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posted: 3/20/2012 7:21 PM

District 203 approves first phase of boundary plan

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Naperville Unit District 203's latest boundary plan doesn't go as far as parents at two overcrowded schools would like, but officials says it's a good start.

School board members agreed Monday night to split the changes proposed by the Enrollment Capacity Committee's Map 6 into two phases. The first will focus on reassigning students at Mill Street and Beebe elementary school to draw them below capacity.

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"We feel that Phase One will achieve the reductions at Mill and Beebe that we need. And Phase Two will allow for a more deliberate approach and transition plan for the remaining reassignments," Superintendent Mark Mitrovich said.

According to the plan, in 2012-2013 the district will move students from Mill Street to Elmwood, students from Beebe to Steeple Run and students from Steeple Run to Ranchview.

"During 2012-2013, we will monitor and evaluate the situation at Mill. We have differing sets of statistics as to what may or may not happen at that building, and we want to be as judicious in terms of making the best decision that we can based upon the most accurate information," Mitrovich said. "At that time, consideration will be made as to any further moves that potentially could be made to assist Mill."

"Finally, in the 2013-14 school year, we would implement the remainder of the changes, and we would move any additional students from Mill if that was warranted."

All told, Phase One includes the moving of 134 elementary students and 76 junior high school students to Elmwood and Lincoln as directed by the Enrollment Capacity Study. Mill Street parents have repeatedly asked for as many as 50 more students to be removed from the school to prevent more changes needed to be made as soon as next year.

The board also approved grandfathering options that allow some students in the higher grades in their schools to elect to continue at their current schools.

The remaining school boundary changes in Phase Two were not acted on to provide the time for a more deliberate approach on the remaining boundary change proposals and transition plan.

The committee's overall recommendations are part of a long-term solution to overcrowding at Mill Street and Bebee and the need to even out enrollments at other schools. The changes, if implemented, would create space in the schools for future programs such as all-day kindergarten. The board has heard several presentations on the rationale for implementing all-day kindergarten and will consider the issue in the fall.

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