The South Orange-Maplewood School District has experienced enrollment increases beyond those predicted by a demographer, according to district Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider.
Schneider outlined enrollment increases and other factors in a presentation on baseline budget development to the Board of Education on Monday, November 24. The factors were also detailed in a memorandum to the board title Baseline Data for 2015-16 School Budget Development which can be found on the district website here.
Schneider reported that has increased by more than 12% over the past seven years (enrollment hit a post-millennial low of 6,100 as of October 15, 2006 and to the current 6,867 as of October 15, 2014). For the second year in a row, Schneider reported, kindergarten enrollment has “substantially exceeded expectations resulting in sustained high enrollment at the elementary level.”
In addition, Schneider said that the district is continuing to see predicted increases in enrollment at the middle school level and that increases are beginning to impact the high school. Schneider said that a demographer would once again be presenting projections at the Board of Education meeting in January.
Schneider said that the enrollment increases are beginning to impact decisions related to staffing, supplies and space.
Schneider also reported that the number of students eligible for free and reduced-priced lunches increased by 34 students district-wide. Although the percent of such students remains steady at about 20%, Schneider noted that Seth Boyden Demonstration School is seeing a noticeable increase; 43% of Seth Boyden students are now eligible for free and reduced-priced lunches.
Schneider also outlined other factors impacting budget development such as salaries and benefits, school facilities, debt service, and transportation. Read more here.