Study: Avon Grove’s enrollment could grow slowly but steadily over the next five years
● By Steven Hoffman
The Avon Grove School District could see slow but steady K-12 enrollment increases over a five-year period, according to the results of a study that was recently completed. The results of the study were unveiled during an Oct. 26 school board meeting as the school district continues to move toward a decision about how to address district-wide facilities needs.
George Sundell, a principal demographer with Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based Sundance Associates, led the presentation to the school board. Sundell explained that the firm uses the cohort survival methodology, which is a method that is utilized on many enrollment studies for school districts. The cohort survival methodology charts the grade level progression primarily based on historic enrollments and birth rates and acceptable modifications through the certified demographer’s report. The study also took into account charter, private and parochial school status, as well as proposed housing starts in the district.
“I talked to some township officials and developers,” Sundell said, explaining that if a township official identified proposed housing starts in the municipality, he reached out to the developer to determine how many students might be added as a result of the residential development.
According to Sundell, there is a slight increase in construction of new houses across the school district. Franklin Township has 32 building lots at Lexington Point and four building lots at Highpointe Meadow. New London Township has a 25-unit, single-family project that could be approved in the future, bringing the total of new single-family homes that could be available in the next few years to 57.
The study also looked at sales of existing homes in the district. On most of the sales, the people moving in are younger and have more children than the people who are moving out, Sundell said. Overall, Avon Grove’s rate of growth is a little bit slower than the county’s. The youngest age groups in the district are growing, but they are increasing at smaller rates than other age groups. The childbearing-age population decreased as an overall percent of the entire district population, while the middle age and senior age populations are increasing as an overall percentage of the entire district.
Sundell said that they looked at the number of births in the district and then used a statistical formula to determine what percentage of students will actually end up in the Avon Grove School District's schools.
What does all the data collected suggest for Avon Grove’s enrollment in the near future? The number of students enrolled in the district could climb, but in small, steady increments. Avon Grove’s current enrollment is slightly more than 5,050 students, and that could climb to at least 5,161 students within five years. The adjusted projection is for the district’s enrollment to climb to 5,627 students by 2022.
Generally, Sundell said, projections are one-percent plus or minus, per year, so by the fifth year it is plus or minus of five percent, or about 25 students.
Sundell concluded his remarks by saying that a comprehensive written report of the enrollment study will soon be provided to the district.
“It is definitely good information to have,” said superintendent Dr. Christopher Marchese as he thanked Sundell for completing the enrollment study.
Avon Grove moves toward disciplinary hearing for Alexander
The school district’s director of educational services, a former principal and teacher, was arrested in July for felony aggravated assault
The Avon Grove School Board voted 8-0 at the Oct. 26 meeting to approve a procedural measure that will set the stage for the district to formally notify Tom Alexander of a statement of charges that would lead to employment disciplinary proceedings. Alexander, the school district’s director of educational services and a former principal and teacher, was arrested and charged with domestic assault in July.
The result of the disciplinary proceedings could be Alexander’s dismissal from the school district.
Alexander, 49, was arrested after a July 12 incident with his wife at their home in Birmingham Township. After an investigation, Alexander was charged with felony aggravated assault, simple assault, unlawful restraint, and harassment.