Dist. 203 moving forward with boundary talks

Updated 12/6/2011 6:19 PM

Despite the rough reception they received Monday night, Naperville Unit District 203 officials said Tuesday they will continue seeking input and feedback on future boundary proposals.

They also vowed to communicate better as they move forward.

The next boundary scenarios will be posted on the district website no later than Friday afternoon, officials said. The scenarios are expected to include all District 203 schools and reflect the comments and recommendations of the committee studying possible boundary changes.

Superintendent Mark Mitrovich will meet Wednesday with members from RSP & Associates, the firm charged with studying the district's capacity needs, and the committee. During that meeting, he will learn about the options to be presented later this week.

"At the end of the week, we will be posting 'supposals' that have us looking at different choices than we have already seen. Again, these are not final plans, but frameworks for feedback," Mitrovich said Tuesday. "Once the 'supposals' are posted, I hope the community provides additional commentary on what they see as being positive and negative. This feedback is critical to the process."

School board President Mike Jaensch said he's hoping neither he, nor community members are surprised like they were last Friday when the first "supposal" posted on the district's website suggested the possible closing of Ellsworth Elementary and Washington Junior High schools.

"I have no idea what to expect on Friday. I think we've made it clear that the board is not involved in any of these exercises that the consulting firm is running," Jaensch said Tuesday. "I assume there's going to be a few more 'supposals' as they call them. And I'm assuming they're going to be much more realistic than the first one they came up with. The first time I saw the last group was when it was put on the website."

The next step after Friday's unveiling will be the school board's Dec. 19 meeting where Mitrovich is expected to present members with his recommendation from the options offered by RSP.

"I fully expect that the consultants will take what the committee and community say in response to the new 'supposals' and apply further modification before the Dec. 19 board meeting," Mitrovich said. "But whatever the consultants provide, this is not the end and there will still be many more questions to be asked and answered."

Jaensch said he expects to be presented with a plan that achieves the district's goal of having a viable plan that will address disparity within the district, support neighborhood schools, maximize the use of facilities, limit transportation and impact the fewest number of students possible.

"I'm hoping they can come up with a proposal. If they don't have enough time, the goal is for the superintendent to make a recommendation as far as what direction we should go," Jaensch said. "I think we've been pretty clear what our priorities are so we hope they respect that and we don't have anymore big surprises like we had last week."

Jaensch denied that the district has a deadline or that changes need to be made as soon as the coming school year.

"We're not going to do anything with artificial deadlines. If the pieces come together and there's a logical process to start stuff for next year, then it would have to be prior to registration," he said. "That does not say it has to start next year. It may not. That's all part of the public discussion that's going to follow."

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