As students went back to school this week, both the Scarsdale and Edgemont school districts released preliminary enrollment numbers for the 2018-19 school year.
In Scarsdale, the total enrollment is at 4,944 students.
The total kindergarten through fifth-grade enrollment is at 2,049 students, with 103 sections, three fewer than last year, according to Assistant Superintendent Andrew Patrick. Scarsdale’s total kindergarten through grade 5 enrollment was 2,138 last year.
In the sixth through eighth grades, enrollment is at 1,118 students — enrollment was at 1,148 students last year — and in the ninth through 12th grades there are 1,522 students — enrollment was at 1,515 last year.
wKindergarten is where the district saw a significant variance from their projected enrollment. Scarsdale had 255 kindergartners enroll in the district this year despite a projection of 324 students. During the 2017-18 school year, kindergarten enrollment was at 325 students.
Like most districts, Scarsdale typically begins its enrollment projections in January when it is preparing the following year’s budget. The district invites a demographer to come in and offer insight into enrollment projections based on factors such as cohort survival rates — how many students will continue onto the next grade — birth numbers and real estate trends.
Patrick said the district was first informed of the potential for a major dip in kindergarten numbers when owners of local preschool programs reported data to the district.
According to Patrick, it is common for residents to “redshirt” their kindergarten-aged children before the upcoming school year, keeping the child in preschool an extra year and then putting the student in kindergarten the following fall.
Patrick said the local preschool owners informed the district they were seeing an increase in parents who were choosing to redshirt their children.
The preschools in turn had to adjust to the increase in students they would have next year.
As for the district, Patrick said there isn’t any plan for significant adjustments in response to the decrease in Scarsdale’s kindergarten numbers.
He said there is “simply” a decrease in numbers, which means a decrease in sections. The drop from 106 sections in grades K through 5 during the 2017-18 district to 103 sections means the district will have three fewer elementary teacher positions but, according to Patrick, the district only had to remove temporary, or leave replacement, positions and no tenured teachers were let go.
The assistant superintendent also suggested the drop in enrollment may be due to a decrease in young families moving from Manhattan to suburbs such as Scarsdale.
With the new federal cap on state and local tax deductions, Patrick said, residents may be hesitant to leave their apartments in New York City to face a tax burden in the suburbs that has increased compared to prior years.
Edgemont will be dealing with a similar decrease in kindergarten numbers.
According to Edgemont Schools Superintendent Victoria Kniewel, the district will have 20 fewer kindergartners than they had last year. This means the eight sections split between Greenville Elementary and Seely Place Elementary will drop to seven sections — four sections at Greenville and three at Seely.
Kniewel added there is a slight drop of about 30 students each in total enrollment at Greenville and Seely elementary schools.
Further, there will be a 40-student increase at Edgemont Junior/Senior High School. Kniewel said most of the increases are occurring in grades 7 and 9.
The Inquirer asked Kniewel for more final enrollment numbers, however, she said the district would not have more final enrollment numbers until later in the fall.