By SUZANNA LOURIE

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Student enrollment in Saratoga Springs schools continues to decline, a trend district officials say is reflective of the sluggish housing market.

District enrollment dropped significantly between this academic year and last, down 106 students from 6,741 to a current total of 6,635.

“We have a projected enrollment decrease of 55 students next year, and home sales reflect directly on our projections,” said Thomas Mele, assistant superintendent for elementary education.

According to projections, the decrease will level off after next year, decreasing by just 58 students over a three-year period.

The report, compiled using city statistics and school data, showed similar findings to last year’s, including a decrease in students primarily at the elementary level — where two sections were eliminated this year.

“The trend continues that we’re not seeing an infusion of new students into the district because we’re not seeing homes being sold,” Mele said.

Homeowners are hanging onto their houses in the recession and younger families aren’t coming into the area, causing students to age out of the elementary schools, Mele said.

Attendance at the middle and high school levels remains steady.

The report also revealed that the GlobalFoundries chip plant project in Malta has not driven up district enrollment figures as many administrators predicted.

“We’re finding a lot of families are moving out of the district, presumably, I believe, to find more affordable housing,” Mele said.

 

Following Mele’s presentation, Angelina Bergin, director of human resource services, presented the annual staffing report.

The district has trimmed staffing in recent years from around 1,152 in 2005-2006 to a current total of 1,105. Five instructional and six non-instructional positions were eliminated across the district this year, down 11 from the previous year.

As enrollment decreases, so does the need for employment, but Bergin commended the district for avoiding layoffs as employment has shrunk in recent years.

“We’ve really skimmed staff quite a bit not to lay anyone off, and as enrollment goes down, so does our employment,” Bergin said. “The student to staff ratio has maintained stable without diminishing educational programming.”