Officials in the Cazenovia School District are looking for ways to increase enrollment after seeing a steady decline.
In the last eight years, enrollment has declined 200 students , and district officials expect it to continue. In 2013, 140 students are expected to graduate , and only 70 students are expected to enroll in Kindergarten that same year.
It has school officials asking one very pressing question.
"Why?" says Superintendent Robert Dubik. "Certainly, from our perspective, we think the academic programs are strong, and we're attracting people because of our academics, but there's something else that's not bringing young families to the district."
Dubik says the district has won a number of honors, including having the high school named a blue ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education and winning Central New York technology program of the year, but he says if enrollment doesn't turn around, the district will likely have to make some tough decisions. That could include eliminating electives and losing teachers.
Dubik said he's working with town and village officials to find a way to bring more families to Cazenovia , and he believes the answer may lie in bringing more affordable housing options to the area.
Cazenovia Town Supervisor Ralph Monforte says town officials are working on a number of initiatives to solve the problem. He says they're looking for grants to help families finance existing homes that are in need of repairs. He says the town has also identified land near the schools where new developments can be built.
"I think we're at the point now where we really need to start talking about growing and start enticing growth into areas to try to bolster some of the infrastructure that we have in place that's just sitting idle."
Monforte says the town has received some interest from developers, but nothing is final, yet.