Art on a cart and classrooms made out of music rooms – that’s the situation District 204 moved to avoid at their latest meeting.
“Where I can make a difference, I feel that it’s important that I do,” said Board President Michael Raczak. “And an overcrowded school does not offer the same educational opportunities as one that is not as crowded.”
Three elementary schools, Brooks, Brookdale, and Peterson, were facing overcrowding.
The plan the board passed 5-1 to solve that problem will affect approximately 215 students. It’s the same plan proposed by the administration on November 27.
Parents spoke out against the proposed changes then and expressed frustration now that the administration continued to pursue a small change instead of a district-wide one.
“Supporting this proposal, as a community, board, and administration, we are owning, accepting, and going to continue to do the small changes every three to four years – short-sighted band-aids,” said Silvia Vega-Mitchell, the mother of an affected Brookdale student.
These changes are the third of their kind passed since 2013, which is why board member Mark Rising voted no.
“My vote tonight will be my desire, as I’ve spoken the last four years, to do a district-wide boundary change, and to keep consistent with that,” said Rising. “That’s what my vote will reflect tonight.”
Other board members said they also saw the need for a long-term adjustment but felt something still needed to be done in the short-term to reduce overcrowding.
“The reality is we don’t have the time to do that effectively for the fall,” said Board Member Lori Price. “And that’s when these kids are going to be affected most is the fall, this coming year.”
The changes will keep all elementary school enrollment levels beneath their total capacity – and keep art and music rooms free for their intended use.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.
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