At last Tuesday’s Pine Bush Central School District Board of Education meeting, an updated demographic study was presented, revealing among many things a decline in enrollment in the district.
The district experienced losses in nine of the last 10 years. Pine Bush schools had 5,850 students in 2009 and had only 4,926 students in 2019. The current enrollment of 4,926 students is down 112 from the last school year.
There were 3,791,712 nationally recorded births in 2018 which is two percent lower than 2017. This same percentage decline has continued now for the past several years. The number of births continues to be low for the Pine Bush Central School District at 330.
“Lower births have been linked to several factors, including lower starting salaries, significant student loan debt and higher rental costs,” said Michael Pacella, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, who presented the demographic study. “Young people are living with parents longer thereby delaying marriage and child bearing.”
Over the next five year period, through the 2024-2025 school year, all grade levels in the district are projected to continue losing students. However, in the years after that, grades K-5 are expected to gain students, grades 6-8 are projected to remain stable while high school grades are expected to continue losing students.
Despite the decline in the number of students in the Pine Bush Central School District, New York state actually had a net gain in population of 164,000 people since the 2010 Census. However, last year, the state led the nation again in domestic migration at 180,306. This decrease was offset by an international migration increase and natural increase for an overall decrease of 109,931. New York is the fourth most populous state in the country with 19.5 million people trailing behind California (39.6 million), Texas (28.7 million) and Florida (21.3 million). Prior to 2014, New York was third.
Of the counties within the Pine Bush Central School District between 2010-2017, Orange County increased by 9,138 (2.5 percent); Ulster County decreased by 3,894 (2.1 percent); and Sullivan County decreased by 2,049 (2.6 percent).
Last Tuesday, Pacella also provided updates on housing in the district. Home sales in the district remained steady at 315 units sold in 2018. Median sales prices increased to $244,000 (3.8 percent) from the prior year. 87 percent of all housing is occupied, while 13 percent is vacant. Of all the housing, 76 percent is owner occupied and 24 percent is renter occupied.
“The housing market is booming,” Pacella said.