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Study Finds No Major Impact on School Enrollment From Recent Multifamily Development Projects
ARMONK—A recently released study commissioned by The Welcome Home Westchester campaign has found there wasn’t any data from recent large multifamily developments in suburban Westchester communities to substantiate fears of a surge in student enrollment expressed by local opponents of those development projects.
Not only have these projects been harmless to the districts, they have also brought with them “eye-popping financial surpluses,” which have been to the benefit of existing students and existing residents, the report released on May 29 stated.
“For most parents, there’s no more important investment than their child’s education, and it’s no wonder that so often this becomes the lens through which residents look at the question of housing needs in their community. But as with so many other ghost stories and fearful predictions about what would happen to a community should they permit building the housing we need in Westchester, there’s very little true math behind the prediction. Timothy Foley, CEO of the Building and Realty Institute said.
Key findings from the report include: these recent housing developments did not have a major impact on school enrollment; in none of the multifamily residential projects with at least 100 units examined did children associated with the project and enrolled in the local school district equal or exceed 1% of the school’s total enrollment. Also, in all cases, the projects generated a net positive financial benefit to the school taxes, even after taking into account the costs of educating enrolled school children living in the multifamily housing.
Speakers at a press conference announcing the report’s findings included Foley of the Building and Realty Institute, Todd J. Poole of 4Ward Planning, and Anahaita Kotval of Lifting up Westchester.
“Housing and economic development are inextricably linked; and where quality housing becomes challenging to find, local employers will be challenged to retain and recruit talented workers. Our study demonstrates that newly developed (and much needed) multi-family rental housing in suburban areas of Westchester County offers net positive fiscal benefits to school districts without straining enrollment capacities,” Poole of 4Ward Planning said.
“There have been a number of studies across the country demonstrating that multifamily housing developments do not create financial or capacity burdens on local school systems. However, the BRI/Welcome Home Westchester study is particularly meaningful as it focused specifically on the effects of recent multifamily developments in Westchester—and confirmed that there has been no negative impact on our schools from such developments. As a result, one of the key concerns raised by those opposed to multifamily housing has been conclusively addressed,” Kotval of Lifting Up Westchester said. For the full Welcome Home Westchester report, go to: https://www.buildersinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/March-29th-WHW-Press-Release-Final.pdf