District 30 ended the last school year with 1,458 students, and now has 1,474 in its classrooms. “The numbers are increasing,” said Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Stirling.
Stirling said that in the weak economy, some homes are now occupied by extended families, meaning even more children for the schools. And, he said, like District 24, there is an increase in home sales and rentals in the community.
The biggest increase in student population, Stirling said, is in the upper elementary grades. This year the district had to add an extra sixth-grade class at the Shaw Avenue School.
He said the district will continue to remain vigilant to ensure that all student are legal residents.
While class sizes are at an acceptable level in District 30, Stirling said that any large influx of students could jeopardize that. There is no more room left to open up any more classes, he explained. “We’re at maximum capacity in terms of our space,” he said.
The crunch is also being felt in District 24. “We don’t have any empty classrooms or instructional space,” Fale said. “As children come in, class sizes will grow.”
If the upward trend continues, he added, the district may have to look to add more space. The first option, he said, would be to move the central office out of the William L. Buck School to free up some rooms there.
Western Suffolk BOCES does annual enrollment projections for the district. According to those numbers, which are dependent on the birth rate, Fale said, the student population should actually be going down. “It doesn’t factor in changes in the neighborhood that may cause families with school-age children to move in,” he said.
District 13, which has four buildings, does have some extra capacity, said Superintendent Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund.
In the high schools, Heidenreich said, space is not a concern right now, but it could be if there is significant growth at North or South. Although the two are virtually identical buildings, North has less capacity because it houses some of the district’s specialized programs, which dictate smaller classes.