92 fewer students in Wilton this October

Wilton Public Schools has 92 fewer students than it did last year, according to this year’s official October student enrollment report.

As of Oct. 1, the district’s total enrollment — excluding preschool students — was 4,012. This time last year, that number was 4,104.

According to the October 2016 net enrollment count, there are 778 students at Miller-Driscoll, 886 at Cider Mill, 1,016 at Middlebrook, and 1,332 at Wilton High School.

Grade level enrollment this year is as follows:

  • Kindergarten: 229.

  • First grade: 256.

  • Second grade: 293.

  • Third grade: 252.

  • Fourth grade: 308.

  • Fifth grade: 326.

  • Sixth grade: 343.

  • Seventh grade: 312.

  • Eighth grade: 361.

  • Ninth grade: 336.

  • 10th grade: 327.

  • 11th grade: 328.

  • 12th grade: 341.

Grade level changes

Seventh grade saw the biggest drop, with 48 fewer students enrolled this year than last year, followed by third grade’s 44-student decrease, first grade’s 30-student decrease and fifth grade’s 22-student decrease.

Four other grade levels saw drops in enrollment this year. There are 20 fewer students in the fourth grade, 11 fewer in 10th grade, six fewer in 11th grade, and seven fewer in kindergarten.

Four grade levels saw enrollment increases: second grade enrollment went up 42 students, sixth grade increased by 26, eighth grade increased by 19, and ninth grade increased by nine.

Twelfth grade enrollment remained the same as last year.

Outplaced, pre-K and SPED

When it comes to outplaced students, 29 are in private schools and four are hospitalized, according to the enrollment report.

The report shows a total enrollment of 4,050, which includes 38 preschoolers — 23 of whom are in special education.

According to the report, there are 526 special education students enrolled in the district. In addition to pre-K, this number includes:

  • Miller-Driscoll: 73.

  • Cider Mill: 94.

  • Middlebrook: 156.

  • Wilton High School: 180.

In the district’s preschool program, there are 10 full-day and 11 half-day special education students, Superintendent Kevin Smith explained at the Board of Education’s Oct. 27 meeting.

Of the 11 half-day students, Smith said, “six of those are in the morning [and] the other five are in the afternoon.”

Smith said there are 16 non-special education preschoolers in the program — six full-day and 10 half-day.

Because students age into the preschool program, Smith said, “there’s some shifting around” in terms of special education and non-special education distribution.

Six preschool students are currently in the referral process, said Smith, which is “pretty much what happens this time of year.”

Ann Paul, assistant superintendent of special services, said the number of referrals is likely to increase around November “as teachers and principals become familiar and begin to see issues arising that require referrals.”

2015 report

The October 2015 enrollment report , prepared by Ellen Essman, projected K-12 enrollment to be 4,022 this year and 3,953 in 2017-18.

Other than an enrollment increase of one student in 2011, student enrollment — with preschool and out-of-district students factored in — has dropped every year since 2008:

  • 2009: 37 fewer students than the previous year.

  • 2010: 36 fewer students than the previous year.

  • 2012: 23 fewer students than the previous year.

  • 2013: 15 fewer students than the previous year.

  • 2014: 42 fewer students than the previous year.

  • 2015: 78 fewer students than the previous year.

Milone & MacBroom projections

In its March 2015 Wilton Comprehensive School Enrollment Analysis & Projections report, consulting firm Milone & MacBroom provided three growth scenarios for the Wilton Public School District:

  • Low enrollment: Based on little change in current economic conditions.

  • Medium enrollment: Based on a steadily strengthening economy.

  • High enrollment: Based on a more substantial and rapid rebound in the labor and housing markets.

In each scenario, Milone & MacBroom projected the following K-12 enrollment for 2017-18:

  • Low enrollment: 3,907.

  • Medium enrollment: 3,976.

  • High enrollment: 3,994.

According to Milone & MacBroom, “the medium growth scenario presents the most appropriate model for long-term projections over the eight-year planning horizon.”

Projections are based on “the expectation that the reduced housing prices … will continue to provide opportunities for families to buy into Wilton with students ready to enter the school system,” according to Milone & MacBroom. It is also assumed that “the rise in birth to kindergarten ratios will level off and begin to decrease as housing prices increase.”

Smith said Milone & MacBroom’s projection numbers will be used to build the 2017-18 budget.

Milone & MacBroom’s report is available here.