School enrollment increases; largest gain seen at elementary school

During the September 13, 2022 School Board meeting, Superintendent Christopher Record reported that the district as a whole grew by 43 more students this year over last.  “That’s a big increase; some of that is in-migration – people choosing to move here – and we also have some families choosing to come back from private schools,” Record said.  The largest growth is seen at Pond Cove Elementary School, which has 65 more students than last year.  We have been looking into the reasons why, and it’s really because there are families with young children that have moved here,” Record said.

The school department has contracted to have an additional student-enrollment assessment from a specialist that has worked with surrounding districts, such as Scarborough, Portland, South Portland, Saco, Boothbay, and RSU 22.  Record said that the report will provide a comparison with NESDEC numbers.  As enrollment impacts the yearly budget and the new schools project, “It will be good to compare; I will have those numbers to you at our September [27] workshop,” Record said.

According to a Cape Elizabeth School Department enrollment comparison, last year’s kindergarten had 92 students, this year it has 122 and has, “Grown year, over year,” Record said.  Considering the possibility that families held back more students last year because of the pandemic, Record said, “That is not the case.  We have consistently had 19 students kept at home for a year so that they go to kindergarten older.”  The increase in kindergarten enrollment, “Is a good indicator that we have a lot of young families, with a lot of young kids in Cape,” Record said.  Board member Elizabeth Scifres added that record numbers of children enrolling in T-ball and Little League this past spring, has also confirmed this.  Record pointed out, “You can see that some classes [grades] are bigger than others and that is why flexible classrooms is so important.”

In an earlier presentation to the board, Pond Cove Principal Jason Manjourides said, “Our enrollment is up very significantly with families from all over the country and even some from overseas.”  As a result of the increase in students, the school’s sole conference room had to be surrendered and turned into a classroom. Manjourides said, “Pond Cove is completely full; we have no more room,” but that people are, “doing what they have to do and taking care of the kids.”



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