East Penn Looks to Realtors to Monitor Enrollment Spikes
Housing sales are heating up in East Penn right now and administrators are watching the marketplace for hint of potential impact on student enrollment numbers.
Good news for Realtors in the East Penn real estate market translates into a watchful eye for East Penn School District. At least, that’s the message that the Superintendent of Schools delivered to the East Penn Board of School Directors at Monday night’s school board meeting.
Thomas L. Seidenberger told the board that housing sales in East Penn are on an upswing, a situation that he and his team are monitoring closely in order to catch any potential spikes in student enrollment in the district that might occur in a particular grade level or at a particular school.
“Things are heating up in East Penn, in just about every portion of this district,” Seidenberger said. “What we are hearing from real estate agents is that if a house is priced appropriately, and has a few upgrades, specifically in Lower Macungie Township, it is going to go very quickly.
“Sales are brisk and homes are moving, especially as empty nesters are starting to downsize, and young families are starting to buy those homes. But we won’t know the impact until October.”
Seidenberger then alluded to the bad press East Penn received last fall due to high first grade class sizes at Willow Lane and Shoemaker elementary schools, an influx of students that he said was virtually impossible to predict.
Nonetheless, Seidenberger and his team are now attempting to make an educated guess about possible enrollment spikes, doing everything from organizing quarterly group meetings with East Penn borough and township managers to driving through the district to monitor construction projects and for sale signs.
The district even hosted its Second Annual Real Estate Seminar yesterday at Willow Lane Elementary School. The program is designed to give local real estate agents the opportunity to interact with district administrators and share their thoughts about the local real estate market and its potential impact on East Penn School District.
“Based on what the Realtors are telling us,” Seidenberger told the board, “we will have a number of new kids coming in without a whole lot of new housing starts, which leads me to ask ‘is our five-year period of enrollment stability coming to an end?’ ‘Is the peace and quiet gone?’ This is a highly desirable school district.”
While most of the current movement in the East Penn real estate market is coming from the sale of existing homes, Seidenberger did acknowledge that there are several potential new home construction projects down the road that will significantly affect the school district, including the highly publicized Jaindl project soon to be voted on by the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners.
All of these, too, will need to be monitored, he said.
At the end of the meeting, School Director Julian Stolz told Seidenberger that he had been “asked by some interested individuals about the effect of the new possible housing development by Jaindl.” He then asked if he “could get the administration’s take on it” at a future meeting.