School officials keeping eye on continued Gluckstadt growth

By MEGAN PHILLIPS,

the perpetual residential growth in the Gluckstadt area is causing Madison County school officials to keep a close eye on the increase in student population and how to accommodate it.

The Gluckstadt population growth directly affects the Germantown school zone, which includes Madison Crossing Elementary, Mannsdale Elementary, Mannsdale Upper, Germantown Middle and Germantown High School.

Each new home brings approximately 1.2 students to the school, according to Superintendent Dr. Ronnie McGehee. For example, the new 600-acre development, which will be located on Stribling and Dewees roads, will have 523 homes within the next seven to 10 years.

“That’s a seven to 10-year buildout period,” McGehee said. “The general public sees it as just a total number, but that doesn’t happen immediately. That’s a process. That’s why they phase those things in. Our history and study of this for the past 15 years has been that each house will produce about 1.2 students on average.”

To account for the residential growth and the inevitable effect on the student population growth, the Madison County School District appointed McKibben Demographics of South Carolina to complete a full demographic study.

“We just completed our third full-fledged demographic study by McKibben,” McGehee said. “We began our relationship with McKibben surveys 15 years ago.”

Currently, the Germantown school zone has a total enrollment of 4,051 students.

“In the Germantown zone, we’ll see an uptick over the next 10 years, somewhere above 15 percent,” McGehee said. “The Ridgeland zone has a little uptick prediction over the next several years, three to four percent. The Madison zone is plateauing.”

The Velma Jackson zone is predicted to decrease within the next 10 years by approximately four percent, and overall district enrollment has a 2.5 percent increase expectation by 2028.

Increases and decreases are tracked through indicators like economic changes and demographic changes.

“We have been proactive in our physical plans for the last 20 years,” McGehee said.

See Student Growth, Page 6A

Continued from Page One

 

The latest expansions were completed

at Mannsdale two years ago, with the addition of Mannsdale Upper Elementary.

The last bond for the school district was issued in 2008 for $8 million and was used, in part, to build Germantown High School and its accompanying facilities. Some other expansions were also added across the district.

Looking ahead at the growing numbers across the district and in the Germantown school zone, McGehee said officials are currently researching the district’s bond indebtedness.

“We are researching our fiscal assets. We are researching in trying to predict financial resources from the state, i.e., House Bill 857 and MAEP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program), and how all of that factors in formulating the facility plan.”

Officials are even looking into the possibility of establishing another school location within the district.

“We’re studying Dr. McKibben’s numbers to see how it would be efficient and effective for us to apply another school location, whether a middle or high school, or even reviewing any kind of updating of our systems,” McGehee said, citing lighting, heating and cooling as potential candidates for updates.

“Being fiscally responsible in resources is high on our list to provide the best instruction and people to teach our young people.

“(In 2007), we asked the question, ‘How big is big?’ … Our response was, ‘Big enough for participation and small enough to know my student, to know my child. So, we strive to keep the student-teacher ratio under the maximum amounts allowed by the state.”

At the elementary level, the state allows for a maximum of one teacher for every 25 students.

At the middle school level, the maximum is one teacher for every 25 in each classroom, with each teacher having no more than a total of 150 between all classes.

“Very few have 150. Most have 120 to 130… Being efficient and effective in bond issues allows us to invest in technology and also in our people, our teachers. Our teachers have not had a raise in six years, so we’re constantly looking to see how we can solidify our teaching staff for the coming years.”

 

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