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Ridgefield Schools Look At Options To Address Declining Enrollment

The Ridgefield Board of Education reviewed ways to address declining enrollments at the town's middle schools at a Jan. 9 meeting.
The Ridgefield Board of Education reviewed ways to address declining enrollments at the town's middle schools at a Jan. 9 meeting. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith, stock photo

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Enrollment decline at the town's two middle schools was central to discussions at the Jan. 9 Ridgefield Board of Education meeting.

The board looked at ways to address this in a building capacity study by Milione & MacBroom. No recommendations, as yet, have been made of three viable options, if any, will be approved for public presentation and comment, according to a release.

Influential factors would include the education impact on students, class size guidelines, capacity and availability of classrooms, capital improvement needs, the impact on families, and financial savings to the district.

The key challenge to enrollment decline at the middle schools is the under utilization of the school buildings.

These are the three options:

Align Feeder Pattern: This option would keep the current school boundaries for the three elementary schools and create a 50/50 split for the elementary schools feeding into the two middle schools. 

This option evens up the distribution of the two schools and at the same time opens up increased underutilization of East Ridge Middle School. 

Balance Elementary Enrollments with Pocket Redistricting: This would see the adjustment of current elementary school boundaries in an effort to balance elementary enrollments in all six schools. 

The advantage here is the preservation of the six elementary schools and middle schools under the existing PK-5 and 6-8 grade configurations. 

PK-4 and 5-8 Reconfiguration plus Closure of Scotland Elementary School: Under this scenario, Scotland Elementary School would close, the remaining five elementary schools would become PK-4 schools, and the two middle schools would become 5-8 schools. 

The advantages include savings in closure of a school building, consolidation of staff, transportation efficiencies, new opportunities for 5th-grade students related to curriculum and programming, and balancing space utilization at the elementary schools and middle schools.

Click here for a summary sheet of all the options.

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