The New Albany-Plain Local school board Monday night spent its first official meeting of the year, sifting through a pile of resolutions.

The New Albany-Plain Local school board Monday night spent its first official meeting of the year, sifting through a pile of resolutions.

The board officially approved a resolution to increase the size of the Joint Park District board from three to six members.

School board president Diane Goedeking voted against the measure to expand the board, and member Peter Horvath was absent.

Goedeking said she doesn't believe additional members were needed to accomplish JPD tasks.

"I struggled with this one," she said. "I have a real problem with an even-numbered board. Six doesn't make any sense to me. I feel that they tried to fix something that wasn't broken."

Board vice president Mike Klein said although he doesn't see a need to add three members to the JPD board, he thinks all three represented entities -- New Albany, Plain Township and the school district -- should have equal representation.

"The movement has been made and been deemed legal," Klein said. "I hope we can work more collaboratively so we can do this in a more unified way."

The school board unanimously approved the appointments of Jeffrey L. Johnson and Ronnie Robinson to represent the school district on the JPD board.

Goedeking said although she did not support the resolution to expand the board, she supports the two new members the school board had interviewed Jan. 17 and 21.

"I know they are going to serve our school district well," she said.

The board also heard a presentation about future enrollment patterns.

Enrollment projection lowered

Steve Pleasnick, a village council member and a representative of Georgetown, Midwest and Pacific Consulting, told the board the district should expect 621 new students over the next five years --137 fewer students than he had predicted in his previous report.

Pleasnick said the increase would come slowly in the next few years but should accelerate over time.

In the 2009-10 school year, he said, he expects 93 additional students. In the following year, he expects 118 new students.

He said one factor that could slow growth is a reduction in the number of residential permits and new-home construction. He said the slowdown could continue over the next few years.

The New Albany Co., he said, has slowed its projects. The result, he said, is that at least 200 students who had been expected to enroll won't. Because of this, he said, he projects the district's enrollment to level off at about 5,500 students at full residential buildout, which, he said, probably would occur in about 2025.

Residential buildout occurs when the number of houses that could be built within the school district's boundaries reaches its peak.

Pleasnick said new-home construction is slowing for various reasons, including the current economy and rezoning efforts.For example, the new research and information area of the village's business park that soon will house PharmaForce and Nationwide had been zoned for residential purposes. With the zoning change, the number of available properties for residential of development declined.

Pleasnick's new enrollment projection matches the number district officials have said is the maximum number the district could handle without making drastic changes.

"That is very good news," Superintendent Steve Castle said.

On a related note, Castle told the board the administration has decided to move four fifth-grade classes into the 1925 Building for the 2009-10 school year to avoid overcrowding in the 2-5 building.

"We felt that fifth-graders were the most mature group, in terms of safety and security," he said. "The team of teachers we send there will be able to instruct and perform in a similar manner they do in the 2-5 building."

The board also voted to add three foreign-language classes for eighth-graders next school year.

Eighth-graders would have the option to take half-credit yearlong Spanish, French or German classes.

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