By Connor Linskey
The Pine Bush Central School District (PBCSD) has been experiencing a decline in enrollment that is expected to continue over the next 10 years.
At last Tuesday’s board of education meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business Michael Pacella gave a presentation on the district enrollment. Pine Bush has experienced a loss of 930 students over the last 10 years and enrollment is expected to decrease by an additional 628 students over the next 10 years.
Each school in the district has experienced significant losses in the past year. Current K-5 enrollment is 1,931, down 68 from last year. The population of students in grades 6-8 has seen the largest decrease from the previous school year with 120, as middle school enrollment has dwindled to 1,138. High School enrollment is down to 1,649, 17 less from last year.
The district’s enrollment projections through the 2025-2026 school year show a gradual decrease. There are currently 4,721 students in the district and enrollment is expected to be 4,425 in the 2025-2026 school year.
“We’re seeing an uptick in homeschooling because parents are skeptical about COVID, they don’t want the in person,” Pacella said. “The curriculum department has seen a larger than normal increase in homeschooling and we only think it’s gonna go a little bit higher over the next few years because there’s a lot of people who don’t vaccinate their children. We’re unsure if the state’s gonna mandate this vaccine for COVID. If the state mandates the vaccine for COVID, I would suspect that the homeschooling rates would go even higher than they are now.”
Though the state’s population as well as enrollment in the PBCSD are down, the housing market in the district is improving. Housing is under construction in both the towns of Bloomingburg and Wallkill. There are 28 condominiums under construction on Winterton Road in Bloomingburg while 23 units are under construction at various locations within the Town of Wallkill.
Pacella believes that the housing market in the district will continue to be robust for the foreseeable future.
“The housing market posted significant gains toward the end of 2020 and I don’t see that declining any time soon,” he said. “It may level out but there’s still a big outpoor from the city looking to get into more of a rural type of market.”