‘Sustained, Stable Enrollment’: New Canaan Public Schools Sees Increase of 36 Students in 2016-17

New Canaan Public Schools is seeing an increase of 36 students year-over-year in 2016-17, though the district’s overall figure for the current academic year—4,210 students, K-12—came in below what had been projected, driven in part by fewer-than-expected kindergartners enrolled, officials said Monday. At 273 kindergartners, this year’s total is 44 under projections and down 12 from last year, according to Gary Kass, the district’s director of human resources. Even so, NCPS is projected to see consistently high overall enrollment into the foreseeable future, as the district enters “a period of sustained, stable enrollment,” Kass said during a meeting of the Board of Education, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “In looking at the projections in the analysis of those projections, it looks like we are on a pretty steady course, and fairly stable in terms of where and when this will be in the coming years,” Kass said. The comments come as Saxe Middle School undergoes an expansion that will be finished next fall—a project that gained support on the strength of an already-overcrowded facility with no enrollment relief on the horizon.

Letter: Board of Ed Urges New Canaan To Support Saxe Building Project

The Board of Education has been closely following the Saxe Building Committee’s (SBC) work throughout their process of analyzing the educational space needs at Saxe, recommending changes to meet those needs and designing the improvements deemed critical. The Board of Education fully supports the SBC’s recommended project to renovate the Saxe Auditorium and visual performing arts/music area and to expand the current building to add a net of 12 new classrooms.

Why Saxe Needs More Space

Built in 1957, Saxe Middle School was last renovated from 1997 to 1999 to accommodate 1200 students. Since this time (15-plus years), Saxe’s enrollment has increased. Current enrollment is at 1,327 students, up from the 1,292 students enrolled at this time last year. The latest projections anticipate that enrollment at Saxe will steadily increase over the next few years, peaking in 2024 at 1,376 students, and remaining stable at around 1,350 afterwards.

TABLE: What Other Districts Charge for Kids of Nonresident Faculty To Attend Local Schools

In a letter from a resident and at a Town Council meeting, the question has emerged: Should New Canaan continue its practice of allowing the children of educators in the district who don’t live in town to attend local schools for free? Here’s a table that looks at how some nearby towns handle this—the schools listed here belong to the same CT Department of Education “District Reference Group”:


Currently, officials say, 51 children attending New Canaan Public Schools fall into the category, mostly in the younger elementary school grades. During a discussion of the matter, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said at the July 15 Town Council meeting that the children of nonresident educators are spread out among the schools so that no new sections are added as a result. Luizzi added that the practice results from a Board of Education policy and is at the discretion of the school board. Specifically, policy 5120 (on page 123 here), approved in April 1956, states: “When deemed appropriate by the administration, children of non-resident public school teachers are permitted to attend the New Canaan Public Schools at no cost to the parent. Such placements will be reviewed annually by the Superintendent.

Did You Hear … ?

We’re hearing that the wonderful New Canaan Beautification League hosted its second annual Mead Park Breakfast on a recent sunny morning, as a way to say ‘Thank You’ to town employees including many DPW crewmen for their support and partnership in making our village lovely throughout the year (see gallery above). The event was held in the colonnade at Mead Park (a popular spot that had been WPA-era children’s wading pool, originally). Recognized at a recent Town Council meeting for its effective local work, the nonprofit organization creates the hanging baskets downtown and manages many of the traffic triangles around New Canaan. “This non-profit organization of volunteers is open to all, whether for social, civic-minded or educational purposes,” league memberts tell us. “No green thumb is necessary.

Caucus Results: New Canaan Republicans Back New Candidates for Town Council, Board of Ed

New Canaan Republicans on Tuesday night backed four candidates for Town Council and three for Board of Education—an incumbent from each elected group failing to garner the required votes for party endorsement—during the Republican Town Committee’s caucus at New Canaan High School. Officials said just 285 total ballots were cast during the caucus, which saw most voters exit the high school auditorium even before candidates had a chance to give their speeches. The hopefuls now eye the Nov. 3 local elections, to begin their terms on the Town Council and Board of Ed soon afterwards. “It’s a great civic duty on your part to attend this,” RTC Moderator John Ponterotto told those gathered at the caucus at the outset, prior to opening voting for those who wished to cast their ballots prior to candidate speeches.