BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. Enrollment in Briarcliff schools has decreased by an average of 34 students per year over the last five years, and it is expected to continue decreasing, schools Superintendent Neal Miller said at a Board of Education meeting on Monday.
"If we lose 168 students (in the next five years) as we have in the last five years, we don't have as much need for staff," Miller said. That could affect school taxes, the superintendent said.
One problem in the Briarcliff schools now is that there are some classes with more than 26 students as well as a class with only three students, Miller noted.
"We need to balance it out," the superintendent said.
Miller said he didn't know the reason for the decline in enrollment.
School board member Jennifer Rosen said in the past, school enrollment went up when new buildings for families were built in Briarcliff.
"Now we don't have a lot of space to build homes," she noted. That, combined with the fact that people in Briarcliff tend to not move away, could be a reason for declining enrollment as the Briarcliff population ages, Rosen said.
Guy Rotondo the president of the Briarcliff Board of Education, said the declining enrollment numbers were "a little bit sobering."
"An 18 percent decline over 10 years is equal to 320 students, more than two graduating classes," he said. "Our per people cost has accelerated because we haven't been addressing a decrease in spending that's in line with the enrollment decline."
Rotondo noted that Briarcliff Manor's school taxes are about 35 percent higher than other similar districts.
Miller said that in general, staffing for a given school year is based on enrollment for the current calendar year during the spring.
With declining enrollment, Miller said there might be ways to keep the current variety of course offerings without being "irresponsible" to taxpayers.
"With efficiency comes strength. I think we're going to get stronger," Miller said.
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