AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MANHEIM TOWNSHIP COMMUNITY
Re: District Planning for Community Growth
From Dr. Robin L. Felty, Superintendent of Schools
Dear Manheim Township Families, Friends, and Community Members;
I write to you today in response to inquiries we are receiving from parents and community members about our planning process for the projected increase in growth within Manheim Township. More recently, there have been questions about the impact of the proposed Oregon Village project on our district, and how our schools might be affected by the anticipated additional student enrollment due to all new projected housing developments.
Given our collaborative working relationship with the Manheim Township Board of Commissioners, we have been kept informed of all new housing developments across the Manheim Township community, including the projected timeline for completion. Consequently, we’ve been planning for strategies to address the possibility of increased student enrollment due to both the new housing developments and the typical movement of families into our district. Our administration has also met twice with a co-owner and property manager of the Hurst Family Estate associated with the proposed Oregon Village project, who has updated us on draft site plans for the Oregon Village project, tentative time line, and the possible implications of increased student enrollment in the school district.
Of course, given the unknowns within the housing market, it is difficult to establish the overall impact the many housing developments in the Manheim Township community will have on the school district. Preplanning for projected increased enrollment is a key priority for us and has involved discussions centered on a combination of several options. The goal of such dialogue is to find the most economically feasible approach to addressing the need for more space in our schools, especially at the grades K-4 elementary level. It is paramount in our planning that we are fiscally responsive to our taxpayers in all decision-making, while also being realistic about the needs of the expanding district.
Thus, the Board of School Directors voted approval at the October 18, 2018 School Board Meeting for master planning demographic services by Remington & Vernick Engineers to study the impact that current and future residential development within Manheim Township will have on student enrollment. We anticipate receipt of the preliminary results and a draft report from the district-wide study in the near future. The information provided by the report will offer specific data for planning.
Nonetheless, even without the preliminary data report we know student enrollment is increasing and could possibly continue through the many new housing developments in process or slated to begin within the next year or so. Due to our positive, proactive stance in planning for the future, we have several options for consideration and are currently in the planning process. We are prepared for the next phase of planning for increased student enrollment, with the goal to ensure that our rigorous, educational programming continues successfully for all students now and in the future. Such programming will continue in the most fiscally responsible manner in order to honor our taxpayers and recognize the educational excellence valued by our families.