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Demographer Provides 5-Year Enrollment Projection for the Scarsdale Schools

enrollmentIt was somewhat of a surprise last spring to learn that projected enrollment for kindergarten in Scarsdale was down – way down. Though traditionally each elementary school had three kindergarten classes, a steep dip in 5 year olds – and their parents – caused kindergarten enrollment to drop by 66 students for the 2018-19 school year. This meant three fewer kindergarten class sections and concern about what the long-range picture might be.

Administrators conjectured that changes in the tax laws had discouraged home buyers. A trend to keep children in preschool for an additional year had delayed enrollment in school and also contributed to the dip.

Now, as the district begins the budgeting process for 2019-20, Assistant Superintendent Drew Patrick invited demographer Richard S. Grip to attend the January 14 meeting of the Board of Education and present his projection of five-year enrollment trends for Scarsdale.

Why can he only project for five years? Grip had a very good response. He explained that a big factor in enrollment projections are birth rates. Given that kindergartners are only five when then enter school, he said it was difficult to project enrollment of those who have not yet been born.

Before discussing projections, Grip provided a demographic analysis of the Scarsdale community, based on numbers from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey. Here are a few interesting facts:

Diversity: The community as of 2016 was 81.4% White and 14% Asian. 22.9% of residents were foreign born.

Residents are highly educated – 87.9% have a bachelors degree and 57.2% have a graduate or professional degree.

The median family income was reported at $250,000 plus.

There were 5,863 households with a median value of $1,311,900.

Grip also provided an analysis of the age distribution of Scarsdale’s population and it was interesting to note the large population of children and adults from 40 – 60, with a pronounced dearth of residents between the ages of 20 -35.

populationage

Turning to his projections, Grip introduced the concept of “Kindergarten Replacement” saying, “The district has experienced negative kindergarten replacement in eight of the last nine years. Negative kindergarten replacement occurs when the number of graduating 12th grade students is larger than the number of kindergarten students replacing them in the next year.” He said Scarsdale has experienced negative kindergarten replacement in eight of the last nine years. However, these losses were partially offset by children who moved in for higher grades and reduced the overall loss.

Using data about births, fertility, housing starts and home sales Grip provided projections for the school population for the next five years. His medium projection forecasts expects to see a decrease of 227 students in the next five years. He anticipates that the total school population will drop from 4,683 in 2019-20 to 4,456 in 2023-24. Between 2009 and 2018, overall enrollment in the Scarsdale Schools ranged from a low of 4,726 to a high of 4,821, so these new numbers are somewhat sobering.

His projections for incoming kindergartners hold steady at around 280 per year, which is higher than the 259 students enrolled this school year, but nowhere hear 2013-14 when 350 students enrolled.

Despite this dip, overall, Grip was very optimistic about the future of the district. He said, “This is an excellent district and people are clamoring to get in.”

See the report here:

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