn more.  
Anne Silavs
When and how do I enroll my child in kindergarten or transitional kindergarten?

Each February, the Cypress School District hosts a Parent Information Meeting to support families enrolling their children in kindergarten or transitional kindergarten. This year, the event will be held on Tuesday, February 13, at the Cypress Community Center. Two sessions will be offered, a morning session from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. and an evening session from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Information about the district's kindergarten programs will be provided along with an overview of the enrollment process. Parents will also have the opportunity to meet our school principals. Following the formal presentation, staff will be on hand to answer additional questions about enrollment timelines, residency requirements, mandated immunizations, and our academic programs. Onsite preschool and afterschool care providers will be present to share information with interested parents. Enrollment packets will be available for pick-up at your school of residence beginning Wednesday, February 14. We encourage parents to return the required paperwork as soon as possible so we can begin forming classes for next year. For more information on enrolling your child in school, please visit our district website. For additional details regarding the Parent Information Meeting, please click here to view the event flyer
What is the current state of student enrollment in the Cypress School District?

While the exact number of students enrolled in the district fluctuates throughout the school year, as of January 30, the district is currently serving 3,973 students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade on six school campuses. Preliminary projections for the 2018/19 school year indicate that the district will serve approximately 149 fewer students next year simply because we are promoting an especially large class of sixth grade students and expecting a more average-sized class of new kindergartners.
What are the student enrollment trends over time in the Cypress School District?

In the 1950s, the Cypress School District served less than 1,000 students. In the 1960s, the district experienced significant growth and, in 1969, student enrollment spiked to almost 8,000 students. However, that trend didn't last. By the early 1980s, the number of students served in the district dropped by more than 50 percent. The chart below provides a historical view of student enrollment in the Cypress School District from 1982 through 2016.
Click to enlarge
What about all of the new housing developments in the community? How have they impacted student enrollment in the district?

Given that student enrollment in the district has remained fairly steady over the past five years and is actually projected to decline next year, the short answer is that new housing in Cypress is not having a significant impact on the district's student enrollment. If anything, new housing may be the reason why the district's enrollment has been holding steady these past few years. The State Allocation Board publishes a student-per-dwelling ratio to help school districts plan for new housing developments in their communities. The average for elementary school districts, such as Cypress School District, is 0.5 students per household. For example, a new development of 50 homes would bring approximately 25 new students of various elementary school ages to the district over time. It is important to remember the 0.5 ratio is a statewide average. While some people might make the case that Orange County is a desirable place to live and that the number of students could actually be higher, others could argue that home prices in Orange County are not affordable for young families, which results in fewer students. Furthermore, that argument is supported by the fact that 24 out of 27 school districts in Orange County experienced a decline in enrollment from 2016/17 to 2017/18, a loss totaling over 5,600 students. However, despite this trend, the district is prepared to act should there be a substantial growth in student enrollment in the coming years. The district owns three closed schools; any one of which the Board of Trustees could open if there is a future need.
How important is student enrollment to a school district?

It's big. Educating students is what we do, and providing a well-rounded, high-quality program that prepares students for success in college and career costs money. Next year, when Governor Brown's Local Control Funding Formula is fully implemented, the Cypress School District will receive $8,585 per student per year to run its educational program. Based on the student population we serve, this amount is considerably less than our surrounding districts. Fully half of the elementary school districts in Orange County receive per-student funding of at least one thousand dollars per student more than we do here in the Cypress School District. So we have to be financially smarter to make it all work!

Huntington Beach City School District 
$   8,239 
Fountain Valley School District
$   8,390 
Cypress School District
$   8,585 
Fullerton School District
$   8,745 
Ocean View School District
$   8,777 
Centralia Elementary School District
$   9,294 
Westminster School District
$   9,943 
La Habra City School District
$ 10,046 
Savanna School District
$ 10,053 
Buena Park School District
$ 10,200 
Magnolia School District
$ 10,725 
Anaheim Elementary School District
$ 10,798 

For these reasons, it is especially important to maintain stability in our student enrollment. A large drop could negatively impact district resources and, ultimately, student programs. The district has taken a number of steps to protect its educational program from this kind of volatility. Dating back to the 1990s, district leaders worked to develop local income sources, independent of Sacramento, and we continue those efforts today. The Cypress Park Senior Community, located on the former Cypress Elementary School campus, is one such example of a local revenue stream.
Another strategy the district uses to lessen the impact of declining enrollment is the acceptance of interdistrict transfer requests. It is important to note that Cypress School District is a highly sought-after district and receives numerous requests every year from families wishing to have their kids attend our schools. Currently, 311 students are here on transfers from other districts, finding the educational quality of the Cypress schools meets their needs well. In turn, these students help stabilize the state revenue we receive, supporting a stronger program over time. Of course, such transfers are allowed only after all local resident students are successfully placed. No transfer student "bumps" any local student.
Candi Kern   .  Sandra Lee   .  Donna McDougall   .  Brian Nakamura   .  Lydia Sondhi, Ph.D.
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