U-46 won't move Nature Ridge students

Posted12/8/2015 5:45 AM

Nature Ridge Elementary students will stay put next school year even as students at other Bartlett and Elgin area schools are moved around due to proposed boundary changes, officials said.

Several Nature Ridge parents and teachers voiced concerns about the administration's proposal to move 107 students out to Liberty -- another Bartlett school -- during a public hearing Monday night on proposed boundary changes at South Elgin High School.


U-46 hasn't changed boundaries since 2004. Officials have said it's necessary now to alleviate overcrowding at several schools and accommodate full-day kindergarten districtwide next year.

Yet, parents argue Nature Ridge has enough capacity now to accommodate full-day kindergarten without moving students out.

"Nature Ridge has been on the wrong side of bad timing over and over again when it comes to enrollment issues," said parent Melissa Owens. "For years, the school faced severe overcrowding at the very same time that the district was not in a position to make boundary changes. It is very unfortunate that now, with a light at the end of a long tunnel and enrollment numbers dropping, a boundary change is proposed."

Several Elgin Area School District U-46 school board members were inclined to let Nature Ridge be without making any changes for next school year.

"I'd rather move kids when we have to, not just in case," school board member Sue Kerr said. School board President Donna Smith cautioned the board and parents that even if there is no change made to Nature Ridge's boundaries for next school year, the issue might have to be revisited should student enrollment increase beyond what officials anticipate.

"We could have a problem in March with Nature Ridge that we can't perceive today in December," board member Traci O'Neal Ellis said. "This may all fall apart sooner than you think or like."

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Officials also dropped a recommendation to move 227 students from Liberty's English as a Second Language program to Prairieview, also in Bartlett, as unnecessary since Nature Ridge students won't be moving to Liberty.

The proposed boundary changes now would affect roughly 567 students at 14 of the district's 40 elementary schools next academic year. The proposal recommends moving:

• 116 students from Channing to Ronald O'Neal, Garfield and Huff elementary schools, all in Elgin

• 44 students from Harriet Gifford to Lowrie, both in Elgin

• 177 students from Hillcrest to Highland, both in Elgin

• 226 students from Lincoln in Hoffman Estates to Lords Park, McKinley and Coleman, all in Elgin


• 4 students from Otter Creek to Highland, both in Elgin

It also calls for adding classrooms at Coleman, Highland and Laurel Hill in Hanover Park. Coleman and Highland would gain 10 new classrooms and Laurel Hill would gain six.The U-46 school board will vote on the proposal at its Monday, Dec. 14 meeting, starting at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at the Educational Services Center, 355 E. Chicago St., Elgin.

To view maps of proposed boundary changes by school, visit u46cac.org.

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