School problem: How many?School-need forecasting tough

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The future of the housing market also influences numbers. When families with children cannot afford single-family houses, they might move into condos or rent apartments. School officials, meanwhile, are gearing up for new students whose families could start moving into the area by 2010. Projecting the student population will be tough as school plans move forward, Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger said Wednesday. There have been estimates that Winger’s district will need four new elementary schools and that the Castaic Union School District will need one for the smaller section of Newhall Ranch that will be north of state Highway 126. But Winger said his district will have to take things one school at a time and see how the housing shapes up at Newhall Ranch, expected to be completed in the next 25 years, to determine the number of schools needed. NEWHALL – A mega Newhall Ranch housing development might need five new elementary schools. But, then again, it might not. It all depends on how many kids move into Newhall Ranch – four planned villages that will include about 21,000 single-family homes, apartments, condominiums and senior-living facilities. The bulk of these dwellings are planned for west of Interstate 5 and south of state Route 126. Officials are trying to estimate how many new students will move in. Typically they expect less than one child per single-family home. But they lack formulas to predict on condominiums and other types of housing. “The big question we’re looking at is: Is it four, five or three?” Winger said. “Their (development) is different than what we’ve dealt with in the past. We don’t know what our student generation will be like.” Even predictions for students coming from single-family houses can be iffy. When the Newhall district planned Oak Hills Elementary School, 500 students were expected from the Westridge community. In the end, there were about 350. That’s because when Westridge homes hit the market, housing costs had climbed too high for many young families with children. The median price of a resale home in Santa Clarita soared to $600,000 in December, according to the Santa Clarita Division of the Southland Association of Realtors. Many Westridge buyers were baby boomers with grown children, not any of elementary-school age. Those planning new schools must realize that the housing market can change along with lifestyles, said Newhall school board member Steve Tannehill. “It’s not fixed over time,” Tannehill said. “As California gets more and more expensive, you may find people with kids choosing to live in places other than single-family homes, which has typically been the house of choice.” While district officials look to a future with new schools, they’re also aware of declining enrollment in older schools such as Peachland Avenue, Meadows and Valencia Valley. Winger said students from Newhall Ranch could find seats inside these and other schools if they’re close enough to their homes. Right now, the school district’s largest climb in enrollment is from the Stevenson Ranch area. But that too could change and leave more classroom space for Newhall Ranch students. The first elementary school for Newhall Ranch students in the Newhall School District will be needed in the Mission Village community, an area behind Magic Mountain Parkway. The new community will have a town center with retail, restaurants and entertainment, said Marlee Lauffer, The Newhall Land and Farm Company’s senior vice president of marketing and communications. It will have a mixture of single-family houses, town homes, condominiums and apartments. Groundbreaking for Mission Village is expected by 2008. Sue Doyle, (661) [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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