De­mo­graphic study ap­proved

The Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

To get a bet­ter sense of fu­ture stu­dent en­roll­ment in the district, the Abing­ton School Board unan­i­mously ap­proved a de­mo­graphic study, which will be con­ducted by the Penn­syl­va­nia Econ­omy League, at the Nov. 13 board meet­ing.

The study will cost ap­prox­iPDtHOy $23,725 DnG wLOO JLvH 10- year pro­jec­tions for grade-to-grade Hn­roOOPHnt, DV wHOO DV fivH- yHDr pro­jec­tions from the seven ele­men­tary school at­ten­dance zones, said Abing­ton School District Su­per­in­ten­dent Amy Sichel.

,n 2003 tKH EoDrG DSSrovHG D VLPLlar study con­ducted by the Econ­omy League that gave en­roll­ment pro­jec­tions for each school year through 2012-2013, VKH VDLG.

“:H EHOLHvH wH nHHG to Nnow th­ese num­bers so we can plan ap­pro­pri­ately for the fu­ture,” Sichel said.

The district has al­ready re­ceived pro­jec­tions from its yearly cen­sus and from the Penn­syl­va­nia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion with num­bers to 2018.

This year district en­roll­ment has HxFHHGHG 7,500 VtuGHntV, 6LFKHO said.

“:H KDvH 100 FKLOGrHn PorH tKDn an­tic­i­pated,” she said.

PDE es­ti­mates the district will KDvH 1,000 PorH VtuGHntV Ey 2018, she said.

“TKHLr VtDrtLnJ nuPEHr LV 100 OHVV than what the district has pro­jected, Vo tKDt’V 1,100 PorH VtuGHntV Ey 2018,” VKH VDLG.

Sichel said it’s best the district has an­other source of data to “know what the school district needs.”

Be­fore the vote, board mem

ber Barry J. Stupine asked if the district gets close to 1,2MM more stu­dents and 6MM of those are di­vided be­tween the ju­nior and se­nior high schools, whether each school could ac­com­mo­date 3MM more stu­dents.

“te know those build­ings can hold around 2, MMM stu­dents each, but that gets very tight,” Sichel said. “If we need to build an­other class­room or wing on ei­ther the ju­nior or se­nior high school, we need to get mov­ing on that. First, we get the data and then de­cide what the op­tions are.”

Stupine said he thought the board should move for­ward with the study.

Board mem­ber Su­san Arn­hold said she ap­pre­ci­ates the 1M- year study, be­cause it’s good for the district to know now pos­si­ble build­ing changes.

“As a par­ent, I f eel x t he study] is t he best way t o get t his i nfor­mat i on, be­cause we want t o do i t f or t he ci­ti­zens, t he chil­dren and t he f ut ure of Abing­ton,” said board mem­ber Daniel Kaye.

oes­i­dent John Mon­aghan spoke against t he study, prior t o t he vote.

Mon­aghan said t hree­year pro­jec­tions are cred­i­ble, f i ve- year proj ec­tions are r eli­able but any­thing f ur­ther t han t hat, l i ke t he 1M- year pro­jec­tions pro­posed, are sus­pect.

He said t he board should t able t his i t em un­til more i nfor­mat i on i s given about how t he study will af­fect t he Glen­side- tel­don School, which is l ocat- ed in t he 4MM block of North Eas­ton ooad in Glen­side.

At pre­vi­ous meet­ings, Mon­aghan asked t he board t o con­sider selli ng t he Glen­side- tel­don prop­erty, which he said i s not un­der con­stant use, to t he t own­ship f or com­mu­nity pur­poses.

“The A2M, MMM a month to keep t he Glen­sid­e­tel­don prop­erty lit, which i s r oughly a quart er of a mil­lion doll ars a year, i s noth­ing t o sneeze at,” he said at t he meet­ing. “Many peo­ple are dis­mayed to see t hat t his ex­pen­di­ture of t ax­payer money is go­ing to l i ght an empty build­ing.”

Board Pres­i­dent oay­mond McGarry said the 1M- year pro­jec­tions are re­li­able and be­lieves that there will be a need for the Glen­side- tel­don prop­erty in the fu­ture.

“This board has no i nten­tions of sell­ing or dis­pos­ing of t hat prop­erty,” he said. “te have de­cided to l ook at other po­ten­tial uses of t he prop­erty. te have asked our ar­chi­tect to l ook at some de­signs and asked t hem to get us some i nfor­ma­tion on t ak­ing down t hat build­ing and putting a park­ing l ot t here.”

At t he Oct. 23 school board meet­ing, a r epr es­en­ta­tive of Hayes Large Ar­chi­tects LLP pre­sented plans f or t he pos­si­ble con­struc­tion of a park­ing l ot f or a f uture school at t he Glen­sid­e­tel­don prop­erty.

The district is bei ng proac­tive and bei ng care­ful not t o t hrow money away, McGarry said.

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