Overcrowding in Highland Park Schools Caused by Single Family Home & Rental Home Growth

HightlandParkHSOver the last ten years, Highland Park Independent School System has seen a 14% increase in enrollment. Dr. Dawson Orr, Superintendent of the Highland Park Independent School System, recently sent out an announcement to the mayors, councilmembers and city managers of Dallas, Highland Park and University Park explaining the drivers of HPISD enrollment. What are they? Students coming in from single family homes being built faster than light speed, and families leasing homes in the Park Cities due to a new policy at SMU that requires freshman and sophomores to live on campus. Actually, that’s a good policy. Students get into less travieso in the dorms than private homes unsupervised, I think. But it has opened up a lot of inexpensive rental property to families with children, potentially.

Enrollment in HPISD, one of the state’s most coveted school districts, has experienced enrollment growth from 6,172 to 7,037, a 14 percent increase. Here are 10-year and 50-year glances at  district-wide enrollment numbers:10_year_enrollment2 50_year_enrollment2

Here’s what Dr. Orr has to say about the proposed Highland House development:

We respect each municipal councils’ authority over the consideration of real estate development proposals, and we believe in working closely with our city partners to share enrollment updates and other information that affects us all. However, we do not believe that it is appropriate for the school district to advocate for or against specific real estate projects.

Many of our parents have contacted us with concerns over the high rise proposed for Preston Center. None of us can accurately project what the effect would be on HPISD enrollment, but according to the developer, this proposed property will target empty nesters and young professionals. In the interest of estimating what the impact would be if the project moves forward, we will use The Shelton condominiums, off Luther Lane and the Tollway, as a point of comparison.

  • The Shelton: 121 units (24 students spread over K-12)

  • Crosland proposed development: 200-240 units

5 Comment

  • mm

    I don’t know what kind of impact 48 students would have on the district. Is that a sizable number? Or reasonable?

    • mm

      It’s about 4 students per classroom. This overcrowding is a real problem, but it cannot stop progress. Thank you, Robin Hood!

      • Candy,

        I think you meant 4 students per grade, not classroom. 48 additional students spread over 4 elementary campuses, one middle school and 1 high school. Or about 0.7% increase in overall district population.

        I’ve yet to read any statistical evidence of a net increase in Park Cities housing despite claims made here and elsewhere. Could it be that the Bubble is becoming more desirable due to other, namely external factors?

        • mm

          Thank you, yes I meant grade. The housing increase on the rentals would come from SMU students not leasing homes. I suppose in this market, with land values so high, owners of rental properties might be willing to sell to home builders. If empty nesters do sell when children are in college, that could be another source. I know one thing: they aren’t making any more land!

        • mm

          So I guess, the real total increase in students will be a maximum of 80, should Crosland get 400 units into Highland House.
          And the Park Cities have always been desirable, but as more people relocate to our area, especially executives moving for corporate relocation, they look for the best schools, shopping, and amenities, and the Park Cities has them. Truly, they flock to the area like Junebugs on a porch light.
          HPISD is the significant factor, but considering that the district is landlocked and cannot easily add additional schools as DISD can … well, perhaps the district will be faced with some increasingly tough decisions.