A new study that focuses on K-12 students says the school-age population in the Treasure Valley has increased by nearly 40 percent since 2000.
The study, commissioned by a new nonprofit organization called Bluum, said the school-age population in the state at large has increased by nearly 13 percent since 2000. Enrollment in the Treasure Valley grew much more rapidly, by 12,000 students between 2010 and 2015.
It’s expected to grow by another 3,400 by 2019. About 65 percent of those students will be minorities, said ECONorthwest, the Boise research company that carried out the study for Bluum.
“Something we’ve noticed is the general growth of the area and how the demographic makeup is changing,” said Angel Gonzalez, director of research at Bluum. The small Boise nonprofit is a project of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.
“We are seeing a larger proportion of students come from a minority background and from poverty,” Gonzalez said. “This report gave us a more granular look.”
Bluum commissioned the report to gain more information about where to target its school improvement efforts. The nonprofit has a goal of creating 20,000 new charter, innovative, and private school seats in Idaho over the next 10 years, and to place those seats where they are the most critically needed.
The organization released its newest study May 12 in a meeting with school administrators and community leaders.
Among the findings:
These factors combined to show several ideal locations for new schools in Boise, Caldwell, Meridian, Nampa and Kuna.
“The goal for what we are trying to do is deliver successful education to children and to make sure that investments into education are going where they are needed,” Bluum CEO Terry Ryan said.
Bluum has worked with the Roman Catholic Diocese in Nampa, SAGE International School in Boise, and the North Idaho STEM school in Rathdrum, among others. It’s also working on creating a new alternative high school in Nampa with Nampa Superintendent David Peterson.