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Despite Fewer Babies, School Enrollment Should Remain Stable

District reports on school enrollment projections for Caldwell-West Caldwell Public Schools.

Caldwell-West Caldwell Public Schools should see stable student enrollment over the next five years, according to a report presented by Superintendent of Schools Daniel Gerardi Monday night.

Gerardi said the report by Whitehall Associates of Kinnelon looked at three indicators used to project future enrollment: municipal population, birth rate and new building/development in the towns of Caldwell and West Caldwell, which share a school district.

The municipalities' populations are slightly decreasing. According to U.S. census data, Caldwell and West Caldwell had a combined population of 18,500 in 2010, compared to 20,500 in 1970 and 8,055 in 1930. The population has dropped about 10% in the last 40 years.

The birth rate in the two towns has also decreased over recent years, Gerardi said. However, the percentage of children making their way into the district's kindergarten classes is on the rise. Gerardi said this could be due to less parents opting for private kindergarten.

As far as development, there are few places left to build. Gerardi said new housing planned for West Caldwell—including on Passaic Avenue and on Clinton Road—will primarily attract young couples, empty-nesters and retirees and therefore should not have a significant impact on school enrollment.

Gerardi called stability positive for the district when it comes to maintaining class sizes and the number of teachers needed.

According to the Whitehall study, total enrollment for the district is projected to be 2,576 in 2016-17, slightly down from 2,598 in 2012-13.

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