ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE)— The Northwest Allen County School Board approved a rebalancing plan meant to tackle the district’s rapidly growing population on Monday. The plan’s approval follows the release of the results for this year’s Average Daily Member (ADM) Enrollment Report. That report found the district has surpassed the growth projected by last year’s ADM.
Last year’s ADM projected the district to have 8,298 students, but this one found there are actually 8,354. Most of that growth is affecting the district’s two middle schools as well as the Aspen Meadow and Cedar Canyon elementary schools, which are all at or above capacity.
The crowded middle schools will be alleviated by a plan for a third one that is already in the works. The rebalancing plan approved Monday is the first step toward relief for those crowded elementary schools.
According to Superintendent, Wayne Barker, this is a good issue to have. There just needs to be preparation, which is what this plan is for.
“It’s certainly not something that we want to do,” Barker said. “Moving children from one school to another. And hopefully, we can minimize the impact of what that might look like. But the reality is we are a very rapidly growing school district. We’re probably, without a doubt, an outlier within the state of Indiana.”
The main focus of the rebalancing plan is hiring McKibben Demographic Research, LLC to conduct a study. The results of the study will allow three redistricting scenarios to be developed. The scenarios will account for all existing schools, the planned middle school, and the possibility of a ninth elementary zone.
The scenarios will focus on providing solutions for current issues with capacity, transportation and feeder patterns in middle schools for the next 5-10 years.
The scenarios should be ready for the board to review by January. The board hopes to approve a redistricting plan by March, giving families ample time to adjust before the 2024-25 school year.
While the district’s middle schools are at capacity right now, Barker hopes the new one coming will solve that issue. The name, colors and mascot of that school are expected to be decided by the board’s next meeting on October 30th.