July 22, 2014 at 1:50 AM
CHATHAM, NJ - For the first time in a decade and a half, enrollment in the District of the Chathams is down.
Board member Lata Kenney announced that enrollment in the district has decreased at the board of education meeting held on Thursday. In June, there were 4,130 students. At this time, there are 4,119.
"I'd say (it's down) for the first time in 15 years, but we'll likely pick up a dozen or so kids before September," Dr. Michael LaSusa, superintendent of schools, said. "For the first time in a long time it's down. Basically it's flat because we'll have about the same number when school starts."
LaSusa noted that fifth and sixth grade classes in Chatham, each with 355 students, are the largest of any class. The smallest class of Grades 1-12 is the first grade, which has a total of 277 students. Kindergarten has 235 enrollees, about the same as last year.
The seven new classrooms being added in the back of Chatham High School will be ready by February, 2015, according Peter Daquila, board of education administrator/secretary for the School District of the Chathams.
That was one of the highlights offered by Daquila in updating construction projects and improvements to Chatham schools. Stonecreek, Inc, of Lodi is completing Phase 2 of the project.
The four classrooms from Phase 1 that were closed due to Phase 2 construction will be available for use in September. The $3.5 million Phase 2 project continues with construction that will add seven new classrooms and connect to the "C" Wing of the school. That part of the project should be completed in February.
Daquila also reported that the installation of new turf at Haas Field is nearly complete and that Cougar Field will get its new turf by the end of the month.
The plans to add parking for teachers at Washington Avenue School is still be explored. Plan A would have added 25 parking spots for a cost of :"over $300,000," according to Daquila.
"The engineer is still working on Plan B, which would add 12 parking spaces," Daquila said.