The number of students in Williamsville Central Schools will continue to slowly drop during the next five years, but the district’s high schools will see their ranks increase as several large middle school classes move up, according to new enrollment forecasts.
Educational consultant Steven Grossman told the Williamsville Board of Education on Tuesday that he expects the district’s overall enrollment to drop from 10,272 this school year to about 9,900 students in 2018-2019.
Grossman called the district’s decreasing numbers a “very, very slow decline in enrollment” compared with other districts across the state. He has forecast that the number of students in the district will continue to steadily decrease during the next decade.
“Beyond that, it’s a little tough to be too confident in the numbers, but you’re probably not going to bottom out at any less than 9,300,” Grossman said. “All things being equal, if everything stays the same, what I liken this to is you’re coming in for a soft landing.”
The district’s enrollment has decreased about 2 percent during the last five years.
Grossman, a consultant with the Syracuse-based The R/E/D Group, told school board members during a presentation Tuesday night that the number of students in the district’s high schools will increase during the next few years as several large classes that are currently in sixth, seventh and eighth grades move up to the high schools.
“It’s not a huge increase by any stretch,” Grossman said. “I don’t think it’s going to put any stress on the facilities, but it’s an increase none the less.”
Grossman uses a number of factors, including the number of babies born in the school district and the local economy, to create annual enrollment projections for Williamsville Central Schools. The numbers, he said, do not show a need for any changes to buildings or the way students are assigned to schools across the district.
Some of the district’s enrollment has been held relatively steady by families that move into the district after their children are born, Grossman said.
School board member Carrie Kahn said she has already seen an impact from the expansion of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“I see families are already moving in,” Kahn said. “I see them going to realtors and they ask, what’s the number one school district?”
Grossman told school board members that forecasts for declining enrollments will likely change beyond 10 years.
“It’s not going to continue to go down forever,” Grossman told the board. “It never has.”