Many of the 18,000 district 203 students may be moving to another school. School district 203 recently announced the possibility of remapping some of the boundaries within the district. The proposed plans stem from the district’s review of its enrollment and capacity among the schools. To offer more programing such as all day Kindergarden, administrators are evaluating their class size and restructuring their schools.
“In at least half a dozen of our elementary schools, they’re completely maxed out so there’s no room to put these additional programs,” said Dr. Mark Mitrovich, the district’s Superintendent. “You have schools in southern part of the district which are very under-enrolled.”
A committee of 25 community members and district staff drew up an initial map outlining possible boundary changes throughout the district. But parents say the map created a lot of shock and stress.
“We were told maybe a few weeks back that they were doing an enrollment and capacity study,” said Susan Lowery, a district 203 parent. “But i didn’t expect maps with potential changes right there and with such dramatic changes.”
Initial changes include closing Ellsworth Elementary and Washington Jr High, though after their latest meeting, superintendent mark Mitrovich said that’s no longer in the plans and it’s back to the drawing board.
“It became fairly obvious we needed more time,” said Mitrvich. “It isn’t just simply moving neighborhoods around because people are very tied to their schools.”
The committee’s expanding so it has equal representation from all 25 district schools and promises to be more transparent in future communication with local families.
Mitrovitch says if there’s one positive to come from the parents’ reactions, it’s showing how passionate the community is about their schools.
“There isn’t anyone in any of those schools who doesn’t think that school’s the best thing in the world for their kids,” he said. “When you step back for a minute [it] is an amazing statement because it means that they’re so invested that the thought giving up that school is difficult.”
The committee will ask the 203 Board of Education at their December 19th meeting for more time to draw up other possible maps. In the meantime, District 203 staff plan to hold public meetings throughout January and hope to hold off on a decision until at least next May.
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