District 44 adjusts boundary to balance class sizes
A boundary change that drew almost 30 speakers to a Lombard Elementary District 44 school board meeting last month was approved Tuesday night in an "anticlimactic" fashion, school officials said.
One person spoke against the change designed to balance class sizes between Butterfield and Manor Hill schools, school board President Becky Kirsh said Wednesday.
The board listened, then acted, voting 7-0 in favor of implementing the change in August at the beginning of the next school year.
Kirsh attributed the board's resounding approval of the boundary change to trust in the administration's solution to overcrowding at Manor Hill school and a small population at Butterfield school.
"The administration really did their research," Kirsh said. "They really did investigate all the options, and we trusted that they recommended what's absolutely most beneficial to the whole district."
The new boundary means students living between 22nd Street on the north, Butterfield Road on the south, Finley Road on the west and the district's eastern border now live in the Butterfield School attendance area.
The change is expected to move about 72 students to Butterfield, but that number will not be finalized until closer to the start of the new school year, Superintendent Jim Blanche said.
Affecting the final count will be the number of Manor Hill fourth graders whose parents opt for them to finish fifth grade at their current school. Up to 11 students could make that choice, Blanche said, but the district will not provide transportation to Manor Hill for those students.
"If they do choose to do that, they're on their own for getting their child to and from school," Blanche said.
The lone public speaker Tuesday night suggested the new boundary be implemented gradually as students enter the district.
Kirsh said such a policy would not do enough to relieve overcrowding at Manor Hill, which has two classes with 27 students, two with 28 and one class with 31 students, compared with classes as small as 16 students in four grades at Butterfield.
"If we grandfathered those children in, nothing would have changed," Kirsh said. "(Manor Hill) would have remained an overcrowded school for years to come and that's not what our kids deserve."
Butterfield staff members will prepare to welcome the new students, as they did about a year ago, when all early childhood students moved into a new wing added on to the building.
"We need to work out plans for the children to visit at some time in the spring," Blanche said.
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