Sunday, October 16, 2016


The late 90's and early 2000's saw a shift in public school enrollment across the Treasure Valley. Families increasingly moved from Boise into the suburban areas, first to Meridian and subsequently to other parts of the valley in search of more affordable real estate. Boise's enrollment shrank, and Meridian (now West Ada)'s exploded. Using State Department of Education data, we have put together a chart-based examination of the shift.

Boise and West Ada

The districts' enrollment paths crossed in 2003; since then, West Ada has grown by about 11,600 students, and Boise by about 150. And that's with about 1150 West Ada students open enrolled to Boise's schools. 

West Ada's kindergarten enrollment grew by leaps and bounds during this period, even though it has declined recently. Even though kindergarten enrollment grew in Boise until recently, the pace of growth was not even remotely close to that of West Ada.

But something else was happening, as well. Not only was West Ada's kindergarten enrollment growing dramatically from year to year, but classes entering the system grew substantially as they progressed toward graduation.

Here are the classes of '15 and '16 from the two districts, from kindergarten through 12th grade:

In the West Ada District, the classes of 2015 and 2016 grew by 29% and 27%, respectively, as they progressed through the grades. In Boise, the class of 2015 grew by 2% and the class of 2016 was about the same size in kindergarten as it was in 12th grade.

Smaller Treasure Valley Districts

Here's the 20-year enrollment pattern for four smaller Treasure Valley districts:

As you can see, Vallivue's enrollment has jumped from about 3000 to just over 8500 in 20 years, and Kuna's student population has more than doubled in the same time period. The Vallivue District had only one 4A high school in 1995; Vallivue High then moved to 5A (largest athletic classification), and now the district has 2 4A schools, after opening a new high school, Ridgevue, this year. Kuna is in its first year with a 5A high school.

Kindergarten enrollment over time:

Again, Vallivue's kindergarten enrollment has more than tripled in the past 20 years, going from 212 in 1995 to 672 last year. Kuna's kindergarten enrollment has also grown substantially.

And finally, a longitudinal look at k-12 enrollment in the four districts:

With the exception of Caldwell, each district saw enrollment growth from k to 12, with Kuna's class growing the by over 100 students. However, Caldwell's class of 2016 was 200 smaller than when it started out.