Even districts with stable or growing enrollments aren’t exempt from enrollment pressures.
North Allegheny — which had similar enrollments in fall 2004 and fall 2013 — considered but decided against closing Peebles Elementary.
North Allegheny, did, however, redistrict 151 elementary and middle school students to better balance enrollment.
North Allegheny superintendent Raymond Gualtieri said redistricting takes place about every seven years to adjust to changing enrollment patterns.
“We have [housing] developments that had a lot of kids at every bus stop 15 years ago and now there are not as many kids at the bus stops. All of those families had kids go through the system. They haven’t sold their house yet,” he said.
“In other areas, we have new developments going in and there are three tricycles in every driveway.”
The county’s fastest growing district, South Fayette, grew 45 percent since 2004. It still has a lot of undeveloped land, and growth is expected to continue, said Brian Tony, director of finance.
South Fayette didn’t have a neighborhood school tradition. Its four buildings — elementary, intermediate, middle and high schools — are on one campus that used to be farmland.
South Fayette is looking at renovating its high school, built in 2002, because it may not be large enough by 2016.
Superintendent Billie Rondinelli said, “I believe that parents are coming here because they want the quality of education we are providing for the students.”
South Fayette’s new intermediate building opened last fall. Both of the other growing districts also have added buildings, Avonworth’s new Primary Center opened last week, and Pine-Richland added Eden Hall Upper Elementary School in 2008.
Mt. Lebanon did move up from #6 to #3 in total enrollment, even though Lebo's total enrollment has declined since 2004. Yet, the board and the commission spend more and more money to attract young families. MTL's reputation for excellent schools just doesn't trump lower taxes or new housing stock on larger lots. Note: Artificial turf doesn't appear to be a draw for young families. Neither does a multi-million dollar high school renovation.