STOW — There is some imbalance in enrollment among the Stow-Munroe Falls City School district’s six elementary school buildings, according to a study presented by Cropper GIS.
The study, presented to the school board on June 11 by Matt Cropper, president of Cropper GIS, which is based in Columbus, said there was unevenness in enrollment within the buildings that teach the district’s kindergarten through fourth-graders.
"If you only look at enrollment, the public would say your enrollment is balanced," Cropper said. However, when comparing the number of students who live within the individual school’s zone and the number of students who actually attend there, one can see the uneven balance, Cropper said. For example, 312 students attend Echo Hills Elementary. Of those, 246 actually live within the area Echo Hills is supposed to cover; the remaining students are coming in from other elementary school’s areas. There are 333 kindergarten through fourth-graders living within the Echo Hills area.
One possible reason for the imbalance is programs offered at certain buildings, said Chris DiMauro, assistant superintendent. For example, Echo Hills and Riverview elementary schools both have special education programs.
Another reason is changing demographics within the city, said Geraldine Bettio, board member.
Cropper said there are several steps the district must take, and questions it must answer, before any potential redistricting takes place. For example, he said, the public generally asks about grandfathering.
"The first question a parent will ask is ‘my child is in the fourth grade, do they have to move?’" Cropper said.
Another consideration is the condition of the district’s school buildings, said Jason Whitacre, board member. Some of the older buildings "may only have 10 years left."
Ultimately, the district will want to keep the impact to students and their families to a minimum when possible, Cropper added.
"For a district like this, the shelf life (of a redistricting plan) should hold for 10 years or more," he said.
Cropper said there was a need to redistrict. While the "schools are not significantly overcrowded," there were "a lot of inefficiencies in your geographic" boundaries; for example, there were some areas that weren’t contiguous within the school zone, he said.
Bettio said she could not recall the last time the district went through a redistricting process.
Currently, the district has six elementary school buildings, Lakeview Intermediate School, Kimpton Middle School and Stow-Munroe Falls High School.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or ??@AprilKHelms_RPC??