Like many lake area schools, the Macks Creek R-V School District has seen a steady increase in the student population in the last few years.

Like many lake area schools, the Macks Creek R-V School District has seen a steady increase in the student population in the last few years.

"I attribute the increase to the availability of housing within our district and a relatively short commute to area job opportunities. Many of our families also tell us that they are looking for a smaller school environment that still provides them access to a variety of amenities," Superintendent Josh Phillips said. "Those looking for a smaller school also often cite increased opportunities for their children not just to participate in athletics, but to receive more playing time in general. Others have shared that they feel that the small school environment provides a more family-like atmosphere where folks are on a first-name basis and their children benefit from the encouragement of our entire faculty and staff."

Most of the district's growth has remained at the elementary level. During the 2011-2012 school year, 178 children were enrolled in the elementary school. Last year the elementary population increased to 184 students and then to 195 for this year.

"I attribute the growth at the elementary level to the fact that, folks who are looking for a district that is a good fit for their family, typically make such moves when their children are young. As their children grow and their relationships and attachment to a particular school family deepen, parents are more hesitant to move their children. That said, we fully expect our middle/high school number to increase as our elementary student body ages," Phillips said.

The growth means the district has to look to the future and accommodate the schools resources to fit their growing population. According to Phillips, the school is currently adjusting the resources they already have to meet their needs.

"Fortunately, at present, we have been able to make some slight adjustments to our elementary facilities to accommodate more students. For example, we began third grade with twenty-three students at the beginning of the year. When this group grew to thirty, we made the determination to hire a second third grade teacher and split an oversized classroom which used to be the school library into two classrooms. This was accomplished by constructing a wall over a long weekend," Phillips said. "While we are nearing capacity in our elementary building, we know that through creative scheduling we can accommodate more students in the middle school and high school. Knowing that we are experiencing growth and that we only have a few short-term options at our disposal, we are taking steps to develop a master facilities plan that will guide us during the next three to five years. In order to develop a successful plan, we will need the help of our entire school community. That said, during the latter part of this year we will host a variety of forums to generate discussion and collect feedback relative to what types of facility improvements our community would like to see and what type of grade level divisions could be created. As a part of our master planning we are also evaluating the feasibility of continuing to maintain some of our oldest facilities. For example, we have five classrooms in a building that was constructed in the late 1920s."

Macks Creek high school population has remained fairly steady in the last few years. During the 2011-2012 school year, 141 students were enrolled in the high school. The number decreased to 140 during the 2012-2013 school year then jumped to 149 this year.

Phillips said that the district could fully retire its existing debt service levy in the spring of 2015.

He went on to say, "A no-tax increase bond could generate the revenue needed to improve existing facilities and construct new ones to accommodate the growth that we are experiencing. We will continue to keep our patrons informed and are eager to begin the process of forming committees and hosting forums to develop plans with everyone's help. Our goal is to make improvements that will meet our growth needs during the school day and create facilities that can be open and accessible to our school community outside of the school day in a fiscally responsible manner."