Small kindergarten class points to decline in enrollment

| 27 Aug 2015 | 11:09

By Anya Tikka
— School enrollment at Delaware Valley is holding steady for now. But a sharp drop-off looms on the horizon.

Total enrollment numbers for the school district declined by only three students from the past academic year, from 4,773 in 2014-15, to 4,770 in the coming year, said Superintendent John Bell at a recent board of education meeting.

However, the last graduation class outnumbered the incoming class of kindergartners by about 100. The Class of 2015 included around 400 students, Bell told the school board, while the incoming kindergarten class includes about 300 so far.

He explained in an email that student enrollment numbers by grade are not yet firmed up.

“We won’t share numbers by grade until after day 10," Bell wrote. "That is when we remove any names of students who haven’t shown up at school and transferred elsewhere. It also allows us to get all the new students counted. Some folks coming from New York and New Jersey don’t show up until after Labor Day."

Since most schools in those states start after Labor Day, he said, they assume Pennsylvania is the same way.

"They are pretty surprised when they show up the day after Labor Day and find out we’ve already been in school for a week," he said. "That’s why we advertise it on the big sign out front to tell everyone.”

The changes in enrollment include four less in "Placed," the category for children with special needs that go to other schools, like the Scranton School for the Deaf.

The district’s Cyber Academy is also seeing a drop in numbers, but that's because of the number of seniors enrolled.

“Cyber dropped because we had 20-plus seniors graduate last year who were enrolled in cyber," said Bell. "We are very happy for them."

Overall, the district isn't seeing movement upward in its enrollment.

“The numbers are down, there’s no doubt about that,” Bell said. Between 7 buildings and 13 grades, the enrollment figures are “all over the place.”