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Sound Bites: Long Island school populations decreased by 7% since 2013


Good morning. Long Island grade school enrollment rates are decreasing. According to the New York State Department of Education, 76% of Long Island school districts saw student populations drop by over 7% since the 2012-13 school year — that’s over 33,000 students. 

Suffolk County lost 26,610 students within the decade, a 10.5% decrease. Nassau County enrollment declined by 6,784 students, or 3.3%. Researchers pointed to declining birth rates, aging residents and high real estate costs. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

A New Haven resident will sue the city and 13 police officers for failing to prevent her mother’s death. In August, Mercedes Harris’ mother, Sheila, was fatally shot by her boyfriend, Christopher Garvin, minutes after officers left their home. Harris shot and killed Garvin shortly after, and was not charged in connection with the shooting. The New Haven Police Department will conduct an internal affairs investigation into the officer’s actions.

Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care will refund over 730 patients after they were wrongly charged for COVID-19 vaccines. The patients were charged $28 for a COVID vaccine, despite a Centers for Disease Control requirement to be free through September 2023. The care center will refund nearly $15,000 to patients and pay $25,000 in penalties.

West Haven’s Federation of Teachers filed a complaint against Connecticut’s Department of Labor and Municipal Accountability Review Board. The union claims the board failed to act on a contract by an October deadline, causing budgeting and teacher retention issues for the district. UnionPresident Kristen Malloy-Scanlon said the district has lost nine teachers since January.

Northport High School orchestra will perform in the 2024 Capital Orchestra Festival in Washington, D.C. on President’s Day. Four school orchestras were chosen nationwide to perform in the festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Each orchestra will also participate in a master class with Col. Dennis Layendecker, the former conductor of the U.S. Air Force Symphony Orchestra.

Two swastikas were found spray painted on a wall at Uncas Elementary School in Norwich, Connecticut. School staff painted over the graffiti last week, but later learned it had been there for several months. Police and school officials will review surveillance footage to identify who’s responsible.

Connecticut has been invaded by Asian jumping worms. The eight-inch-long, invertebrates consume excess amounts of topsoil and contaminate local soil with their droppings. This reduces natural nutrients in the ground and prevents plants from growing. According to Oxford University researchers, the worms can best be eliminated by heating soil or pouring in a cup of ground mustard to force the worms to the surface.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.