Redistricting Map Proposed

District 203 staff and parents will continue to wait for an answer to enrollment issues plaguing several of its schools.

At the latest school board meeting, the Enrollment and Capacity Study Committee proposed a redistricting plan that would move 1,204 students from one school to another but the board made no motions.

The proposal comes after six drafts of boundary changes the committee has revised over the last few months in attempt to balance enrollment and provide space at all schools for future programming, particularly all-day kindergarten.

But parents pleaded not to accept the committee’s recommendation fearing it doesn’t do enough to correct overcrowded issues in Mill and Beebe elementary schools for years to come.

All-day kindergarten was certainly another topic of contention. The district wants to offer it to families so children will be ready, from a young age, for higher state-mandated standards to take effect by the 2014 school year.

Several parents and teachers spoke in favor of a full-day kindergarten program, saying kids will need more time in school

But while they acknowledge the value in it, some board members begged the question at what cost?

Administrators expect that even with redistricting, they will need to spend nearly $7-million to build multi-purpose rooms and additional classrooms at six of the district’s 14 elementary schools, plus more than half a million dollars in start-up costs, and an extra $2 million in operating costs each year.

For now, school board members will continue to look at the pending map and plan to resume their discussions about it at their next meeting on March 5th.


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