FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon parents will have an opportunity next month to weigh in on district leaders’ plans to re-draw the elementary schools’ boundaries.
Superintendent Shane Robbins is now reviewing the schools’ enrollment numbers and data on growth within the corporation’s boundaries as he considers whether to redistrict. In coming weeks, he plans to send out a community survey to garner feedback from parents.
The student population at the district’s three elementary schools — Fortville, McCordsville and Mt. Comfort — is out of balance, and as enrollment grows, space might get tight, educators say. Reconfiguring the schools’ boundaries will help balance population in the buildings and ensure each has room for a growing number of students, they say.
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The change would not affect current students or their younger brothers and sisters coming into the district, Robbins said. Rather, it would apply to families new to the corporation or those who choose to switch schools.
Several subdivisions are being constructed in McCordsville, which will draw new families into the school corporation, Robbins said. Resetting the lines that define which school a student attends will mitigate the need for renovations in the near future.
Robbins said he’s considering making the changes for next school year and invited parents to be involved in the process by providing feedback or taking tours of the buildings. Tentatively, educators hope to have proposed boundaries to share with parents in June.
Over the past five years, the school district has seen enrollment rise 12.5 percent, from about 3,500 students in 2012 to more than 3,930 this year, Indiana Department of Education data shows.
Redistricting the elementary schools is one of a few moves the district is considering to help accommodate growth; the corporation’s middle school will undergo renovations later this year to make space for eighth-graders, who currently are housed at the high school, to move back to the building.
Each of the district’s three elementary school buildings was designed to hold between 740 and about 1,150 students, according to data provided by the district.
Fortville, the district’s biggest elementary building, can accommodate the largest student body, but the building currently houses the fewest number of students — 480.
Meanwhile, McCordsville Elementary School, a building that can house between 740 and roughly 1,035 students based on classroom size, has about 650 students. Mt. Comfort Elementary can hold between 800 and 1,120 students; currently, nearly 600 attend the school.
Robbins said he expects to continue to see enrollment rise as the small towns the district serves grow.
“We’re not in a crisis mode. We’re walking to this, not running to it, but we will make some decisions as we look at the future of our community,” he said.
McCordsville resident Chris Rackley attended this week’s school board meeting to hear more about the potential changes. His child will be a kindergartner at McCordsville Elementary next year.
His family moved to McCordsville because they wanted their children to go to Mt. Vernon schools, he said. Robbins told him as school leaders decide what to do, they’ll keep parents involved.
Board member Shannon Wells said she’s fielded many texts and phone calls from friends and neighbors with questions. She’s given them all the same assurance.
“What I told everyone of my neighbors is that, as a parent in this district, I would feel 110 percent comfortable with my children going to any building,” Wells said.