Cape officials continued discussions on redistricting elementary enrollment areas at the Oct. 22 school board meeting, with the board set to make a decision by the end of the calendar year.
Superintendent Bob Fulton said the district is working with John Laznick, policy specialist from the University of Delaware Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research, to analyze state data regarding development applications, building permits, current residential units and projected growth.
“It’s not a perfect science, but it’s good to have some data behind us to help us make decisions,” Fulton said.
The district planning team will also consider students’ socioeconomic status, their involvement in special programs such as Spanish immersion and CAP, school choice and parent feedback, Fulton said.
Plans call for increasing student numbers at Milton and H.O. Brittingham elementaries, and decreasing numbers at Love Creek so each school has about 500-550 students, Fulton said.
Some schools may start the 2021-22 school year with fewer students because officials know the areas will grow more, Fulton said; many areas won’t change at all, but some will have to.
Fulton said he broke the district into 22 areas as a starting point, which he said is not set in stone, to determine which areas would feed into the five elementary schools. Communities will not be divided into different enrollment areas, Fulton said.
When officials first considered redistricting in 2018 to alleviate crowding at Love Creek, Fulton said, parents indicated they wanted to wait until all five elementary schools were redistricted at the same time in fall 2020. Most new developments in the district are still planned for the current Love Creek enrollment area, he said.
During 2018 discussions, Fulton said, he recommended that students in a certain school because of school choice would remain there so as to not reverse the previously approved choice; a decision has not yet been made regarding school choice placement this time, he said.
Currently, the district has 233 elementary school choice students; 132 of those students live in the district but attend elementary schools outside their enrollment areas, and 101 of those students live outside the district, Fulton said. Many choice students are children of staff members, he said.
A public forum to discuss proposed changes to enrollment areas is set for 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 4 at Cape High theater. Information can be found at capehenlopenschools.com and feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.