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Wallkill Valley TimesPine Bush enrollment continues to drop

Pine Bush enrollment continues to drop

A Western Suffolk BOCES demographic study shows that enrollment in the Pine Bush Central School District is projected to decrease by 258 in the next five years.

Several factors contribute to these figures, including population data, private school enrollment, and home sales.

Between 2010-2016, the population in Orange County saw an increase of 1.7%, while Ulster County saw a decrease of 1.8% and Sullivan County’s population decreased by 3.5%.

Non-public school enrollment has increased this school year to the highest level since 2011, an approximately 4.6% increase from last year. This number is expected to grow as more families move into Chestnut Ridge, a proposed 396 townhome project in Bloomingburg. To date, 50 units have been sold and occupied in Chestnut Ridge.

“The best part about this report is that home sales are continuing to rise,” said Michael Pacella, Pine Bush Assistant Superintendent for Business, during last week’s board of education meeting. “There are 299 units sold in 2016 and that’s up 44% when you look at the prior year.”

Along with the rise in home sales, the median sales prices for homes increased by 4.1% to $242,000.
“Residents are seeing their property values starting to rise which is a sign of a little bettering economy,” he says.

The current Pine Bush Central School District enrollment is 5,026 students, 8 students less than last year and is projected to decrease to 4,589 students over the next 10 years. The number of births continue to be low with a projected Kindergarten class size range of 316 students to 345 students through the 2026-2027 school year.

Enrollment in all Pine Bush Central School District schools shows a historical enrollment peak in the 2007-2008 school year. Circleville Elementary School enrolled 628 students in 2007 and is expected to decrease to 449 students in 2027. Pakanasink Elementary School enrolled 500 students in 2007 and the forecasted 2027 enrollment is 461 students. Pine Bush Elementary School enrolled 774 students in 2008 and is expected to decrease to about 600 students by 2027. Edward J. Russell Elementary School enrolled 667 students in 2007 and the number is expected to decrease to 512 students by 2027. Overall, the 2007 elementary enrollment for Pine Bush consisted of 2,558 students in 2007 and has decreased to the 2017 enrollment of 2,120 students, a loss of 438 students.

Pine Bush middle schools enrolled a total of 1,496 students in 2007. The 2017 enrollment was 1,200 students, a loss of 298 students. By 2027, the projected enrollment in Pine Bush middle schools is expected to reach 1,085 students. Circleville Middle School enrolled 664 students in 2007 and losses in seven of the last ten years led to the current enrollment of 513 students, a loss of 151 students. The expected 2027 enrollment is 480 students. Crispell Middle School enrolled 832 students in 2007 and is expected to decrease by about 82 students in 2027, bringing enrollment to 605 students.

Pine Bush High School enrolled 2,014 students in 2007. Losses in eight of the last ten years led to the current enrollment of 1,706 students, an overall loss of 308 students. The projection period peak enrollment of 1,709 students is expected in 2018. The forecasted 2027 enrollment of 1,482 students represents an overall loss of 225 students when compared to the current enrollment.

The Pine Bush Central School District enrollment trend follows the 2013-2014 school year to the current year, in which the district saw an overall enrollment decrease of 431 students.

Although student enrollment is expected to decline in Pine Bush in the next five years, the projected numbers are actually higher than previously reported. Back in January of last year, the initial projected five year student enrollment was lower.

“The current projections now have been edited and modified,” says Pacella. “Their projections now going out in the next five years are higher than they were last year and that’s because of the indicators I explained..with the home sales and more people moving into Orange County.”

The next Pine Bush Board of Education meeting will be held on Feb 13, 7 p.m. at Pine Bush High School.

By Jaspreet Gill

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