EDITORIAL: Affordable homes will bode well for enrollment at schools

With the school district projecting a smaller number of incoming students each year, we are happy to hear that local officials have begun to examine ways to reverse the trend and expand Cazenovia’s tax base.

The Cazenovia Central School District continues to improve academically and athletically with each passing quarter. The district’s long list of accolades and achievements is enough to attract any young familiy looking to raise their children in a safe, vibrant community.

So what gives? Why do we lose prospective neighbors to nearby areas like Chittenango?

Superintendent Bob Dubik thinks the lack of affordable, new housing is to blame. Cazenovia possesses innumerable beautiful homes along historic streets, but the cost of living is just too high for a young family looking to put down their roots. “Out of the 95 homes sold in Cazenovia last year, 20 percent of those have kids,” he said. “We’re not seeing any growth. The help that we need is from our local representatives in the town and village.”

Luckily, Cazenovia’s elected officials agree with Dubik.

At the State of the Area Forum on Jan. 10, Town Supervisor Monforte spoke of the importance of lower-priced housing and the possibility of including a number of new homes within the town’s jurisdiction.

Village Mayor Kurt Wheeler had the same sentiments when asked about the issue of declining enrollment. He recently worked with the village trustees to develop a community survey, which was distributed throughout Cazenovia. The survey aimed at determining what current residents liked the most about the area, and discovering what improvements would enhance the community and entice others to become homeowners.

“Our schools are at the core of our community and declining enrollment over the long-term will impact the viability of programming that is valued not only by our students but our entire population. We hope to work with the school on several fronts to reverse this trend,” Wheeler said. “We also hope to improve the climate for economic development to create jobs and grow our tax base while increasing our inventory of moderately-priced homes.”

We hope to see the number of homes sold to families with children increase, as well as the number of diplomas handed out to high school students in June. By working together, we believe the local officials and school administrators will be able to expand Cazenovia’s tax base and increase the number of students in classrooms, instead of decreasing the number of teachers.

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