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posted: 3/16/2010 12:01 AM

Superintendent: Dist. 203 boundary talks 'painless'

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School districts usually don't want to become embroiled in any kind of boundary discussion.

But if they do, they rarely end as quickly and quietly as Naperville Unit District 203's proposal to shift several elementary students around.

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The board, with no discussion Monday, unanimously approved a plan that will move students from Mill Street to Elmwood Elementary to ease crowding at the north-side school. The district first announced a move was immenent on Feb. 17.

Some Elmwood students also would move to nearby Kingsley and Maplebrook elementary schools. In some cases, the moves also would affect what junior high and high school students attend.

"I've never been part of a boundary change that was as painless as this one," Superintendent Mark Mitrovich said after Monday's board meeting. "I think it's because we've worked to transition the change. I think it also made a lot of sense to those people who were involved. In the long run, it's really in the best interest of the students."

Mill Street is the largest of the district's elementary schools with 821 students, and is projected to grow to 836 next year. The school recently underwent a $7 million renovation, but while that included new learning spaces for small groups, it did not include classrooms to handle the increasing number of students.

Under the proposal, 42 to 83 students from portions of the Wil-O-Way neighborhood, as well as Jefferson Estates, would move to Elmwood, which is 119 students below capacity. These new Elmwood students would then go to Lincoln Junior High and Naperville Central High School. Mitrovich said notices would be mailed soon to affected families.

"They will then elect to either stay at Mill or Elmwood if they're eligible," he said.

The move applies to kindergarten though third-grade students and all newly enrolled students. Students in fourth and fifth grades and their siblings will be allowed to finish at Mill if they choose to.

"We do that so the families can stay intact," he said.

In addition, roughly 14 to 22 Elmwood students will move to Maplebrook Elementary, and two to five Elmwood students will move to Kingsley. These students will then go to Lincoln and Central as well.

Kitty Ryan, assistant superintendent for school services and programs, has previously said the neighborhoods being moved were chosen because they are contiguous to their new schools and, in some cases, will be even closer. The district also is trying to keep a balance between the number of student at Naperville North and Central high schools

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