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High Enrollment Figures Could Become Major Burden For Brookline School System

The high school is projected to beyond capacity in several years.

The Brookline school system will need 21 new classrooms over the next four years to accommodate growth in enrollment for grades K-8.

This was just part of the intimidating enrollment overview presented to the School Committee Thursday night. Superintendent Bill Lupini noted that the figures paint a dire future for the district.

“It’s going to be very, very difficult...certainly impossible under present conditions, under present level of funding to maintain the level of support that we’ve been able to provide during the eight years I’ve been here, and certainly many years prior to that under these conditions,” he said.  

School Committee member Henry Warren suggested the hammer and nail might be the only solution to the district’s overcrowded dilemma.

“I really don’t want to mention the unmentionable about the possibility of building another school,” said Warren.

Kindergarten currently has a record 602 pupils enrolled this year, and those numbers are expected to maintain, if not grow, over the next several years, according to the overview given by Deputy Superintendent Peter Rowe. He commented that the district should assume this to continue for the foreseeable future.

The high enrollment figures will result in larger class sizes, a situation already seen more prominently in the lower levels than the higher ones. And adding to these woes is the fact the high school is projected to beyond capacity by fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

“We are in demand and are victims of our success,” said Rowe.

The issue will be a subject of discussion during a School Committee workshop next Thursday. Chairwoman Rebecca Stone remarked that this is the beginning of a series of conversations about how best to deal with the enrollment problem.

“That is our agenda for next week as well as the next several years,” she said.

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