District 203 is making some progress in its plans for redistricting.
At their latest meeting, the enrollment and capacity study committee looked at new maps, outlining possible boundary changes for schools within the district. The committee represents each school possibly impacted by the study.
District administrators also showed data reflecting significant growth among the schools, several of which are over-crowded.
To address an imbalance in enrollment, the committee is helping the administration to draft new boundary lines.
“That enrollment projection we had done shows that that’s not going to get better. In fact that it may get worse,” said Dave Zager, the district’s Chief Financial Officer. “If we don’t address it now, those concerns will be even greater in the years coming.”
The meeting follows more than a month of uproar from parents shocked by the redistricting plans.
In December, administration revealed a possible map including drastic changes to the district like closing Ellsworth Elementary and Washington Junior High.
The first of the three new maps recently revealed moves a moderate amount from various schools, totalling 999 students impacted. 178 students would transfer from Beebe to steeple run elementary schools, 199 students from Naperville North would move to Naperville Central, and 66 Kennedy students would be reassigned to Lincoln.
The second map moves the same number of students from Beebe to Steeple Run but moves fewer students among the junior highs and more from Naperville North to Naperville Central, as many as 215.
The third map has the most changes. Similar to the second, it has 215 high schoolers moving but transfers more elementary and middle-schoolers for a total of 1,033.
None of the options presented show any schools closing.
“I think the approach we took on these new maps is what we said from the beginning, we’re going look at the least amount of change we have to make in order to accomplish the overall goal,” said Superintendent Mark Mitrovich. “That was a different posture than the first map that was developed, that was a far more comprehensive approach. I think we obviously learned something from that.”
The committee split into small groups and discussed how each map did or did not fit four criteria the school board had established at their December 17th meeting.
Those criteria are:
-Utilizing Buildings Effectively
-Causing Least Disruption To Students Possible
-Keeping Neighborhoods Intact
-And Optimizing Transportation
Mitrovich agreed that this is the year to redistrict but emphasizes that it’s an on-going process that should not be taken lightly.
“This isn’t something that you bring in, and people sit here a couple hours and then say ‘ok, let’s move on,’” said Mitrovich. “This is the most complicated that you do almost in the school district. There are a lot of feelings associated with it and so it deserves time. And I think they’re getting that & now every segment of the district is represented.”
The community can see the maps at the district’s website, www.naperville203.org.
Over the next month, there will be 5 public forums to gather the community’s input. The committee plans to present a status update to the school board at the February 21st school board meeting.
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