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SPECIAL REPORT PART 2: Growing Pains - How Tippecanoe County is preparing for the future

According to area planners, Tippecanoe County's population is only getting larger. More development means more people and more people means more kids in schools.

Posted: Mar 21, 2019 3:38 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2019 6:49 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — According to area planners, Tippecanoe County's population is only getting larger. More development means more people and more people means more kids in schools.

The county's long range plan data suggests the school district that will be most impacted by the growth is Tippecanoe School Corporation. In part two of a news 18 special report, we break down how TSC is preparing for growth.

Finding ways to take on more students isn't an unfamiliar task for Superintendent Scott Hanback.

"It's pretty much been in our school corporation's DNA since our inception. We've always been a growing enrollment school corporation," said Hanback.

Because he's familiar with it, he knows there will always be growing pains.

"I don't know that we'll ever get ahead of the growth because we always want to be good stewards of our tax payers dollars so there are lots of things we can do before we build a new school."

Hanback said some approaches are changing boundaries, closing enrollment or renovating and adding on to schools. But some parents in TSC are concerned those strategies won't be enough.

"We're concerned about schools, overcrowding in our schools," said parent Jill Grant.

"I want to make sure it doesn't come at the cost of our children and their education and their safety," said TSC parent Noel Charshe.

"There needs to be more communication between the schools, between the planning commission," said parent Chris Brown.

Hanback said the schools aren't crowded.

"I believe that is a misnomer in that building capacity and class size are two different concepts," said Hanback.

He said building capacity is how many students you can fit inside a building comfortably. Where class size is based on feasibility targets, all set based on data given to the schools straight from area plan commission.

APC Executive Director Sallie Fahey understands why some parents might be worried.

"I think it's natural for a parent to be concerned about the quality of education for their child ...how many kids are in the classroom has a big impact," said Fahey.

However she said APC and TSC are constantly sharing numbers.

"They may not get it exactly on the mark every time but they are always very close so that long history of the school corporation getting it right should be some comfort," said Fahey.

Hanback believes it's a history that will continue repeating.
"Lafayette is different today than it was 20 years ago, 30 years ago and I believe it's a good problem to have. I'd rather be a community that's trying to figure out how to grow and provide services than have to close and consolidate and cut services," he said.

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