MAPLEWOOD, NJ – New enrollment figures show an increase in enrollment in kindergarten beyond what had been projected by the South Orange-Maplewood School District, Superintendent Brian Osborne reported at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

“Kindergarten enrollment over the summer has been unprecedented,” Osborne said. “The number of registered students has increased almost 20 percent just since mid-July.”

The increase has exceeded the district demographer’s projections and is being attributed to turnover in housing, and the new residents having children ready to begin kindergarten this year. 

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“It’s great news in the big picture,” Osborne said.  “It means that the quality of our improvements and the draw of our schools is really attracting new families to South Orange and Maplewood, and that’s great for strengthening our community and our schools and our homeowners’ property values.”

To accommodate the unexpected increase, the district is adding a new kindergarten section at Seth Boyden School, which has transportation in place to all sectors of the community.  Class sizes for the grade this year will be forced to approach the upper limit of the district’s policy. Osborne expects the kindergarten classrooms to average 22 students.

Board of Education President Beth Daugherty asked if the new students assigned to attend Seth Boyden will have the choice next year for attending first grade at either Seth Boyden or the school in their “home zones.”  Osborne indicated that each of the local elementary schools should have the capacity to allow the families of all students being assigned to Seth Boyden kindergarted this year to choose whether or not to continue on at Seth Boyden or attend their home zone schools next year.