WESTPORT, Conn. – More than 5,800 Westport students from kindergarten through 12th-grade kicked off the school year Monday. That’s nearly 100 more students than the district was expecting, Superintendent Elliott Landon said.
“We’re currently 95 students above budgeted projections,” Landon said Monday afternoon. A total of 5,848 students were enrolled in the district at the end of the school day.
The largest increase is at the elementary level, where there are 58 more students than anticipated, Landon said. The second-highest increase is at Staples High School, where there are 34 more students than expected. But there are only three more students than anticipated at the middle school level.
“Often times, we’re right on the mark, or really close to the [enrollment] projections, but this is a surge,” Landon said. “I anticipated growth, but I didn’t anticipate it being this large.”
The elementary schools most affected by the increase are Greens Farm, Kings Highway and Long Lots, Landon said.
Despite enrolling more students than projected, Landon said, “class sizes are well within the guidelines.” At the elementary schools, that means no more than 22 students in kindergarten or first-grade classes and no more than 25 students in second through fifth-grade classes.
At the middle schools, teams are created with 90 to 110 students, Landon said. There are three teams at Bedford and two teams at Coleytown Middle. At Staples, the maximum number of students in a class is 25.
A variety of factors can lead to higher enrollment than projected, such as new families moving into town or Westport private school students joining the district.
“With mortgage rates starting to move up and house prices continuing to increase, people are looking to move to a great town with a great school district, and I think we’re seeing the results of that,” Landon said.
“I saw a Realtor’s report that compared January through July 2011 to January through July 2012, and of the towns surrounding us — Weston, Easton, Norwalk — Westport was the only town to show an increase in housing.”