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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Priced out of the playground

Rising home costs straining youth enrollment at Coppell
Maddy Park
With more custom built houses and luxury apartments being developed, Coppell’s real estate prices have experienced a dramatic increase in recent years. As a result of the high housing rates, less young families are moving to Coppell and enrollment in Coppell ISD schools has dropped.

Recess isn’t quite what it used to be with fewer kids than ever racing down slides and climbing over monkey bars
. As cafeteria tables become increasingly empty, the vacant seats pose one question: where did the kids go?

Coppell ISD is experiencing an overall drop in elementary school enrollment. The number of kindergarteners, first graders and second graders enrolled in CISD public elementary schools has declined since 2018. 

Zonda, a company specializing in providing data and market analysis for the housing industry, gathered specific data from Coppell that can shed light on this trend.

This year, according to Zonda, there is a 351-student difference between the kindergarten and senior classes. Over the next decade, as these kindergarteners grow into seniors, there will be smaller enrollment numbers throughout the entire primary education schooling system from K-12. Zonda projects kindergarten enrollment to decrease anywhere from 3-7% every year, as it has in the past few years.

“Ten years ago, we had an equal distribution of all ages of kids moving into and out of the district,” said Bob Templeton, vice president of the school district segment for Zonda. “Now there’s a large bubble of students exiting the district and a smaller bubble coming in.” 

According to Templeton, one of the possible causes of this low elementary enrollment is the desire for alternative education in Coppell. According to Zonda, despite the 2017 birth rate in Coppell being the highest in over 10 years, only 64.3% of these kids chose to attend kindergarten in the city’s public schools this year. This is a record low for Coppell. Instead, Templeton says hundreds of parents opt for charter schools, private schools, homeschooling or transfer to different districts. 

Even just four years back, 79.7% of students born in Coppell continued on to public schools. There is more than a 100-student gap in enrolled students between those four years.

Undeniably, alternative education contributes to the declining enrollment of young children, but more than anything else – it’s about real estate.

The average price of homes in Coppell has risen according to Zonda Home. The high housing cost has contributed to a decline in the number of families moving to Coppell. (Ahana Roy)

The average price of a new home in Coppell last year was $725,497, a price far exceeding the city’s previous housing costs. Over the past decade, there has been a withstanding upward trend in Coppell housing prices, but at an over $140,000 increase in average home cost from 2021 to 2022, there are concerns regarding the rapidly increasing house prices.

It boils down to the fact that Coppell isn’t just losing kids; it’s losing space.

“Coppell is built out,” Mayor Pro Tem John Jun said. “We don’t have any more room.” 

A city with over 140 years of history, Coppell can no longer grow. The town is developed with buildings, businesses and housing with almost every rare parcel of empty land having plans for future development.

Blackberry Farm, a gated community with custom home sites, is currently being developed near the intersection of East Sandy Lake Road and MacArthur Boulevard in Coppell. As a result of the high housing rates, less young families are moving to Coppell and enrollment in Coppell ISD schools has dropped.
(Maddy Park)

With little space left for new housing, families with young kids desiring to move to Coppell must buy a spot from a previous resident looking to sell their home. But these types of residents are becoming hard to find. 

Although Coppell is known for its education, empty nesters seem to keep their love for the city long after their kids graduate.

“Coppell is a desirable area to live in,” Jun said. “I came to Coppell 24 years ago. From when I first drove in, I fell in love with the atmosphere, and I stayed because of the kids and I stayed because of the family-oriented community we have. The city will continue to provide a high quality of life as much as possible, and that means many residents will want to stay even after their kids are out of the house.” 

With no space left for new houses and a declining supply of existing homes, the only opportunities newcomers have for a spot in Coppell are the housing developments currently being built. With excess demand for the city and so little supply of homes and land, these new communities have exorbitant housing prices.

Blackberry Farm, a gated community under construction, features custom homes ranging from $1.5 million to more than $2.5 million. Not lagging far behind, the new Red Hawk garden home community has house listings from $1.2 million to more than $2 million. 

Red Hawk is a garden home community that offers residents of Coppell the opportunity to create their own custom homes. As a result of the high housing rates, less young families are moving to Coppell and enrollment in Coppell ISD schools has dropped. (Maddy Park)

These listings are far from affordable prices for the average young family. It hinders a lot of newcomers who want to raise families in the Coppell community. With the lack of new families and new kids entering the city, it’s inevitable that Coppell will continue to lose enrollment in public elementary schools. 

The biggest problem this creates for CISD is funding. 

“Adjusting for inflation and the increased costs of everything related to operating our schools would require an increase of $1,000 per student,” CISD trustee Nicole Bentley said. “That is how insufficient per student funding under the current formula is.”

According to Bentley, the state’s educational funding is tied to the number of students attending school each day. So, as kindergarten classes continue to dwindle, Coppell is sure to build a larger deficit per student.

Despite the predicament, Texas is doing little to support CISD. Last year, Texas had a budget surplus of more than $27 billion, a record-breaking high. But there have yet to be any bills passed to allocate a portion of the surplus towards education. This means that CISD has received zero additional dollars of funding from the extra $27 billion Texas had last year.

“The problem becomes how you handle and take care of the students that you have, knowing that enrollment is going to decline for the next five years at least,” Templeton said. 

Past CISD budgets have already shown millions of dollars in deficits. If budgets take even further cuts, Coppell will have to take action, yet there only seems to be two possible solutions. 

The Board of Trustees may be forced to propose increasing taxes, shifting the burden of education funding onto residents. Otherwise, they would have to decrease spending. This could mean redrawing boundaries, re-evaluating operation costs, cutting staff and shutting down schools. 

For now, the district will pull from its financial reserves if it encounters a budget deficit according to a Board of Trustee decision, but there have yet to be long-term plans in place to keep funding stable.

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About the Contributors
Manasa Borra, Staff Designer
Manasa Borra is a junior and staff designer at The Sidekick. She loves playing badminton and reading mystery novels in her spare time. You can contact her at [email protected].
Maddy Park, Staff Photographer
Staff photographer Maddy Park ended up in The Sidekick in an unexpected way. After landing a leg injury, Park had to switch out of soccer and decided ‘Why not join the school’s newspaper?’ From owning her own Sidekick subscriptions before, Park has always enjoyed reading and looking at pages on the newspaper, and decided she wanted to be a part of it all. Ever since middle school, Park has been part of the art program and appreciates what it brings to the table. Outside of school, Park plays for her club soccer team, DKSC and has been playing soccer since kindergarten. She enjoys being part of a team and getting to support one another. Her favorite movie is Lalaland and her favorite artist is JOJI. You can contact her through her email at [email protected] or on Instagram at @maddy.yp_73.

Ahana Roy, Staff Designer

Ahana Roy is a sophomore at Coppell High School, and her favorite class is The Sidekick even though this is her first year both at Coppell High School and as a staffer on The Sidekick. The reason The Sidekick spiked her interest is because she wanted to have an outlet for expressing her interest in designing graphics and drawing cartoons. Ahana likes drawing cartoons and designing graphics because she finds it very relaxing and a stress reliever. They are things she wants to get better at while at The Sidekick and throughout her years at CHS. Ahana’s favorite manga is JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, which is a tangible application of the drawing that has influenced her.  Her favorite food is mutton biryani which is a delicacy in some parts of India. Ahana likes to listen to Bollywood, K-Pop, and electronic music. In her free time, Ahana loves playing video games, binge-watching television shows and reading comic books. When Ahana leaves CHS, she wants to go to the University of Texas at Austin and become a software engineer. You can reach her at @[email protected] if you have any questions or want to learn more about her!

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