Cape district: Crowded Love Creek forces changes

Elementary boundaries to be adjusted for next school year
October 31, 2023

To alleviate crowding at Love Creek Elementary, Cape district officials plan to investigate student residencies and school choice approvals before making boundary changes, Superintendent Bob Fulton said at the Oct. 26 board meeting.

Continuing discussions that began at the September meeting, Fulton said he hopes to provide a final recommendation on attendance zones at the Nov. 16 meeting, or at the latest the Dec. 14 meeting, so families have ample time to prepare for the 2024-25 school year.

People with children are moving to the district in large numbers, Fulton said. Including Sussex Consortium pupils, Love Creek currently has 706 students. Lewes Elementary has the next highest number at 570 students, and most other schools are about the same size, he said.

Evening out the numbers is the goal, Fulton said, and the district wants to make as few boundary changes as possible. First, actual student residency will be determined, he said, as some families who say they live in the district do not.

“We are investigating many of these situations throughout the district,” Fulton said. “In my mind, it’s not fair, or the way it should be, to ask families living within an attendance boundary to move schools when many or some who are going to school there don’t live there.”

The district has launched a tip line at where anyone with concerns about students attending Cape schools who are not residing in the district can anonymously report, he said, and the district has already received some notifications.

“It’s a shame we have to go that route,” Fulton said. “I understand both sides. I understand why parents would want their students, their children to attend here – the people, the teachers, the facilities. However, it’s not fair to those who live here that they’re in schools and have to move because of others that don’t.”

Following those investigations, Fulton said district leaders will next review school choice students. Some families who have moved away whose children are in good standing have been allowed to remain within district schools, but the district has cut down on choice. 

At Love Creek, he said, 38 choice students are children of district employees, while 25 choice students are not, for a total of 63 choice students.

Fulton said he will recommend that none of those 25 choice students whose parents are not district employees attend Love Creek next year. They can return to the district where they live, he said, or they may be offered the opportunity to move to H.O. Brittingham Elementary, which currently has the smallest enrollment at 536 students.

Love Creek is overflowing, so it’s not fair for them to stay, Fulton said, noting that 25 kids is a classroom.

As a last resort, the district will change boundaries to move about 150 kids from Love Creek, he said; an exact number of students has not yet been determined.

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