School Enrollment Projections Down

Programs May Be Affected in the Future

August 30, 2013
 
by Kristen Hoffman

Salem Superintendent Michael Delahanty is expecting fewer students in seats this school year.  This is following a recent trend of declining student populations throughout the region.

According to Delahanty, the decrease in enrollment is something that the district has been experiencing for several years, “School enrollments are at about where we expected,” Delahanty said, “We’ve been seeing a diminishing enrollment for sure,” he added.

This is part of a greater trend of declining school enrollments throughout the area.  Hudson and Litchfield, just a few miles east have also seen declining enrollments over the past five years or so.

Higher school enrollments were recorded in the mid 2000s.  Students who began their career in the Salem School District between 2003 and 2007 are in Junior High and High School.  These grades reflect the larger class sizes of the past.  But as these students near graduation, their high numbers are becoming a thing of the past.

Delahanty said there are between 280 to 320 students in each elementary school class in Salem, compared to about 360 to 380 for high school classes.  These numbers represent a difference of about 100 students over the course of a few years.  Delahanty expects these numbers to be a reflection of what to expect for future enrollments, “we see leveling,” he said.

Right now, he doesn’t see this as an indication that school programs will be cut, but said that there may be difficult decisions over the next few years regarding programs at the high school if enrollment numbers cannot keep program viable.  “It could eventually impact program options at the high school,” Delahanty said.