‘LIVE BIRTHS’ & ENROLLMENT
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Enrollment in Oneonta City Schools, it turns out, hit bottom with this year’s 10th graders.
The 105 sophomores comprise the smallest class, K-12, among the 1,738 students currently in city comprise.
And, according to the annual “Live Births” compilation prepared by ONC BOCES Superintendent of Schools Nick Savin, it will continue to grow, at least modestly, for the time being.
“It’s a great situation for us to be in,” said Oneonta Superintendent of Schools Thomas Brindley, who was at his desk Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the midst of winter break when students and most teachers were vacationing.
Where Cooperstown Central, where “Live Births” are plummeting, is looking for ways to make cuts across the board, including football, Brindley can look at “staffing needs related to those numbers” with some optimism.
Yes, staffing it determined to some degree by the teacher contract, but there’s also room for “best practices,” he said.
Brindley agreed the addition of housing – the Silver Creek development in particular – has brought new people to the city. But also, families are drawn to Oneonta by jobs at the colleges or hospital.
The schools are an attraction, too, said Brindley, a former policeman who was promoted from high school principal to the top job when Superintendent Joe Yelich retired last year.
“But also, the Oneonta Central School District has a lot to offer its students,” he said, and on purpose.
Because of a wealth of extra-curricular activities, seniors grade with “very attractive transcripts.”
Beginning seven years ago, when he was appointed OHS principal, “we grew our clubs and organizations to grow an environment where there’s something for everyone,” whether the graduate it going into the workforce, the military or on to college.
“Whatever ‘next’ is,” he said, “it draws them in.”
The sophomore class, at 105, was a sharp reduction from this year’s seniors (134), according to Savin’s numbers. But with some ups and downs, enrollment continued to trend upwards, to 140 (this year’s sixth grade) to peak at 152 (this year’s third grade).
The last “Live Births” analysis shows 140 kindergartners entering the Oneonta district next September, a next gain of six over the 134 seniors expected to graduate in June.