The Los Banos Unified School District is expecting the student body to remain shy of the 10,000 mark.
Superintendent Steve Tietjen said the district is expecting 150 more students in 2014-15. On the first day of class last year, there were 9,622 students. That number was 9,743 in 2012.
Student growth is assessed by calculating birth rates five years earlier and construction of new houses. However, an emerging rental market in Los Banos has made the calculation more difficult, according to Tietjen.
The district was expecting home building to return this summer, resulting in more households with children. However, predictions have fallen short.
“I’m not seeing a lot of new housing,” Tietjen said, adding that the growth in the student population appears to be coming from rental units.
Tietjen said based on the number of advancing eighth-graders and incoming sixth-graders, Los Banos Junior High School is projected to have 50 fewer students. The seventh- and eighth-grade school had 1,570 students at peak enrollment last year. The junior high was built for 900.
District officials have plans to build a middle school or junior high on 15 acres south of Prairie Springs Drive and east of Badger Flat Road, south of Target. The state of California will ultimately determine when the new school gets built. The district needs matching funding, and the money will likely only become available if an education bond is placed on the ballot and approved by voters.