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School District 204 mulls attendance zone shifts

Students parents make their way past satellite classroom front Young Elementary School their way home from school Wednesday December 12

Students and parents make their way past a satellite classroom in front of Young Elementary School on their way home from school on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. Indian Prairie School District 204 is looking at boundary changes that would shift students around and eliminate the need for extra classrooms like the one in front of Young Elementary. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

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Who goes where?

Subdivision current schools proposed schools

Estes Park Cowlishaw/Hill Owen/Still*

Chesapeake Landing Cowlishaw/Still White Eagle/Still

Courtyards Village East Longwood/Granger Brookdale/Hill*

Bristol Station Longwood/Granger Brooks/Granger

Autumn Run Longwood/Granger Brookdale/Hill*

Lake Longwood Longwood/Granger Brookdale/Hill*

Pebblewood Estates Longwood/Granger Brookdale/Hill*

Abington Trace Young/Granger Steck/Granger

Woodland Lakes Young/Granger Steck/Granger

Ginger Woods Young/Granger Brooks/Granger

Butterfield Oaks Apts. Young/Granger Brooks/Granger

Cambridge Countryside** Young/Granger Brooks/Granger

*Middle school adjustments would not be made until 2014-15. Seventh and eighth graders in 2014-15 will be permitted to stay in their current schools.

**Only Scott Lane, Foxmoor Lane and Borkshire Lane.

More information is available on the district website, ipsd.org. A video of an administration presentation made to the Board of Education Monday can be found at 204tv.org. Comments can be submitted to 204-enews@ipsd.org.

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Updated: January 20, 2013 6:07AM



Looming adjustments to some of the attendance zones in Indian Prairie School District 204 have gotten people talking.

A consultants’ report to the Board of Education has laid forth recommendations leading to proposed boundary changes that would shift kids in a dozen subdivisions from one elementary school to another in the 2013-14 school year, with middle school students beginning a phased transition a year later. No changes are being suggested for the high school level at this point.

The board is expected to vote on the plan Jan. 14.

“Numbers last winter indicated that several of our elementary schools were overcrowded and there was a need to look at shifting some of our attendance areas,” board President Susan Rasmus said in an email. “After much discussion, we hired an outside firm, RSP (and Associates), to come in and take a closer look at the demographics of our district, both how they look now and how they are projected to look over the next five years.”

District administrators laid out a proposal Monday that would take some 300 students now at Cowlishaw, Longwood and Young elementary schools and move them to Owen, White Eagle, Brookdale, Steck and Brooks schools instead. In 2014-15, middle school shifts are proposed that would move some of the students now at Hill to Still and others from Granger to Hill.

RSP made it clear that the district is not bursting at the seams; the distribution of students just needs to be made more even.

“There is significant district-wide elementary capacity, but several facilities need to have a boundary change so their capacity is not exceeded,” the consultants wrote, identifying those schools as Cowlishaw, Georgetown, Longwood, Watts and Young.

Among the impacts of the plan would be a thinning of the head count at schools such as Young, where a portable classroom used to handle current overcrowding would no longer be needed.

Rasmus said the district has heard from about a dozen families weighing in on the pending changes, mostly in the Young attendance area, and most of them appear to support the plan.

“From everything I’ve seen the process has been positive,” she said.

That doesn’t mean parents are unconcerned. Ginger Woods resident Annmarie Fitzgerald, whose kids stand to be transferred from Young to Brooks, addressed the board Monday. She acknowledged the process is necessary.

“No one wants to be in that group (being moved). I get it,” she said. “I’m in the group. My kids are in the group.”

Fitzgerald was looking in part for assurance that class sizes would not increase under the proposal.

“That’s one of the huge concerns for a lot of the parents,” she said.

In her area of the district, Fitzgerald said, campus assignments already are fragmented.

“We’re already isolated. Half of our subdivision is in the Batavia district,” she said, noting that a new layer of isolation would be created by the proposed shift. “These kids are already separated from half of their neighborhood.”

Rasmus emphasized that the board and administration share the families’ focus on the best interests of the students.

“Moving students is never easy,” she said. “The RSP study has enabled us to make informed decisions that are data driven. ... I’m confident families will find they are supported in their new surroundings.”



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