VALHALLA, N.Y. – Enrollment for the upcoming school year in the Valhalla Union Free School District is down by just 10 students from the previous year, yet a "population bubble" moving through the middle school allowed the district to save money by cutting staff in lower grades while maintaining class sizes.
In the upcoming school year, the district will start with 1,531 students, which is down from the total number in June 2011 of 1,541. In the 2012-13 budget that was passed in May, the district cut about $600,000, eliminating a third-grade section at the Kensico Elementary School, a part-time music teacher at Virginia Road Elementary School, and a district chaperone.
Superintendent Brenda Myers previously said that the reductions were made strictly as a result of the shift in enrollment.
In 2011-12, the smallest grade in the district was the graduating seniors at Valhalla High School, which totaled 91 students. The biggest class was the sixth grade, where there were 151 students. That large class is now entering seventh grade.
Since 2001, the district’s enrollment has increased by 222 students.
Trends show that the enrollment may eventually decline significantly for Valhalla. According to numbers from the district, home sales in areas of Mount Pleasant, Greenburgh and North Castle - where students would attend the Valhalla School District - have gone down significantly in recent years. In 2001, 163 homes sold within the Valhalla School District. In 2010, that number dropped to only 60 homes.
Due to these drops in new residents moving to the area, the Valhalla School District projects that enrollment will hit a low by 2021. When current fourth-grade students will be high school seniors, the enrollment is expected to drop down to about 1,370, a low that hasn’t been seen in the district since 2002.