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E-Town Schools Get 2 Predictions of Enrollment

Believing that two opinions are better than one, the Elizabethtown school board agreed to hire a West Coast firm to do a demographic study to predict future enrollment. The study will supplement demographic data to be provided at no charge by the district’s architect.

Such information will help the board decide on future renovation projects. With Bainbridge Elementary now being completed, Rheems Elementary will be renovated starting next summer, but the fate of Mill Road Elementary has yet to be decided. The high school/middle school complex will also undergo renovation at some point.

At the June 26 action meeting, the board heard presentations from both Irvine, Calif.-based DecisionInsite and the district’s architect, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates of Mechanicsburg.

DecisionInsite’s Sean Gorius and Ron Van Orden spoke to the board via a video conference call with a display of data. The firm has worked with about 180 school districts, ranging from large districts like Houston, Texas, to small districts; its clients include the Mechanicsburg Area School District.

Using sophisticated software, the firm would provide two 10-year projection enrollments: one more conservative and one with more moderate growth.

Rick LeBlanc of Crabtree discussed how the architectural firm would analyze a variety of data, including census information, population projections and housing developments both approved and proposed in the district’s different municipalities.

Following the discussion, including several questions from board members, the board voted unanimously to enter into a one-year agreement with DecisionInsite at a cost of $13,994, which includes up to $1,500 for residential development research.

“The data is going to be incredibly important to us, and I think it will be money well spent to have those two separate opinions,” board member Craig Hummer said.

Board president Terry Seiders agreed that having two studies is “ideal,” noting that in the past, the board had been given “numbers that didn’t pan out.” Board member M. Caroline Lalvani said the additional study would be a “nice complement.”

In other business, the board approved proposalsbrought up at the June

12 action meeting, including a 10-cent hike in cafeteria meal prices and accepting a $1,200 donation from the Class of 2018 for a new auditorium podium.

The board also recognized district staff members with Above and Beyond the Call of Duty awards. Retiring supervisor of special education Monica Steward nominated her assistant, Lisa Souders. East High Street Principal Amy Balsbaugh nominated instructional paraprofessional Donna O’Connell and building secretary Ann Sullivan.

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