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Increase of homes doesn't always mean more students

August 16, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Even with 1,135 new homes approved in the Waynesboro Area School District in 2005, just 392 homes have been built or permitted in 2005 and 2006, the school board learned Tuesday.

A greater percentage is being proposed in multifamily units like town houses and condominiums, as opposed to single-family houses, Superintendent Barry Dallara said.

More than 3,000 single-family houses and 1,693 multifamily units have been approved between 2004 and 2006 or are pending, according to data presented to the school board.

Meanwhile, the school district has continued to enroll 4,100 to 4,200 students each year, Dallara said at the Aug. 8 meeting. He told the school board he would return with detailed enrollment figures in September.

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The lion's share of new homes is in Washington Township. That might be partially responsible for a jump in kindergarten enrollment at Summitview Elementary School for 2006-07, Dallara said last week.

"We have a significant change in enrollment at Summitview (and) we're attempting to request parents have the students go to one of the other elementaries," he said.

On Tuesday he said that "pops" in kindergarten enrollment at various schools aren't uncommon, and the school district often asks parents to volunteer to send children elsewhere. Dallara said he wasn't sure of the number of Summitview kindergartners affected by this year's "pop."

The trend of having significantly fewer homes built than approved in a given year is reflected in county statistics. It's due in large part to developments being built in phases, Franklin County Planning Director Phil Tarquino said in an interview earlier this year.

"The house you build today might end up being built on a lot approved five years ago, 10 years or even last year," Tarquino said.

Franklin County had 6,487 building lots approved in 2005 and 1,092 building starts, Tarquino said. The numbers spiked from 976 building lots approved in 2000 and 714 building starts that year, he said.

Adams, York and Cumberland counties have seen similar increases, according to Tarquino.

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