By LIZ BUTTON
With a net increase of 93 new students, the Rye City School District is experiencing a near 3 percent bump in enrollment this year. The majority of the increase consists of the addition of 72 more students at the high school than last year.
The increase made it impossible for the school district to enact expected reductions of class sections, district officials said, since actual enrollment numbers for this year went over projections.
At the elementary schools, Midland’s population increased by 30 students instead of decreasing by 11 students, as had been projected.
And while Milton’s enrollment remained status quo, Osborn gained another six students over last year’s enrollment numbers.
Rye Middle School, however, bucked the trend seeing a reduction of 15 students compared to last year, and the reduction was smaller than what had been anticipated by district officials.
In all, Rye High School gained the most students of all the district’s schools; getting an additional 72 students more than the 2012-2013 enrollment figures.
Not only is there is a smaller 12th grade class coming down and a larger 12th grade class coming up, Schools
Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez said, but the majority of the 93 students are actually new students to the district.
“In that sense, business is good,” he said. “ We still have people applying here and at all of our schools, so that is a good thing.”
New York State Education Department tracks enrollment for the different school districts it surveys using a Basic Educational Data System, BEDS. This year’s BEDS report, which was released by the state Education Department on Oct. 2, was already out of date by the time of the Oct. 8 Rye Board of Education meeting. That was due to five students having enrolled in the school district, in the interim.
And, it appears the enrollment process continues.
Enrollment numbers varied wildly over the summer, with new students registering every day up until the first day of school, Sept. 9, and beyond.
At the elementary schools, projections that turned out to be conservative made it necessary to hire four new teachers who had not been provided for in the district’s 2013-2014 budget, leading some parents in the district to speculate that some of the layoffs in the budget had been premature.
District officials said they were very serious in their conversations in late August and September as to whether new teachers were necessary, especially in a tax cap environment. But, the hearty enrollment increase sealed the deal.
When it comes to accommodating the influx of students, the job was done efficiently, said Board of Education member Karen Belanger. Numerous parents were thrilled the district was able to accommodate the 2.9 percent enrollment increase while keeping to class size guidelines, Belanger said.
Board Vice President Katy Glassberg said that during early discussions about the science wing addition being built at the high school, some residents questioned whether the population increases would go on.
“This year, as in years past…we have once again under-predicted the number of students that we are going to have to educate,” she said. So, it is good the wing addition is currently in the works, as sufficient building space may prove to be a district issue in accommodating a growing number of students, the vice president said.