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Katonah-Lewisboro Enrollment Drop Is Less Than Projected

Katonah-Lewisboro Superintendent Andrew Selesnick.
Katonah-Lewisboro Superintendent Andrew Selesnick. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- While Katonah-Lewisboro's student enrollment is continuing its years-long declining trend, the extent of the drop for the coming school year is less than projected.

Superintendent Andrew Selesnick announced at Thursday's school board meeting that the actual number of students in the district so far is 3,118, which is a decline of 86 students. The district had a projected drop to a total of 3,056 students, according to Selesnick, which is a decline of 148.

Total student enrollment during the last school year was 3,204, Selesnick said.

The difference is impacting Katonah Elementary School (KES), which will get four first-grade sections instead of the budgeted three, with the same section increase for fourth grade.

In KES, there will be nine more first graders than predicted and six more fourth graders than anticipated, according to the district's data, which is as of Aug. 12.

The data show that for the district's other elementary schools, Meadow Pond and Increase Miller, some grades have more students than planned while others have fewer.

More personnel will be added to John Jay High School and John Jay Middle School to help with the trends there, according to Selesnick. This includes adding part-time staffing opportunities for social studies, physical education, business, art and Spanish.

The district's enrollment was a significant point of debate during the 2013-14 school year when the school board heard back from Lewisboro Elementary School (LES) parents before voting to close the building, several media outlets reported at the time. An example of the concerns raised can be found in an article that this reporter wrote at the time for Patch.

Selesnick, without addressing the controversy, did say that in past years there had been “a lot of discussion about demographics in the district.”

The superintendent, who took office in July, emphasized that the latest enrollment report is just a review of enrollment for the coming year and was not going to wade into the broader issue of demography.

“I want to be sensitive to that," he said. "This is not a discussion about demographics and I think it’s important that we make that distinction.”

Board members Jeffrey Holbrook and Stephanie Tobin expressed concern about the projected average class size for third grade in KES, which is at 24-25. Holbrook, for example, noted that there is no parity with the equivalent numbers for MPES and IMES. Board President Marjorie Schiff, however, noted that the district's goal number for third grade across the district is 25, which KES meets.

Selesnick spoke favorably of the data for each school.

“The big picture is these are all good numbers."

http://www.boarddocs.com/ny/klsd/Board.nsf/files/9ZDPRJ80321A/$file/enrollment%20august%2012%202015%20class%20size%20-%20REV1.pdf The district's enrollment update can be found here.

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