Improvements Necessary Despite Declining Enrollment

Improvements Necessary Despite Declining Enrollment

Editor, The Cheshire Herald:


This November, the citizens of Cheshire hopefully will be voting on a referendum regarding the first phase of a multi-year comprehensive modernization plan for Cheshire Public Schools. The School Modernization Committee is currently working on narrowing down the options that are being considered.

You may be wondering — if enrollment has been dropping in Cheshire since 2007, why do we need more space?

Here is some data to answer that question. In 2008, the school enrollment in Cheshire was 4,932 students. Over the course of 12 years, that enrollment dropped to the current 4,116 students. Rooms that became available allowed the school district to institute full-day kindergarten (which doubled the amount of kindergarten classrooms needed) and were used to house an increasing number of special education programs in-house, providing students better instruction in a more cost effective manner. Based on a recent detailed demographic report by Milone & MacBroom, in 2029, the school enrollment is predicted to reach as high as 4,657 students. The middle and high schools will not reach capacity over the next 10 years, but the elementary schools will.

The elementary school enrollment over the course of the next 12 years is projected to increase from 1,987 to 2,606, well over the present capacity of our elementary schools.

As we look at each elementary school, we find the following:

•Darcey will exceed its capacity next year.

•Highland will exceed its capacity in 3 years.

•Chapman will exceed its capacity in 6 years.

• Norton will reach capacity in 10 years.

•Doolittle will remain within target enrollment only if the kindergarten classes now at Darcey School remain there.

Overall, the elementary system in Cheshire will exceed capacity in 2026. This is an immediate and pressing issue that must be addressed.

The School Modernization Committee has spent a year gathering data and devising an effective instructional solution. Public input is strongly encouraged by viewing our website:, following our Facebook page, watching our meetings on YouTube, and/or submitting comments via email to


Kate O’Donnell


School Modernization Committee

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