Presenting a report of school enrollment trends and building utilization, District Director of Research, Evaluation and Special Services Andrea Rosen reported that this year the district is projecting only a 1.3 percent overall increase in the school population.
The elementary school enrollment is expected to remain the same next year, while there should be a slight growth at the middle school and high school levels in 2000-2001. By the 2004-2005 school year, the K-12 population should increase about 4.6 percent, with the major increases (9.3 percent) at the high school level.
Speaking at the Dec. 13 board of education meeting, Dr. Rosen explained that the information in the report is based on the district attendance records from 1965 to the present. The report states, ''The population estimates were based on the assumed continuation of the present pattern of housing and birthrates. Current projections cannot, of course, take into account any possible changes in construction or economic conditions which might affect future enrollment trends in the district.''
Discussing highlights of the report, Dr. Rosen said that the school population was 10,342 in 1965. In 1990 the population was down to 5,311. After 1990 there has been a growth of one to one-and-a-half percent per year. The year 2000 school population is expected to be 6,000, up 13 percent from 1990. ''This is a bit of a climb back,'' said Dr. Rosen.
This year, the Great Neck public schools opened with 5,924 students, close to the 1984 population, but differing in proportions. In 1984 the high school population was higher than that in the elementary schools, but this was reversed by 1994. ''We are beginning to catch up and by 2004 we should be closer to the way it was,'' said Dr. Rosen.
She also reported that in the next five years the K-12 population should be up four-and-a-half percent --- nine percent at the high school level, with the elementary population fairly stable.
Addressing the North/South issue, Dr. Rosen said that the numbers have ''changed drastically.'' In 1969 the North Middle population was 926 and the South Middle population was 754. By 1999 South Middle had 768. North Middle went down to 609.
Dr. Rosen said that the trend does seem to be continuing southward ''for the indefinite future,'' with the largest kindergarten at the Lakeville Elementary School, a south secondary feeder school.
According to Dr. Rosen, kindergarten began growing in the late '80s. The lowest was 1979, with a kindergarten population of 289. The highest was 1994 with a Kindergarten population of 395. The current kindergarten population is 354. ''kindergarten is always the trickiest,'' said Dr. Rosen, ''but we get a pretty good handle once the child is in school.''
Dr. Rosen explained, ''We start with kindergarten and predict that group's growth.'' During the years between kindergarten and twelfth grade, each class increases about 45 percent.
The largest twelfth grade was 970 in 1968. ''That is now the size of our average high school,'' said Dr. Rosen. The smallest twelfth grade was 419 in 1996. This year there are 495 twelfth graders.
When some concern was expressed over South High's growth and larger size, both principals, Bernard Kaplan at North High and Randolph Ross at South High, said that the uneven numbers were not causing programming problems nor limiting course selections. Board of education trustee Mona Fuchs noted that the South complex is the larger building and can hold more students.