By Nina Johnson
Carmel Clay Director of Student Services Dr. Steve Dillon updated the school board on enrollment figures and said decisions on redistricting should wait until September.
“The real estate market in Carmel is booming,” Dillon said. “One-day sales, multiple offers, people offering more than the listing price.”
He provided a chart highlighting all approved multi-family developments as well as new single-family home neighborhoods under construction.
“If we opened up (school) with no additional growth,” he explained capacity “is OK.”
June 2012 enrollment topped at 15,442 total students. September 2012 official count day tallied 15,724 students. While it’s unusual for total students to increase within a school year, Carmel Clay welcomed an additional 282 students during the past school year.
Orchard Park Elementary neighborhoods expect new growth while elementary schools on the east side may have a few empty seats.
“Strategic redistricting has alleviated overload on Orchard Park,” Dillon said.
Prairie Trace’s student body decreased as students graduated to middle school. The new Legacy development near 146th Street and River Road is predicted to offset that decline.
While enrollment at both Clay and Carmel Middle schools has dropped, Creekside Middle School sits at capacity with 1,487 students.
“We’re starting to experience some growth,” Dillon said. “We’re continuing to monitor enrollment. We may need to consider redistricting.”
Patricia Hackett voiced concerns the “sudden number of apartment complexes” could make it difficult to project enrollment figures.
“At least three apartment complexes are being built now that weren’t even in development when the demographic study was done,” he said.
He remained optimistic these developments are a “key component in a vibrant (Carmel) downtown” and encouraged board members to review previous redistricting decisions.
With serious review plus regular monitoring and updates, Dillon said the board should have time to consider several options.
Greg Philips thanked Dillon for the detailed update.
“You’ve brought this to our attention with plenty of time to digest and think through the process going forward,” Philips said.