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updated: 2/16/2012 6:01 PM

Dist. 203 panel OKs 'Map 6'

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Naperville Unit District 203 Finance Director Dave Zager had "Maps 7 and 8" locked away in his office Wednesday night -- and they're going to stay there.

There's no need for the additional draft boundary maps after the district's enrollment and capacity committee Wednesday voted 30-3-1 to accept a slightly modified "Map 6" to present to school board members Tuesday night as their official boundary proposal.

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The map displaces more students -- 1,204, or 7 percent of the district population -- than any of the five previous maps.

Zager said Map 6 attempts to leave Ranchview a four-section school and would allow a portion of the Highlands population to move to Meadow Glen, a closer school. Rather than transfer Steeple Run students to Meadow Glen, they can be transferred to Highlands. Then Green Trails can go to Ranchview, which opens the space at Meadow Glen to accept the Highlands students.

The modification approved Wednesday leaves in flux approximately 60 students who may or may not live in a subdivision that is not complete on the east side.

"Arbor Trails is the subdivision that hasn't been built yet. The Huntington condominiums and the Green Trail apartments, which is that little square on Maple Avenue (just west of Benedictine University) which was on the map going to Prairie, will stay at Steeple Run," Zager said. "As Arbor Trails is developed, we'll have to make a decision about either Arbor Trails or Huntington Square going to Prairie. The rationale is that if Steeple Run's population declines, maybe you can leave them all in there."

The committee is charged with presenting a viable plan to the school board that addresses enrollment disparities within the district's 22 schools. The plan must support neighborhood schools, maximize facility use, limit transportation changes and affect the fewest of about 17,420 students as possible.

Changes also are necessary to alleviate crowding in some schools and low capacity in others, while also preparing the district to implement academic changes like full-day kindergarten and the nationwide Common Core.

Committee member and school board member Jim Dennison said he thinks, after a rocky start, the committee finally "got it right."

"When you look at it as a whole, does it accomplish what we needed to do? Absolutely," he said. "It's been tough, and I feel bad for some of the people in the back (parents angry with the proposal). ... Change doesn't come easy, but we had to do it. We've got a good solution, and I think the community's going to be OK with it."

A group of moms discussing the decision in the back of the room, however, disagreed. They're angry that the district is attempting to push the map change to eventually approve all-day kindergarten.

"Why did they even hold those open houses last week? They listened to none of it," said Highlands parent Dawn Soukup, who helped prepare an alternative map that she said was ignored. "Highlands has 176 kids moving out and none moving in. We're not overcrowded, and our numbers are going down."

The committee will present the amended Map 6 to the board of education at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium of Naperville Central High School.

Map: Presentation to school board Tuesday

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