Three Nassau County districts closed schools this year, as a declining student population has prompted officials to focus on more efficient use of their facilities. But Valley Stream continues to buck the trend, as enrollment remains steady in the four local school districts.
Overall, total enrollment in the four Valley Stream districts is up slightly, from 9,322 students in 2011-12 to 9,344 this year.
The largest of the four districts, the Central High School District, opened the school year with 4,644 students, a decline of 1 percent. But school officials say that change isn’t enough to indicate a trend. “When you look at it over a four-year period, you’re up a dozen here, down a dozen there,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich. “It’s just consistent.”
This year’s loss was almost entirely attributable to one building — Central High School — which graduated a larger-than-average senior class in June. Central’s enrollment dropped by about 60 students, while North and South High are each up by a few students.
District 13’s enrollment of about 2,100 students is on par with last year. There are fewer kindergarten students at Howell Road School, but across town, kindergarten numbers are up at the James A. Dever School.
There is growth in the other two elementary districts. District 24, which had a peak enrollment of 1,080 students last year, is now up to 1,118. While that is an increase of fewer than 40 students, Superintendent Dr. Edward Fale said it is significant. “We’re a smaller district,” he said. “For us, 20 students is a big deal.”
Fale explained that enrollment is up noticeably at the Brooklyn Avenue and William L. Buck schools, which now have 347 and 360 students, respectively. He said that the student population at those two buildings has traditionally been in the low 300s.
Fale attributed the growth to increases in both home sales and rentals in the area. And those schools could grow even more, he said, with an apartment complex set to open on Cottage Street, in the north end of the district, and another development under way at Sunrise Highway and Rockaway Avenue.