ICC’s sagging enrollment has bright spots

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane school board looked at enrollment numbers last week that show total enrollment for the district is now 1,832. That’s up 42 students over last year, but enrollment is down from the 2007-08 school year, when the district had 2,179 students.

Superintendent Michael Vanyo said that the graduating senior class of 134 students is one of the smaller ones in recent years. There are over a 150 students each in the junior and sophomore classes, but this year’s freshmen class is only 131.

Superintendent Vanyo told the board that Ichabod Crane has seen a 15% decrease in enrollment over the last 10 years. He said it was predicted a decade ago that upstate schools would see a 10% decrease so Ichabod is on the high end of that trend. He did not have numbers for other school districts in the county.

He did say there was an increase in 2017-18 kindergarten class. This year’s class has 147 students, well above last year’s 120 kindergarteners. The district increased the number of kindergarten classrooms last year based on the large group coming in.

This year’s kindergarten class has more students for whom English is a second language, now referred to as ENL (English as a New Language) students.

“We did see a significant increase in that number,” Mr. Vanyo said at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, December 5

He said that he would continue to review these numbers and he talked about school-age children in the district who are homeschooled and those who attend private schools. This year 29 students are homeschooled and 75 attend private or parochial schools.

Mr. Vanyo said enrollment information helps with budgeting, especially as it affects staffing. District Business Manager Michael Brennan said the district’s Budget Committee is meeting and has started the process of creating the 2018-19 school budget.

Also at the December 5 meeting:

• The board heard a presentation from the Guidance Department. Joan White from the middle school stressed the relationship between school guidance offices and outside agencies where the district can find help for students. “I don’t know what we would do without outside agencies,” she said

• The district’s School Resource Office (SRO) county Deputy Sheriff Toby VanAlstyne talked about his work at the school. He said most students “feel pretty comfortable with me.” He told the board that he divides his time among all the district school buildings throughout the week. “We have all the same standards now in all the buildings,” he said of rules in the three buildings.

The deputy did say he had arrested a student in the school recently over a harassment issue, but he said the student knew he did something wrong and was sorry, and that student’s parent called to thank the deputy after the arrest.

“The relationships he builds [are] a huge deterrent for us,” Mr. Vanyo said of the SRO

• Mr. Brennan said the district has collected about $19 million in school taxes this year. He thanked Mindy Potts, the district’s tax coordinator, for her work. “She puts the reports together for us and does a great job,” he said.

The district budgeted about $22 million from tax revenues this year and the unpaid balance will now be billed to Columbia and Rensselaer counties, which will make the district budget whole. The counties will then be responsible for collecting the unpaid taxes.

The next regular meeting of the Ichabod Crane Central School District Board of Education will be Tuesday, January 9 at 7 p.m. in the high school Library.

To contract reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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