‘Plan to move forward’ focus of special IRSD board meeting

GEORGETOWN – Indian River School District’s board of education will meet in special session April 7 to possibly define the direction the district will take in addressing enrollment growth and space shortage.

The special session, which follows the March 21 monthly board meeting, will be held at Georgetown Middle School, starting at 7 p.m.

Agenda topic “will only be for the plan that we hope to move forward on,” said IRSD school board president Jim Hudson.

New construction and building and program expansion options have been packaged in a series of meetings of the district’s Futures Committee, a collaboration of board members, administrators and community members that was launched last year.

The board briefly addressed the committee’s recommendations at the March 21 board meeting; no action was taken following executive session discussion.

Indian River, geographically the largest public school district in Delaware, has experienced enrollment growth far above the statewide average. District enrollment topped 10,000 (10,171 as of the official Sept. 30, 2015 count).

Indian River’s five-year projection data (2016-2021) projects enrollment will increase by almost 1,700 students from 10,249 to 11,942. Most of the projected growth is in the northern portion, encompassing Georgetown and Millsboro.

At present, an eight-classroom addition at Georgetown Elementary is being completed. That project and completed classroom additions at East Millsboro Elementary, North Georgetown Elementary, Long Neck Elementary, Phillip Showell Elementary and Selbyville Middle School are part of a capital improvement plan that began in 2013.

With enrollment growth, the space shortage remains and is forecast to increase.

Discussion has focused on whether a new Sussex Central High School or an elementary/middle school approach would best address the growth in the northern part of the district.

Another key focus is new offerings: a Ninth Grade Academy and a Career Technology Education program possibly at Indian River High School in the southern part of the district.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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