As we come to the end of another wintry day of learning, I think it important to share some information with you regarding our planning for next school year and beyond.
Little Miami’s student enrollment has never been larger than it is today. Our current enrollment is 4,482 students. Just a few years ago, in 2012, our enrollment was 3,823 students. Enrollment trends show that we are growing by about 200 students per year, and with new homes once again being built in the district, we do not expect that trend to change in the near future.
Where are our new students coming from? Below is a breakdown of the 442 new students enrolled for this school year, from June 9, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016 (grades 1-12):
- Private school: 65
- Warren County schools: 88
- Other Ohio Counties: 149
- Out of State: 83
- Homeschool: 17
- Online school: 29
- Out of Country: 11
Along with booming enrollment comes a concerning reality: In our current district facilities, we have a capacity of 4,950 seats.
With enrollment around 4,500, a capacity of 4,950 and growth of at least 200 students per year, one can see that within a very short time, our district will face the challenge of needing additional space.
Recently we completed an analysis as to how we can most efficiently utilize our existing class space. Growth has been occurring across all of our grade levels and this past year, we saw unprecedented growth at our high school where we welcomed more than 70 new students.
Where we currently have capacity is unfortunately not where we have the greatest need. We have space in our newer buildings where grades 5-12 are housed, but we have the greatest space challenges beginning to occur at our PreK-4 levels.
With this in mind, our administrators have assessed how possible reconfiguration at the PreK-2 levels might better support learning for our students while also gaining the most efficient use of our existing space. A recommendation was made to our Board of Education that we reconfigure our PreK-2 grade levels in the following manner:
- Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, all PreK-K grade levels will be centralized at Salem Township Elementary.
- Harlan-Butlerville and Hamilton-Maineville will house all of the district’s first and second grade students.
- All other grades will remain as they currently are.
This recommendation received approval at the Jan. 19 Board of Education meeting.
This reconfiguration will result in several changes that will affect our students, but we are working very hard to minimize these effects. We are currently re-assessing attendance zones for our Butlerville and Maineville sites and will be communicating with our families who will be affected by this change.
We are also refining our bus transportation tiers for next year. High school students will be transported on one tier, grades 5-8 on another tier and PreK-4 on a third tier. This new transportation framework will result in slight modifications of school starting and ending times. This change will be communicated through our website by the end of this school year.
In addition to these changes in the short term, the district is currently working to create a communication process to include our community in a dialogue about our long-term classroom space needs. Look for more information on public engagement sessions in the coming weeks.