District Enrollment Projected To Decrease by 81 Students Next Year

Enrollment in New Canaan Public Schools is projected to decrease by 81 students next year, according to data released this week. The projected decline for the 2021-22 school year—from 4,176 to 4,095 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade—reflects decreases at all levels, according to Darlene Pianka, the district’s human resources director. The elementary schools are projected to see 34 fewer students overall next academic year, Pianka told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting Monday. Citing projects from Marlborough, Mass.-based New England School Development Council or ‘NESDEC,’ she said Saxe Middle School is expected to decline by 15 students and New Canaan High School by 32. “Generally speaking, the trend that is indicated by our demographers is that we are in a period of stable but slightly decreasing enrollment in the middle and the elementary schools,” Pianka said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS as well as via videoconference. 

In a memo sent to the Board of Ed prior to her presentation, Pianka said, “If we look at projections a few years out we might describe our enrollment as on a slow steady decrease from 4,176 students this year, decreasing to 4,101 students in the 2022-23 school year, a projected decrease of 75 net students, followed by future decreases in enrollment.”

Current enrollment stands at 4,234 students including pre-K students and those placed out-of-district—up 10 from last year’s total, Pianka said.

School District Sees Rise in Enrollment for Second Straight Year

With another increase expected this year, enrollment in New Canaan Public Schools is bucking recent projections that it would flatten, officials said Monday. The district now has 4,194 students enrolled for the upcoming academic year—28 more than last year and 29 more than projected, according to NCPS Director of Human Resources Darlene Pianka. (The figures do not include preschools.)

During an enrollment update to the Board of Education on Monday night, Pianka said New Canaan’s elementary schools now have 1,491 students enrolled—14 more than at the end of June—and that the district will add a kindergarten section at East School and fourth-grade section at South School to maintain acceptable class-size levels. Responding to Board member Dionna Carlson’s observation that recent projections showing a flattening in enrollment are not bearing out, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said, “It’s not bearing out and it’s not bearing out in the region.”

“We are hearing from the towns around us that where it was bearing out, they are seeing a turnaround,” he said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “We are a little concerned about a labor shortage, so we are aggressively going into the market to shore up those long-term subs that are certified positions.

District Tracks Public Schools Enrollment As Realtors Anticipate High Number of Move-Ins

Though enrollment for New Canaan Public Schools next academic year remains largely in line with projections, district officials say they’re in communication with local real estate professionals who are anticipating a high number of move-ins from New York City amid the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

What initially had been a discussion about high demand in the local rental market now appears to be true for prospective homebuyers, according to NCPS Director of Human Resources Darlene Pianka. “I think the general consensus is that the spring market is just starting to happen right now,” Pianka told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting, held Monday night via videoconference. “So houses are coming onto the market in a delayed manner. Where we would have been starting the housing market in March, things slowed down for those three months and are just beginning to pick back up. Anything can happen and we are certainly watching it every day.”

The comments, made in response to a question from Board of Ed member Sheri West, came as Pianka reviewed the district’s own enrollment numbers, based largely on data verification with public school families, and compared those figures against projections from the Marlboro, Mass.-based New England School Development Council, known as NESDEC.

District: 116 More Students Than Projected Enrolled in New Canaan Public Schools

When the academic year starts next week, New Canaan Public Schools are expecting to see 116 more students K-12 than had been projected, district officials reported Monday. 

The above-projected figure of 4,180 total students reflects higher-than-projected registration across all levels, with the elementary schools 79 students over projections, Saxe Middle School 18 and New Canaan High School 19, according to Darlene Pianka, the district’s director of human resources. The overall figure does not include pre-kindergarten. “Big numbers,” Pianka said during the Board of Education’s regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS. The figures show that “there is clearly demand for New Canaan Public Schools,” Board Chairman Brendan Hayes said. “This is great news, I mean seeing 116 students overall greater than what we predicted is pretty amazing and remarkable,” he added.