Carmel Clay Schools may close two elementary schools due to declining enrollment

Redistricting is also an option
Posted at 7:42 AM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 19:43:54-04

CARMEL, Ind. -- Carmel Clay Schools may close two elementary schools or redistrict due to declining enrollment.

According to the district, total enrollment at Carmel Clay's eleven elementary schools is down three percent from what it was six years ago.

A demographic study found enrollment is expected to drop 10 percent by 2026.

The co-interim superintendent of the district says Carmel and Orchard Park are the two oldest elementary schools and they're due for major renovations. 

The district is weighing the $43 million cost to renovate both buildings.

"Do we have one more school than we need? We need to answer that question. Because if we do, then it wouldn't be wise to spend $20 million renovating schools that we don't need," said Roger McMichael, Carmel Clay Schools.

Parents are concerned about the void that would be left in their neighborhood if one of the schools closes.

"Our elementary school is a vital organ in our town. If you take that out, there are going to be so many repercussions to that, to the businesses, to the feel around town, to the diversity of age," said Darcy Wiley, parent.

Wiley and four other mothers are concerned about early discussions of possible school closings. Their children attend Carmel Elementary School.

Several say they moved to the area to be close to the school.

"We can walk, we can ride our bikes. We can take her for ice cream downtown after school," said Joelle Baugher, parent. 

Carmel schools are also looking at redistricting because much of the new construction is on the west side of Carmel, but most of the elementary schools have been built east of Meridian Street.

McMichael acknowledges the discussion is bigger than just finances.

"If you're a taxpayer, it can affect tax rate, it can affect how long your child is on a bus, property value," said McMichael.

District administrators say any changes are at least three years down the road.

Despite the needed renovations, both Orchard Park and Carmel Elementary are at about 90 percent capacity. 

Parents are invited to attend meetings hosted by Carmel Clay Schools to answer questions about possible redistricting changes. 

The discussion on the future of Carmel elementary schools will continue at the following meetings:

  • Wednesday, April 25, 6:30 p.m., Carmel Elementary School
  • Tuesday, May 1, 6:30 p.m., Clay Middle School
  • Thursday, May 3, 6:30 p.m., Creekside Middle School
  • Monday, May 7, 6:30 p.m., Carmel Middle School

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