Projections show no enrollment growth at Alder


(Posted Dec. 21, 2015)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Enrollment in the Jonathan Alder Local School District should remain steady, with the possibility of a slight decrease over the next five years. That is the prediction of an education consultant who talked with area leaders about economic growth and how it affects schools.

Figures compiled by Janice Collette show enrollment could fall by about 50 students by the year 2020-21. Enrollment this year is 2,279 students; her projection for five years out is 2,228.

Increased enrollment projected at the high school and junior high school was not significant enough to offset projected declines at the elementary and middle school levels.

Collette, who did such projections in her last 10 years of employment with South-Western City Schools in Franklin County, continues such work as an independent education consultant.

To compile her report, she talked about economic development with David Gulden, director of the Logan, Union and Champaign counties Regional Planning Commission; David Kell, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce; Eric Phillips, executive director of the Union County Improvement Corp.; and Kevin Vaughn, Plain City village administrator.

They did not foresee housing growth in the school district, even though they said economic growth was likely along Route 33, Industrial Mile Road and Route 42, she said. If any housing growth was to occur from development along the Route 33 corridor, it would be on the Dublin side of Route 33, they figured.

The report also took into consideration open enrollment policy where parents transport students into the district. Open enrollment figures are higher and will continue to be at the high school level.

Open enrollment students are attracted by the course offerings or come from other schools or home schools at that level, she said. The number of open enrollment students offsets the number of students who attend classes at Tolles Career Center.

“Employment is up and interest rates are good,” she said of the area from where the students come.

“Keep up the good work,” she advised school administrators. “You’re doing a good job.”

She also offered a suggestion should there be peaks in enrollment and space is needed.

“You could move the fourth-graders to the middle school,” she said.

Student handbook

High School Principal Michael Aurin has undertaken the job of rewriting the student course handbook, a document that gives students an idea of what courses they can take next year.

“We’re cleaning up requirements and changing credits,” he said.

Another big change is in how the valedictorian and salutatorian are selected.

“Instead of choosing them after eight semesters, we’ll choose them after seven. It will give students more time to work on their speeches,” Aurin said.

He plans to have the rewritten handbook ready to roll past parents in January or February. The board gave the work a first reading. A second reading will come at the Jan. 11 meeting at which time a vote could be taken on approval.

Board approvals

The board approved the replacement of refrigeration units at Canaan Middle School. Superintendent Gary Chapman said the units are about 25 years old. Maintenance workers have been changing the Freon every week or every other week. Chapman said he hopes to have the work done over the winter break.

Also approved were an overnight weekend trip to Chicago for Spanish III students March 4-6, 2016, and workbooks for the Pearson Connected Math Program for grades six through eight.

At the end of the meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters.

The next school board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11.

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