U-46 boundary plan to be set by end of year

 
 
Updated 10/7/2015 7:46 PM

Future attendance boundaries that could move about 900 students at several Elgin-area elementary schools likely will be decided by year's end.

Elgin Area School District U-46's Enrollment and Facilities Committee will be presenting its recommendations for boundary changes in the coming weeks, officials said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The district recently conducted three forums to gather feedback from parents and community members on its proposal for full-day kindergarten and boundary changes that would affect 16 of the district's 40 elementary schools. The response to full-day kindergarten has been positive, but not all boundary changes are being welcomed, officials said.

"There are people that are very passionate about not wanting to see a change and there are others that haven't said much about it," said Jeff King, U-46 chief operations officer.

Maps of suggested boundary changes for individual schools are available on the U-46 Citizens' Advisory Council website.

Officials propose moving roughly 900 students, or 2.25 percent of the district's 40,000 students, to new schools.

The committee will vote Tuesday on the different boundary change scenarios and prepare a report by Oct. 20 with recommendations for review by the Citizens' Advisory Council.

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Final recommendations will go before the school board in December, said Roger Wallace, committee co-chairman.

It has been 11 years since the last round of boundary changes within U-46.

Wallace said it was far more contentious then because the district was moving more than 10,000 students as new schools were being built.

Boundary changes also are crucial to the district being able to accommodate full-day kindergarten classes next year.

Most of the district's elementary schools in Elgin and Hanover Park don't have the space to accommodate full-day kindergarten classrooms.

"That's what we had determined last spring, that with the given facilities we have there is no way to incorporate full-day kindergarten across the entire district," Wallace said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The enrollment committee report identified 10 elementary schools that are underused, with 114 classrooms empty and 12 more schools headed in that direction. Elementary schools with declining enrollment primarily are in the southeastern parts of the district, including parts of Bartlett, Carol Stream, Elgin, Hanover Park, Streamwood and Wayne.

With the boundary changes, administrators propose adding 26 full-day kindergarten classrooms -- 10 at Highland Elementary on Elgin's west side, 10 at Coleman Elementary on Elgin's east side, and six at Laurel Hill Elementary in Hanover Park. Cost is estimated at $14.5 million.

The district has about 2,500 students enrolled in half-day kindergarten, offered in morning and afternoon shifts. Tuition-based, full-day kindergarten classes also have been available on a voluntary basis at various sites for three years.

The district has 14 full-day kindergarten classrooms, and roughly 250 students are receiving full-day kindergarten instruction based on their educational needs, officials have said.

The goal is to provide voluntary, free access to full-day kindergarten classes at all U-46 elementary schools as early as the 2016-17 school year while keeping Illinois Park open as an early learning center, officials said.

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