District studies shifting students

One in 10 Center Grove elementary school students will be sent to a different building next school year if a proposed redistricting plan is approved.

The plan would take 370 students, mostly from Center Grove, Maple Grove and Sugar Grove Elementary schools, and shift them to different buildings. The goal is to redistribute the number of students at four of the five elementary schools to help reduce crowding and prepare for growth.

The moves would cut the number of students at Center Grove, North Grove and Sugar Grove Elementary Schools by 16 to 36 each and at Maple Grove Elementary by 99.

Right now, Maple Grove Elementary has more than 850 students — about 50 more than is ideal — and the school is out of classroom space. Labs and other rooms have been converted into classrooms, Superintendent Richard Arkanoff said.

If the school district doesn’t transfer students to different schools, then it would have to add portable classrooms outside Maple Grove Elementary, while classrooms in other schools were unused, Arkanoff said.

The plan also will give Center Grove officials more time to analyze the district’s growth and to see whether they should start planning in the next 10 years to build a new school, he said.

Arkanoff added, “We’re going to reset the clock where we are right now back about three or four years.”

The redistricting plans aren’t final yet, and Center Grove will host a meeting next week where parents can ask questions and share concerns with officials. Arkanoff said school officials will make any necessary changes to the redistricting plan after that meeting, and the school board likely would approve a plan in February.

Parents and students who are changing schools will have chances to meet their new principals and see their new buildings before the next school year, he said.

Center Grove has more than 7,700 students and is Johnson County’s largest school district. It also has had more students enrolling in its schools over the past two years. Much of the growth has been on the south side of the school district, which is where most of the students who would be changing schools live.

A committee that included Center Grove transportation officials, facilities and human resources workers created the redistricting plan after reviewing information, such as the school district’s bus routes, and the number of teachers and available classrooms at each building, Arkanoff said.

School officials also tried to keep students from the same neighborhoods together.

The redistricting moves should ensure there’s enough room in all of Center Grove’s elementary schools for several more years as officials consider whether any additional schools or building projects are needed. If enrollment continues at its current pace, Center Grove officials could consider adding another elementary school in 2027. If that’s the case, planning would need to start by 2023, Arkanoff said.

At a glance

Here’s a look at enrollment of Center Grove elementary students at the start of this school year, compared with what they expect after redistricting next school year:

Center Grove Elementary

Fall 2014 enrollment;726

Projected enrollment;701

Maple Grove Elementary

Fall 2014 enrollment;856

Projected enrollment;757

North Grove Elementary

Fall 2014 enrollment;611

Projected enrollment;595

Pleasant Grove Elementary

Fall 2014 enrollment;572

Projected enrollment;704

Sugar Grove Elementary

Fall 2014 enrollment;692

Projected enrollment;656

If you go

What: Informational meeting about a proposed redistricting plan for Center Grove elementary schools

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Center Grove High School, 2717 S. Morgantown Road, Greenwood