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December 07. 2012 12:52AM

With enrollment continuing to drop, Newfound school district plans ahead

BRISTOL - Due to dropping enrollments, the Newfound Area School District is studying the idea of converting to K-8 schools in district towns and eliminating the district's middle school.

At present, the district has kindergarten through fifth-grade students at the Bridgewater-Hebron Village School, the Bristol Elementary School and New Hampton Community School.

It operates a K-4 system at Danbury Elementary.

Danbury fifth-graders presently are taught at other elementary schools in the system.

Students in grades six to eight go to Newfound Middle School.

With significantly fewer students in the district, "taxpayers will say, 'Why do we need six buildings?' It's obvious that this and other options need to be looked at now," said Paul Migliore, the school board chairman.

District officials said over the past eight years, the district has lost an average of 30 to 40 students per year.

Migliore said the decline is likely due to residents moving to places where rents are lower.

If enrollments continue to drop, he said, a few years from now the district may be forced to take action without time for residents in the seven-town district to have any input.

"There is a continued trend in downward enrollments," he said. "We're looking at this as a study in how we can improve student outcomes now, while we have time for a corrective dialogue to take place."

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Dan Seufert may be reached at dseufert@newstote.com.


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