Jul 28, 2014
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Report: School District Enrollment Declining, Class Sizes Small

The October 1 report on class size and enrollment shows numbers of students still decreasing while classes mostly follow district policy.

After a few years of uncomfortable crowding at East Farms School, this year’s enrollment report and projections show all the district’s classrooms and schools within the recommended range, with East Farms on its way.

The enrollment report and class size reports, presented annually in October, show 4,014 students registered in the Farmington Public Schools on October 1, 2012 – an increase of 5 up over the same time last year. Included in the number are 3,915 students who live in Farmington, 1 who lives out of district but pays tuition and 98 students enrolled through the Open Choice Program.

The slight rise from 2011 is part of a larger trend evident in the historical numbers – a steady rise and fall in enrollment. In 1994, enrollment for the district was 3,337 students; by 2004, it had peaked at 4,344 students. Since then, total enrollment has fallen by 87, 36, 55 students until 2012, when the number increased by five.

The enrollment is influenced by several different factors – the number of children born into Farmington, new housing and turnover in neighborhoods and the increase of Project Open Choice students, being a few that the district monitors.

The number of births recorded in town over the past decade has also fallen – from 230 in 1993 to just 199 in 2011 and 139 recorded for 2012.

Project Open Choice students, whom the district elects to accept from Hartford and other surrounding districts in exchange for compensation from the state, have also been added over time.

But school officials expect the number of students enrolled to drop again for 2013-2014, according to the October 2012 Enrollment Report.

One formula projects 3,976 will be enrolled next year; another that there will be 3,918 students. By 2017-18, 3,724 students are projected.

Class sizes also remained small for 2012-13, matching the district’s policy in almost all cases. Superintendent Kathleen Greider noted that though the numbers for an individual classroom might be above or below the policy, the numbers worked out within each school building.

Occasionally classes were smaller by design, Assistant Superintendent Kim Wynn explained.

“Class sizes in core academic areas are within policy guidelines, though there are a couple classes with 25 or 26 students that have additional adult support and were designed that way purposely based on the needs of the student population,” Wynn said.

In addition to a few classes with higher numbers and one-on-one adult support, some classes were smaller to accommodate student needs. 

“There is a grade 8 social studies class with 11 students but that is a particular class, designed to support students with reading needs; it’s an intervention class,” she said.

A few classes at Irving A Robbins and Farmington High School deviated from the policy in order to continue the course offering, she said. AP French, for example, might not have enough students interested in taking it to match the policy, but the high school must continue to offer the course for students who begin the sequence.

Overall, she said, teacher-to-student ratios are stable.

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