The kids are coming – and they’re going to live on the north side of Verona.
That was among the most significant pieces of data presented at the Nov. 7 Attendance Area Advisory Committee meeting by consultant Mark Roffers, whose firm does enrollment projections for school districts around Wisconsin.
It was the committee’s second meeting of up to 11 scheduled. By next March, the 29-member group is expected to offer up to three recommendations to the school board for new elementary and middle school attendance boundaries that will go into effect in 2020 when the new high school opens on the west side of the City of Verona.
The group, which includes parents and district staff, had its first meeting Oct. 16. The work so far has mostly focused on listening, with some small-group discussion among the committee members about what questions they had or what topics they hoped to explore in future meetings.
Roffers projected that the current attendance area for Country View Elementary School will be the hardest hit by 2030, with more than 1,000 kids in that area by then.
“If we did nothing, we would have twice as many kids in Country view as we have today,” Roffers told the group. “The current attendance areas are unsustainable.”
The district expects the boundaries set next year to last until at least 2025, when the current Country View attendance area is projected at 953 students. That area includes the former Glacier Edge Elementary School area on the City of Verona’s southeast side, which was changed three years ago as GE approached its capacity.
The Sugar Creek Elementary School attendance is projected to remain well below capacity when it moves to the current Badger Ridge Middle School building in fall 2020. By 2030, Roffers projected it would have 534 students, nearly 200 below the building’s 723 capacity.
By that time, it’s likely the district will have added another elementary school, anyway, which Roffers said should be considered “in the backs of our heads” during these conversations. Since any new school would require referendum approval, the district wouldn’t want to assume its success during this boundary process.
The Nov. 7 meeting was heavy on data and maps from Roffers. That data dive is expected to continue at the committee’s Nov. 26 meeting, when they will consider how transportation, the Two Way Immersion program and charter schools factor into attendance boundaries.
Roffers said the charter schools and TWI program make it “extremely challenging” to project enrollment, because students in those programs can come from different attendance areas and change the projections.
There was also a brief discussion on “grandfathering,” which would allow some students to remain in their current elementary schools if their residence is in a new boundary. That’s expected to be further discussed at later meetings, but it could significantly affect how close schools are to building capacities under any new boundaries. Superintendent Dean Gorrell said at a school board committee meeting two days later he expected “a lot of energy” on the topic, whether for or against.
Gorrell assured the committee members he and the school board did not have “any preconceived notions” about how the boundaries will look.