Miamisburg school district planning for expected enrollment growth amid new homes influx



The addition of nearly 900 new residences within the district’s borders finds Miamisburg schools working to decide what plan is best to handle the expected increased enrollment it will create.

There are six communities in various stages of development in Miamisburg, including Aberdeen (133 homes), Chamberlain Crossing (126 homes), Redwood (141 apartments), Patriot Place (175 homes proposed), Deer Valley (186 units currently on hold). In Miami Twp., communities under-construction include Rivendell Heights (81 homes) and Austin Commons (47 apartments)

“It’s been about almost 30 years since we’ve seen this kind of growth,” said Laura Blessing, the district’s superintendent.

Blessing said when Aberdeen construction started last year, district officials began doublechecking with the city and realtors on any other projects.

“We were just kind of saying ‘Let’s take stock to make sure we’re not going to experience too much growth, too fast,” Blessing said.

By late January, the district had gathered enough information to realize that more than 800 new housing options were on the way, the vast majority of them being geared toward families. It then opted to hold town hall listening tours last spring to determine whether it would redistrict or not, ultimately postponing that decision until later this year.

The district saw its enrollment drop from 5,113 in 2017-2018 to 5,093 in 2018, 5,049 in 2019 and 4,762 at the start of the pandemic in 2020-2021, saw it rebound in 2021-2022 to 4,928.

Miamisburg’s priorities this month, according to a recently released Elementary Enrollment Study Update, are to review several items, including enrollment data, enrollment maps and scenarios and data from high performing schools with grade-banded configurations.

“Once we get over enrollment numbers in the next couple of weeks, we have some transportation software that allows us to create some new enrollment boundaries,” she said. " So we can take our live data of the students that we have enrolled as of Aug. 15 or 16 when school is fully back in session and take that map and say ‘If we made this shift, where would that put our students and what would that do to the elementary enrollment?’”

Doing that would allow the district to look at grade-banding and total redistricting scenarios, see what the impact of each would be and determine what will be better for students, Blessing said.

The goal, she said, is “to offer our students, no matter what building they’re in, a positive learning environment that has lower class sizes, that has a nice distribution of resources, instead of these pockets of growth.”

Blessing said Bauer Elementary includes more than 350 units, which could boost enrollment there by 100 or 200 students in a span of two years.

““How do we balance that with a school that might have 200 students and they (Bauer) might end up with 600 students, so we have to try and plan for that,” she said.

Population growth also could benefit the district, Blessing said.

“Obviously, when you have new homes, and you increase your enrollment, you’re also increasing the amount of funding that we receive from the state of Ohio, even some federal funding,” she said. “We also get to capture those tax dollars from new residences, so it is beneficial. It allows us to capture more revenue.”

Blessing said the district hopes to make a decision for the 2024-2025 school year prior to the end of this calendar year so families have “plenty of notice” of any changes in enrollment boundaries for elementary or programming changes.

Chris Fine, Miamisburg’s development director, said population growth via new homes is “a good opportunity.”

“We always want to see our population increasing,” Fine said “The last couple of census releases, our population had declined a little bit, simply because households are getting smaller, and we weren’t really building subdivisions, so it’s really good for us to see kind of that subdivision, that development coming back and coming back pretty strong here in Miamisburg.”

The new developments either already on their way to the city and those that are still in the planning stages are expected to add about 1,800 to 1,900 people to the city’s population.

“Obviously, these things take time to build out,” Fine said. “You’re probably looking at that (occurring) over a 10-year period.”

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