LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Livingston school district released its enrollment figures for the start of the new school year and it showed higher than expected increases for almost all of the grades.
The hike in students was especially apparent in the lower grades in the elementary schools.
The increases come as the district is talking about holding a referendum in the future, possibly as early as next spring, to build an addition or additions to district schools.
The district enrollment increased by 66 students from the 2011-12 school year, 5,722 to 5,788.There was an increase of 40 students with more than half of the difference in the projections coming in kindergarten at 21 students.
Superintendent Brad Draeger said that the district is on the verge of having a lack of school room space. "We're really in a bind if this goes up again," said Draeger. "We're really getting into a classroom crunch."
Draeger said the reasons for the enrollment rise include an increased birth rate and also a rise in developments throughout the township.
The school board had been talking about adding six classrooms to the district, but the rise in the current batch of numbers might increase that figure.
Draeger added that he was especially interested in the higher than anticipated enrollment in kindergarten. "We had seven people registered on the last day of registration and I have never seen that," said Draeger, who has been superintendent since 2006. "We've never seen that many people come in at that time."
One of the positives for the enrollment increase shows the interest in the district with its high accolades instead of families turning to private schools. "I think it is an amazing statement about the quality of the district," said Draeger.
Livingston School Trustee Ronnie Springer said that the board and the administration will have to study extensively what numbers are expected in the enrollment before deciding on the number of school rooms to add in the district.
Board President Leslie Winograd pointed out that the district needs to accurate projections compared to recent figures that the district has received. "What happens when you get a spike with a new development?" she asked.
Draeger added that it appeared the demographers were not off significantly but that were off in terms of the low side with the actually numbers higher than the projections.
The township superintendent added that not only are new developments affecting an increase in enrollment but also renovated homes. "When I drive around, the knock downs and re-dos are tremendous," said Draeger.
School trustee Bonnie Granatir said the new residents in town filling up the new developments and rehabs are not "young singles and empty nesters, it is families."
Also at Monday night's school board meeting, the Livingston trustees and the school administration honored some of their long-time school district employees on their anniversary from 15 to 30 years of work. Patricia LeDonne of Collins Elementary School was honored for 30 years in the Livingston school district.
The school board also announced several resignations and retirements including Rosemary Smith, a secretary from Heritage Middle School and Carol Ann Giampolo-Scheskowsky, a learning disabilities teacher consultant, at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School.