Study recommends no redistricting in U-CF schools
● By J. Chambless
After about three months of study, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District announced on Dec. 16 that there will be no redistricting necessary in the coming year to ease crowded conditions at Pocopson Elementary School.
In September, the high enrollment at Pocopson Elementary was raised at a meeting of the school board. In October, the firm of McKissick and Associates was retained to study existing school enrollment boundaries and predict what enrollment might look like in coming years. In November, a redistricting advisory committee, made up of teachers, administrators, community members and others, had input on the issue.
While there was concern initially that some students could be forced to move to new schools, according to the report presented at a special Dec. 16 meeting, enrollment projections don't require redistricting at this time.
The issue of overcrowding at Pocopson came to light after students arrived in September. Pocopson currently has 652 students, which puts the building 89 percent of capacity. Those figures contrast with Chadds Ford Elementary School, with 350 students (70 percent of capacity); Hillendale Elementary School, with 328 students (68 percent of capacity); and Unionville Elementary School, with 395 students (67 percent of capacity).
Based on studies of current and projected future birth rates, new construction and family migration in and out of the school district, McKissick and Associates reported that enrollment at Pocopson is likely to peak in 2018-19 at 704 students. That will put the building at 96 percent of capacity, with 31 empty seats, or an average of one empty seat per classroom. At peak enrollment, the study suggests adding two classrooms to Pocopson Elementary in 2018-19.
The plan presented on Dec. 16 recommended that the district administration give the school board some ideas about future growth at Pocopson at the January school board work session. Elementary school enrollment figures must be monitored closely, and the administration is being asked to develop “trigger points” that, if crossed, could require future action on redistricting.
The complete redistricting study and related information is posted at the school district's website (www.ucfsd.org).
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.