Austin ISD Says $850K Marketing Campaign to Boost Student Enrollment Helped Mitigate Loss

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Austin Independent School District has struggled with enrollment decline in the past few years.

Aside from changing its transfer policy, the school district also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars for advertising to attract more families to enroll.

One billboard caught Cynthia Solis' attention.

"I really liked the 'smarty pants' one like, 'Austin's the home of skinny jeans and smarty pants' -- or something like that," she chuckled. "I saw that one and had a really good laugh."

That's one of several ads Austin ISD spent $850,000 on this school year hoping to increase enrollment and keep more students.

"We do face competition and that's a reality," said AISD's Reyne Telles. "Competition from privates and charters that place a lot of funding into their advertising and getting their word out. That's why we think it's important for us to get the word out."

Almost a year has passed since the campaign launched and Telles saw change.

"It did reverse a trend that we saw," he said.

School officials said, even with the campaign, they are still losing students -- but not at the same projected rate.

Since 2014, AISD projected it would lose students at a rate of a thousand a year.

"For the first year in three years, we were able to mitigate that loss," said Telles. "We mitigated that to a loss of about 500 students. We saw some successes this past school year, we hope to build on that."

While Austin ISD has seen enrollment decline throughout the district, the marketing campaign targeted 30 specific schools.

School officials have not said if the district plans to continue advertising.

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