Zionsville Community Schools faces two challenges, increasing enrollment and low state funding.
Our schools are nearly full! Population is increasing in our area, and so is school enrollment. The population of our communities has roughly doubled since 2010. Enrollment in the school district has increased by 3,000 students since 2006 and continues to grow. This is a good problem to have as our community continues to grow and get stronger, but schools are nearing capacity, and accommodations are being made to educate more students in the same space.
Zionsville’s population was 13,444 in 2010 and 25,810 in 2018. The population in Whitestown has grown from 3,151 in 2010 to 8,179 in 2017. ZCS has accommodated new students in existing facilities, with no new construction since 2005.
The trend shows no sign of slowing. According to a demographic study by the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, ZCS enrollment will continue to increase by 200+ new students each year for the coming decade. Part of the challenge is that enrollment increases aren’t spread evenly across all schools and all grades. Click here for enrollment increase projections at each elementary and middle school.
Facilities studies show that all of our elementary schools will be full by 2023 with some being over capacity much sooner than that. One is even projected to hit 105% capacity this fall.
Funding is low. ZCS remains the lowest funded school district in Indiana, receiving the lowest state funding amount on a per pupil basis of any school district in the state. We can’t keep up with growth and continue our high educational standards without some changes. Indiana funding from our 2012 operating referendum (which was extended in 2015) is supporting about one-third of teaching of our teaching positions.
No control over growth
For many years ZCS has been as proactive as possible and sought to keep the community and local
governmental officials informed about the projected effects of new subdivisions and housing developments as they were proposed. ZCS now has NON-VOTING advisory memberships on the local redevelopment commissions to provide information and make sure the school district’s viewpoint is heard on local matters. However, Zionsville Community Schools has absolutely no jurisdiction in any decisions of land use, housing starts, zoning, etc. ZCS cannot slow growth. Our job is to serve students who live here, not govern who lives here or how many new homes are built.