Kings hits a growth spurt
As the 2014-2015 school year begins, you might see some new faces across halls of KHS.
Lots of new faces.
And this goes for just about the entire Kings district.
Kings is growing, adding more students every year, and district officials are working to adapt to what some may call an unexpected surge in enrollment.
For example, at least 75 students new to Kings have enrolled in Kings High School this year – a relatively high portion for such a small school. As a district, Kings early numbers now show 4,204 students enrolled this year (this includes about 60 students at the Warren County Career Center).
Ohio Department of Education enrollment numbers show that last year Kings had 4,168 students.
In 2012, 4059 students.
In 2011, 3953 students.
In 2010, 3914 students.
The tide is rising. Slowly, but it is rising – about 7 percent over the past five years.
In raw numbers, that means that this year Kings has about 290 more students than it did just four years ago. The district has been able to absorb those students without much difficulty, but if the growth continues district leaders may have to adjust.
One issue that could directly affect students are class sizes. This year at the high school, for example, some teachers have more than 30 students in one class. KHS Assistant Principal Ron Corradini said this could make it more difficult for teachers to help individual students.
“One problem I’ve come to see is that teachers haven’t been able to have one-on-one time with students,” he said, adding that the staff levels may, at some point, need to be expanded.
At the district level, Assistant Superintendent Tim Spinner said the new growth is linked to several new housing developments around the district. He said there are seven new developments where new families are moving in and enrolling their kids a Kings.
Just a few years ago, Kings leaders were discussing a potentially shrinking district, expecting no new development alongside an aging population whose children were no longer school-aged. Some administrators described the Kings situation as “landlocked.”
But in just the past few years, some prominent district neighborhoods have “turned over.” Older families have moved out and younger families with children in school have moved in. Add to that the recent housing development boom around Kings, and the school district has hit a growth spurt.
“Mason Grand alone gave us 21 new students,” said Spinner, referring to a new development near the Kings Mills Road Kroger store that, according to its website, offers “294 high end Mason Ohio apartments all with attached garages and top amenities …”
Kings Crossing is a new single-family home development emerging in South Lebanon, with homes in the $150,000 to $250,000 range. Not far from there is Water’s Bend, a new gated community of one- to two-bedroom apartments. The Meadows of Willow Brooke, a new suburb off Mason-Morrow-Milgrove Road, is set to explode, growing from the current 30 homes to over 200 – most of them families with children.
Visit just about any of these developers’ advertising websites, and one of the top selling points on the page is: “Kings Local School District.”
Spinner said there has been some discussion of possibly expanding some Kings buildings in the future if needed, and the district is doing everything they can to take a “proactive approach” to the situation.
Although Spinner said it is difficult to predict the future, he does believe the district will continue to grow. Both he and Corradini said Kings has come to be known as a strong school district, and people are drawn to its small-school environment with large-school offerings.
“People are attracted to what Kings has to offer,” said Corradini.