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Morristown Central School faces a temporary drop in class sizes at the high school level

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MORRISTOWN - As Morristown Central School prepares for a new budget season, Superintendent David J. Glover is predicting a sharp drop in the size of high school classes for the next four years.

Currently there are 26 students in grade 12 but in grades eight through 11 there are less than 25 students each.

“We’ve seen this coming, we knew this was going to happen,” Mr. Glover said at Wednesday’s board of education meeting.

Once those classes begin graduating Mr. Glover said the class sizes will return to normal – class sizes in the elementary school and middle school average out to roughly 30 students each – but the board of education will need to consider the fluctuation in the 2014-2015 budget year.

The four-year dip in class sizes has made adjusting teaching resources a fulltime job for the district as the classes filter through.

In the elementary school Mr. Glover said even though “our elementary is almost back to full strength, so we start talking budgeting this year in terms of personnel, some of our personnel at the elementary level is still back at that reduced enrollment level. That’s something we’re going to need to address.”

The district is also looking at a lower than average enrollment in pre-kindergarten.

This year’s class of 15 students is lower than the last five years, each of which saw between 24 and 29 students.

Mr. Glover said, based on historical trends within the district, he expects at least 10 students to join that class when they reach kindergarten in the fall of 2014.

Board of education Vice President Darrell W. Merkel said he hopes more families will take advantage of the district’s pre-kindergarten program.

“Everything in educational journals tell us that some of the most important years in educating kids and bringing the students of the United States back on line is a pre-K program, a K[indergarten] program and a 1, 2, 3,” Mr. Merkel said. “And it’s a shame that we’re missing that pre-K area for this particular group.”

Budget negotiations will begin in earnest in January and will likely be approved in March.

The 2013-2014 fiscal year budget totaled $9 million, a $481,154 increase over last year’s budget.

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