LEWISBORO, N.Y. – A report on enrollment at the elementary schools in the Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District shows a decline in the number of students planning to attend in September, but officials caution that enrollment is still evolving and the numbers could change before the start of the school year.
“The numbers are trending down and it’s starting to become significant,” said Schools Superintendent Paul Kreutzer. “We are seeing a slight acceleration (in declining enrollment) this year.”
The report was given to the school board by Assistant Superintendent Alice Cronin at a meeting Thursday night.
Kreutzer noted that the district is not losing students in middle school, but rather in new students coming into the district.
“We are not losing fifth- and sixth-graders,” he said. “It’s the recharge from the bottom up” that is declining.
Cronin reported that Katonah Elementary School shows the greatest drop. Enrollment for the school in 2011 was 437. Today, it stands at 408. At Lewisboro Elementary, enrollment was 385 in 2011 and has dropped to 361. Meadow Pond Elementary shows a drop from 321 to 308. Increase Miller Elementary fared the best, losing just one pupil, dropping from 346 to 345.
Cronin noted that kindergarten enrollment is always the hardest to project. At Katonah Elementary, kindergarten enrollment was 61 in October 2011, but dropped to 55 this month.
“The kindergarten numbers at Lewisboro were not what we anticipated,” Cronin said.
However, Cronin pointed out that at Lewisboro Elementary, third-grade enrollment numbers are up.
“We projected 75 and we have 78,” she said. “The board might want to think about four sections with a class size of 19 or 20, rather three sections with 26.”
A similar scenario could be implemented at Meadow Pond, Cronin said. Forty-six students are currently enrolled in first grade – down just one from 2011. She said the board could consider three sections of 15-16 students instead of two sections of 23.
Kreutzer said that before any final decisions are made, more precise enrollment figures will be needed.
“The more time that passes, the more accurate (the numbers) become,” he said. “If this debate becomes more robust in August, we will be ready to address it.”
However, Kreutzer said that to avoid an annual debate on class size, the district needs to have a long-range plan.
“We need to have a long-term plan so we can take this discussion off the table or we are going to have this same conversation every year,” he said.