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Eldred enrollment trending down

ELDRED, NY — Enrollment in Kindergarten through grade 12 in the Eldred Central School District will decrease 14.7% in the next 10 years, according to a demographics study commissioned by the Eldred school board. This compares with a decrease of 27.2% for the 10-year period 2008 to 2018.

The study used a 2018 enrollment of 498 students. Per the study, in 2008 there were 684 students enrolled, and there will be 425 students in 2028.

Trends reviewed for Sullivan County, as well as the towns of Highland and Lumberland, included changes in the number and ages of residents, the number of births and the number of housing sales. The changes in the district are on par with decreases in population and enrollment county-wide.

Based on 2016 data, approximately 44% of the housing in the district is seasonal or second homes. Of the non-seasonal homes, about 80% is owner occupied and 20% is renter occupied. No new subdivisions within the district are currently before the planning boards of either town.

Population and enrollment density (defined as persons/students per square mile) show factors of 50 persons and five students per square mile within the 101 square miles of land the district encompasses. Comparatively, county factors are 78 persons and nine students.

Household sizes, the percentage of households with children under 18 and the number of public school children per household have not increased from 2000 levels. However, the percentage of the population under the age of five has increased from 2000 to 2016, per community survey estimates.

For the period 2023 to 2028, average grade level size is expected to range from 32 to 35 students.

The study does not project any appreciable decrease in elementary classroom needs. There are currently two sections of pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten, two sections each of grades one through six and two sections of special education, for a total of 16 sections. If a maximum class size of 30 students per class in grades one through six and current class sizes in pre-K and Kindergarten are maintained, only in 2025 would one classroom be deemed unnecessary.

At the high school level, enrollment is expected to decrease in seven of the next 10 years, by 19.2%. The study did not address any changes in classroom requirements at that level.

Addressing the demographic study, Superintendent John Morgano stated that in addition to the overall lack of change in classroom needs at the elementary level, the district still has to offer required courses at the high school level. He also repeated his position that sending students out of the district is more costly than educating in-house. Such an action is “not fiscally sound, not good for the community and not necessary.”

 

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