With a new middle school scheduled to open in fall 2015, the board of education is considering hiring an outside firm to complete an enrollment and boundary analysis.
At Monday’s school board meeting, Craig Wilford, superintendent of Derby Public Schools, suggested the board hire RSP, an education planning firm the district used for a similar study three years ago.
The school board will vote on the issue at its next meeting on Aug. 27.
The study will help solidify boundary issues for Derby’s two middle schools, and help iron out which students attend each school, Wilford said.
“It’s never too early to be thinking about how we are going to decide which student goes to which middle school over the next couple of years when that building opens,” Wilford said. “We felt it was important to start the process early and involve community input and get (the school board’s) input to make sure we come up with a good boundary for our middle school students.”
In addition to doing a study on middle school boundaries, Wilford suggested RSP also do the same at the elementary level. The last time the district looked at school boundaries at the elementary level was when Park Hill Elementary opened.
“We also have some boundary issues at the elementary level,” Wilford said. “We looked for a school that had fairly low enrollment and we’ve moved kids into that area, so they are not necessarily attending their neighborhood school, so we can try to keep capacity at all buildings. While we are looking at the middle school we thought the time was right to look at our elementary buildings.”
The study will take several years to complete in order to get accurate results. Robert Schwatrz, CEO of RSP, said his firm’s accuracy would be between 97 and 100 percent.
“This will take some time,” Wilford said. “We want to be as accurate as we possibly can when projecting the number of students we are going to have in our facilities.”
In order to guarantee an accurate report, the firm will look at several criteria throughout the district, from enrollment and transportation to demographic considerations. The results will be presented to the board of education, and to the community during several public forums throughout the study, Schwartz said.
The cost of the study could run as high as $44,000 a year. RSP would charge $11,000 each school year for the enrollment analysis, and a boundary analysis would be an additional $6,000. Organizing public forums would cost the district $27,000.