Friday, October 7, 2005
High school enrollment drops, facilities issues continue
Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) has 1,246 students enrolled this year. Principal Art Dulong told the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) on September 27 that this is 34 fewer students than were expected. Usually there is not such a significant difference.
Dulong stated three reasons for the lower enrollment: "A number of them went to private schools and a larger number moved out of town than moved in to town over the summer." Since many of the students that withdrew were to be freshmen and sophomores, ninth and tenth-grade classes are generally small. Dulong said. "There are pockets of large classes, few are over 27 students. The [teacher-student] ratios are about the same as last year."
The eighth graders from Carlisle who withdrew from CCHS were called. Dulong said, "They have many reasons for not coming to CCHS. Some were seeking smaller class size or a smaller school size. Most went to private school."
Space is tight
Several CCHS students attended the meeting. Senior Tom Schnitzer said, "There are 28 students in my English class. That many kids takes away from the class. There's not enough time for all to talk. These are bright kids. They have things to say that would add to the class discussion." Schnitzer continued, "There are space issues this year. Every room is filled every period. Teachers are cramped." He suggested bringing the I-building "up to educational par" so the square footage could be used there. "There's a big lag time [for a new high school]. It would be a good idea to get more spaces for kids to be in."
Another ramification of the lower enrollment is that Carlisle students make up a smaller percentage of the total number of high school students. Therefore the assessed share of the budget for Carlisle will decrease (see "Carlisle gets a break on CCHS assessment", September 30.)
The RSC is currently considering the CCHS Feasibility Study Report, which recommends that a new high school, with a $90 million price tag, be built. RSC member Michael Fitzgerald asked "What is the tax impact? What is the acceptable tax burden?"
The committee will study the tax impacts of keeping an older school going — both if funds are not approved to build a new school, and also the maintenance costs involved for the next five to eight years until a new high school is being built.
RSC member Betsy Bilodeau said, "We need to show why we can't build a free-standing science building. That solution doesn't address the mechanical, structural and program needs. A science building only addresses one need." Superintendent Brenda Finn will be sitting down with a few individuals that were on the Feasibility Study Committee to build a plan.
Dave Anderson, the new Facilities Manager, gave a presentation on what had been accomplished since he arrived two months ago. Anderson said, "The staff we have is excellent." Improvements include: fresh paint in the locker rooms and on lower gym walls, asphalt repair in the parking lot and resurfacing by the front entrance, new rug and lockers for instruments in the band room, 24 new ACTIVboards have been connected, a movable divider has been installed in the lower gym, a mechanical system for the dark room has been installed and a new emergency generator has been installed.
© 2005 The