Student Enrollment Declines Pattern Report Finds

May 10, 2013

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NEWBURGH – Student enrollment figures in school districts across the Hudson Valley continue to decline and that has prompted discussion about closing schools and reorganizing districts, according to a report released Thursday by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress.

There are 538 school buildings in the region and since 1999, more than 30 of them have been or will be closed.

As student populations continue their downward spiral, Pattern President Jonathan Drapkin said districts face options that run from shared services to full-blown mergers like the Sullivan West district which was formed from three smaller districts.

Drapkin supports regionalization of services, perhaps on a county level, and that could include distance learning.

“Advanced placement courses, foreign language, are good examples of maybe you could have every school through technology still providing it, but then there is maybe only one teacher that is doing the teaching for advanced placement English for the entire county and it’s long distance learning, and it’s maybe one teacher still providing Chinese,” Drapkin said.

School districts in the Hudson Valley have been examining closing school buildings. Kingston has closed an elementary school, which will now become a satellite SUNY Ulster campus; Marlboro is looking at closing two elementary schools; Newburgh considered closing one elementary school but put off that decision; Valley Central will close one elementary school as will Warwick; and Wappingers held off on shutting down one school.