Results of study recommend no redistricting in Unionville-Chadds Ford

A consulting firm has determined that despite increased attendance at Pocopson Elementary School, redistricting will not be needed for at least the next school year.

EAST MARLBOROUGH >> There will be no redistricting in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District for the 2015-2016 school year.

Following a months-long investigation and analysis by McKissisck Associates on elementary school projections, the consulting firm concluded that no redistricting is needed in the short-term for the district’s four elementary schools. However, that could change next year.

That’s because Pocopson Elementary is bulging at the seams. At the district’s three other elementary schools — Hillendale, Unionville and Chadds Ford — there are about 10 seats available per class. At Pocopson, there are only two.

Pocopson is the only elementary school with enrollment growth. Both Hillendale and Unionville have declining enrollment and it’s stable at Chadds Ford Elementary.

The past two years have seen such great growth at Pocopson that administrators had to move the pre-first program to Unionville Elementary.

There are currently 652 students enrolled at Pocopson Elementary, while Unionville has 395, Hillendale, 328 and Chadds Ford, 350. It means Pocopson has larger class sizes than the three other elementary schools. The five third grades and four fourth grades at Pocopson average 25, while at Chadds Ford, it’s about 20, and at Unionville Elementary, 21.

McKissisck recommended that elementary enrollment figures be monitored closely, and that the administration develop trigger points for potential future action.

In the study, McKissick targeted raw land in each municipality within the district that had development capabilities and the impact it would have on school population. They met with municipal leaders, analyzed past enrollment trends and future projections.

The results of this work? Limited impact and no need right now for redistricting.

Redistricting, said John Sanville, superintendent, is not about class size. Class size guidelines are never exceeded, he said.

Enrollment projections show Pocopson enrollment to increase by seven students next year, but by nearly 40 students the following year. By the 2019-2020 school year, projections show enrollment at Pocopson Elementary at 674. Peak enrollment, (in the 2018 school year) will puts Pocopson at 96 percent of capacity, and will require two additional classrooms, according to the study.

The administration and the school board will review the recommendations at the January work session, slated for Jan. 12 at C.F. Patton Middle School.

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