District expecting jump in enrollment 

It doesn’t take anything more than elementary math to understand that more children being born in the four ZIP codes that feed into the San Mateo-Foster City School District means more students in future local classrooms.

But a recent jump in births has one consulting firm rechecking their figures while the school district prepares for a welcome surge of students in coming years.

For the last four years, Tom Williams and San Mateo’s Enrollment Projection Consultants have tracked birth rates and neighborhood demographics to help the school district predict how many students they will receive each year. Williams said the data is rarely wrong.

But according to Williams’ statistics from the California Department of Health Statistics, births in 2002 — which translate into kindergarten students in 2007 — were at an all-time high of 1,822, 57 higher than births in 2001. By comparison, the increase between 2000 and 2001 was just 9 births.

In 2003, those births rose another 69 and the numbers increased by 70 in 2004. In 2005, births rose by 57, bringing the total to 1,918 births in the district that year. Williams said that up to 67 percent of those children will become students in local schools, which means the district could be adding more then 200 students in the next few years.

But because the rise is so high, Williams said he is waiting until the end of the month — when the district tallies up how many students registered for kindergarten this school year — to make a final statement.

"If we have a bit more, then yes, the birth data is coming true and we have a significant enrollment increase," Williams said. "I’m not surprised to see a small increase, but I’m very surprised to see an increase of this size in such a small time."

The increase, which would mean at least 10 new classes at the state-set 20 students per teacher ration, is a welcome sight for the district, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Joan Rosas said.

"The increase would actually bring us back to an enrollment that we once enjoyed," Rosas said. "A district like ours that is funded by average daily attendance is always pleased to see a rise in average daily enrollment."

jgoldman@examiner.com

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