FARMINGTON — While many school districts in the state are seeing declines in student enrollment, Regional School Unit 9 is seeing an increase.

The student population is 2,362 students, an increase of 36 students from last year to this year, Superintendent Tom Ward said Wednesday.

It is a good problem to have, he said.

He updated the school board on student enrollment and overcrowding issues on Tuesday night.

The high school is pushing 700 students, compared to 660 last year.

Ward said officials are watching the kindergarten classes at Cushing School in Wilton, because they have two classes at 18 students, and a third is at 17.

The school board’s policy sets maximum kindergarten class sizes at 18 students to one teacher, he said. If the numbers exceed that amount, an ed tech is required.

They are also watching grade two at Mallett School in Farmington, where the classes hover around 22 or 23 students.

“That is way too high for second grade,” Ward said.

In the special education program, 19 more students than anticipated have moved into the district and require special services.

Unfortunately, the district received $56,000 less in federal funds, so there is a shortfall, he said.

There are four vacant ed tech positions, he said. He told the board the positions probably won’t be filled unless a student’s individualized education program requires it.

The move of the Central Office from the basement of the school to the Mt. Blue Campus provided space for four classrooms, and Ward said the four additional classrooms at the middle school have done what they hoped.

“We’re really off to a positive start,” Ward said of the new school year.

The school board added money to this year’s budget to provide an additional fourth-grade teacher at the Cascade Brook School in Farmington to allow for smaller class sizes.

The school’s staff sent the board and Ward a letter thanking them for the additional teacher.

“The opportunity to form smaller groups for that class is already showing great benefits for the students,” the letter states. “Two of the current fourth-grade teachers have had some of these children in past years (first and second grades) and they both have noticed a profound change in the time available to meet the varied needs that are presented by this group within a given classroom.”

“We know that the growth of these students in all areas — socially, emotionally, and academically — will continue to be enhanced as this year unfolds. We deeply appreciate your support,” the letter states.

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