After outcry from parents, has decided to seek to postpone further redistricting discussions until more community members can be involved and further options are reviewed. Any changes would not be implemented at the district until 2013-14 at the earliest.
District 203 Superintendent Mark Mitrovich made the announcement Wednesday night during a meeting of the Enrollment Capacity Study Group held at the district’s administrative building.
The meeting was held to discuss the latest supposals, but after reviewing the elementary school boundaries, the committee members had concerns that they felt could not be answered in the current time frame.
that schools might be closed and on Monday night about 100 parents and community members attended the District 203 Board of Education meeting to express concern over “supposals” the district was reviewing, some of which called for the closing of schools.
The district sought to allay fears that schools would be closed or boundaries redrawn, in how it handled the process.
When the school board meets again on Dec. 19 Mitrovich said he will recommend that the board allow the committee more time to solve these issues for the long term, expand the process to include representatives from all schools and address enrollment issues at Mill and Beebe Elementary Schools before the 2012-13 academic year.
“We need to slow the bus down; this deserves more time,” Mitrovich said, adding that any possible changes would be on hold until the 2013-14 school year at the earliest. “If we do that, we need to address the issues at and [elementary schools]. They’re very full, so what we will try to do is find ways to help them out as we work through this process.”
Mitrovich will ask the board to specifically:
1. Extend the timetable so a viable plan the meets the needs of our District can be developed
2. Expand the process to include representatives from all schools
3. Review the priorities that were identified early in the process to determine if they accurately represent the long-term goals of our District
4. Address enrollment issues at Mill and Beebe schools prior to the 2012-2013 academic year
The district retained the firm of RSP Consultants, which conducted a study that showed a downward trend in enrollment over the course of the next five years. The meeting was supposed to alleviate concerns parents had in relation to the potential for future closures and redrawing of school maps.
The supposals suggested that students would theoretically be redistricted in an attempt to address over and under crowding, along with adding new programs such as full-day kindergarten and language classes.
During the meeting, committee members worked on redrawn maps that differed from the ones currently posted on the district’s website.
As they met Wednesday night, the committee members were encouraged to redraw the school boundary lines to create solutions to the first supposal of not closing and . However, all of the members came to the conclusion that the splitting up of neighborhoods and moving students to schools that were a farther distance were not optimal.
School board members Suzyn Price and Jim Dennison attended the meeting. Price said long-term decisions should be based on improving students’ educational quality and not based on neighborhood or street affiliations.
“We want a solution for the upcoming generations,” Price said. “We could do something minimal and kick the can down the road, or we could solve this long- term.”
The enrollment committee did not have members from six schools, which was a concern to some parents including Linda Hanson whose children attend Scott Elemetary, one of the schools that was not represented on the committee.
“I’m relieved that there will be more time to make a good decision,” Hanson said.
Monica Lucibello, the president of the Ellsworth Elementary home and school group, said she is happy there will be more time and representation before the proposals can be acted upon.
“Originally, on the first supposal, they had our school getting closed,” Lucibello said. “There was a lot of stress over that, even if it was just a supposal. We didn’t have a voice before.”
Mitrovich will make his recommendation at the next school board meeting, which will be held 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at Naperville Central’s Auditorium.