Op/Ed: Why UCFSD is not redistricting

By Vic Dupuis, President, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Board of Directors


Victor Dupuis

The Unionville ChaddsFord school board has decided not to change boundary lines for our elementary schools. Since there has been a great deal of discussion about it among our parents and some misinformation in the media, we are writing to clarify the reasons for our decision.

More than a year ago, the board was informed that Pocopson Elementary was nearing its capacity. That alerted us to the need for a study so we could properly plan for the future. Redistricting is a complex process that requires projections in birth rates, migration trends in and out of the district and new housing construction, both approved and planned.

We needed experts in the field and found McKissick Associates Insights from Harrisburg, PA. Vern McKissick, has walked over 38 million square feet of schools and executed more than $1 billion in school design projects. Kristin McKissick works exclusively on long-range master planning for educational institutions. They are highly qualified, having successfully worked with dozens of PA school districts.

We also needed stakeholder input so we formed an Advisory Committee. The committee was composed of parents, teachers, board members and administrators. All four of our elementary schools were represented. The committee reviewed and vetted the McKissick data and worked with the Administration to create the recommendation.

The results of their study were conclusive: no redistricting needed.

In fact, contrary to a recent letter to the editor, none of the four K-5 schools in our district are over capacity. Pocopson is experiencing a “bubble” right now and enrollments are expect to approach, but not exceed capacity. Enrollments will decline after another few years. In other words, the planned growth in our district is not currently projected to exceed capacity and therefore no redistricting is required. The District has a plan for managing this “bubble” to insure the continued quality of instruction and consistency of program between each of our elementary schools.

Redistricting can cause a great deal of disruption for families and disappointment for children who have to change schools. We will avoid the process based upon sound research, the best available projections from professionals in the field, and input from community members.

We strive to conduct the business of this district in a transparent and collaborative manner. If you have any questions and comments please email us at ucfsdcommunications@ucfsd.net.

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