Tuesday, October 18, 2016


A consultant hired to review the school district's enrollment expectations and building space reported Monday night that enrollment is expected to increase by nearly 300 students in the next five years, but at a slower rate than in the recent past.

Ross Haber, who presented his findings at the regular school board meeting, said he had reviewed school statistics and space for the past six months and found the district had grown "significantly" in the past five years and will continue.

He also pointed to the continued development in both Maplewood and South Orange, which includes the Third and Valley project in South Orange and several such buildings in Maplewood. But Haber cautioned that many of them do not seem to be adding students to the district as of yet.

Although he did estimate the 235-unit complex going in at Springfield and Boyden avenues could produce up to 35 new students based on projections.

We reported weeks ago that the district enrollment had jumped by 100 students since last year and by nearly 400 since 2012 to 6,962 this year. Haber's data went back a year earlier to 2010, noting an increase of 430, or 6.58%, during that period.

He also said that projections have the total jumping to 7,243 by 2021, a 4.04% increase from today.

But while the rate of growth appears to be slowing, it will still mean another 281 students in the district in five years, with nearly all of the increases hitting the middle and high school level.

See the data below: 

Haber added that increased home sales are one of the reasons for the enrollment jump, noting there were 843 home sales in Maplewood and 546 in South Orange in just the past two years, adding an estimated 335 new students to the district. And another 334 homes are on the market in the two towns right now.

He said growth is hitting all schools who remain at, or in some cases, above capacity.

See highlights of his report below:

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