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Affordable Housing

Posted on: April 11, 2019

New Housing Provides Slow, Steady Growth for Edina Schools

New houses from residential redevelopment are fueling a “revitalization of Edina” that is helping stabilize Edina Public Schools’ enrollment.

That may fly in the face of what many people think, but data analyzed by the state’s premier demographer show people moving into those new homes are more likely to have school-age children than those in any other new housing in Edina.

“There is a relationship between school enrollment and housing, but it is a very complex relationship. And it is not the relationship that many people assume it to be,” demographer Hazel Reinhardt said March 6 as she made a presentation to the Edina City Council and Edina School Board.

She pointed out that 88 percent of Edina Public Schools students live in single-family houses. The higher the market value of the house, the more likely it is to have school-age children. For example, houses valued at $750,000 or more yield about 0.7 students per house. Those valued at less than $300,000 yield just 0.23 students.

New houses have the most kids. Of the 191 houses built from Jan. 1, 2016, to June 30, 2018, they average 0.75 students per house.

Homes that sold during that time also brought students, at 0.62 per house. Houses that stayed under the same ownership produced about 1 child in Edina schools per every 2 houses, a much lower rate.

About 10 percent of public school students in Edina live in apartments, primarily in older units in the Parklawn Neighborhood, Reinhardt said. Hundreds of units in the City’s newest apartment buildings have produced only a handful of schoolchildren, she said.

She called the concept of new apartments producing a crush of students “a myth,” and not only in Edina.

“People get very excited about townhomes and apartments, and let me tell you that in every district we’ve ever worked in, it is single-family detached (houses) that yield school-age children,” she said.

With women delaying having children and families having fewer children overall, many school districts are facing decreasing enrollment. That reduces funding, programs and affects the overall health of schools.

In Edina, the new houses and the families that come with those are helping drive a modest, manageable growth in school enrollment projections.

“To see the slow and steady generally is a good thing,” said School Board member Sarah Patzloff.

She, Reinhardt and Mayor James Hovland all credited the excellent reputation of Edina Public Schools as one of the main reason people move to Edina.

View the meeting where the presentation was made on  the Edina TV channel on YouTube.

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