ST. JOHN — The Lake Central School Corp. can expect relatively consistent enrollment figures over the next 10 years.
School Board members recently heard the particulars of a population forecast study that projects the district could have 400 fewer students by 2026.
Many more salient data points comprised the findings of professional demographer, Jerome McKibben of Rock Hill, South Carolina, who the board hired to study long-term student population trends since it was last undertaken a decade ago.
While fewer students means less per pupil state funding, Superintendent Larry Veracco is not alarmed. He explained that a 400-student drop in enrollment, to around 9,000, spread out over six elementary schools and a big new high school, is manageable.
However, school officials are keeping an eye on figures indicating the district is reaching capacity at Kolling Elementary, particularly in third and fourth grade, although the second grade class is smaller. Veracco said one way to deal with potential overcrowding is to shift some programs to another school.
He believes there is no new data showing cause to either consolidate or expand school buildings over the next 10 years.
“We have a lot of room at the high school,” he said. “We’ve got room at the other schools too. We’d love to have more kids.”
Lake Central feeder community St. John has been one of the fastest growing municipalities in the state. However, that growth is projected to level off, with the exception of new, upscale housing in the $400,000 range, according to Veracco. Traditionally, these homes have older children or none at all versus more traditional single-family homes and mixed use residential areas that on average have more school-aged occupants.