U-46 OKs new boundaries despite Latino parents' objection

  • Several Lincoln Elementary School parents spoke at an Elgin Area Unit District 46 board meeting Monday against moving 226 students from the Hoffman Estates school to three Elgin schools.

      Several Lincoln Elementary School parents spoke at an Elgin Area Unit District 46 board meeting Monday against moving 226 students from the Hoffman Estates school to three Elgin schools. Madhu Krishnamurthy | Staff Photographer

 
 

Elgin schools officials adopted controversial boundary changes Monday night, disregarding the pleas of several Latino parents who called it "discrimination" and "racism" to move only Hispanic students from one school.

The Elgin Area School District U-46 school board approved boundary changes affecting 566 students in 13 of the district's 40 elementary schools next school year. The changes are meant to alleviate overcrowding at several schools and accommodate full-day kindergarten districtwide next year.

The decision comes a week after officials decided not to move 107 students from Nature Ridge Elementary in Bartlett to Liberty, also in Bartlett, after several Nature Ridge parents and teachers opposed the change.

On Monday night, several Lincoln Elementary School parents spoke against moving 226 students from the Hoffman Estates school to three Elgin schools.

Many parents said they did not receive any notifications about the proposed boundary changes until last week. With the approved changes, 30 Lincoln students will be moving to McKinley, 57 students will be moving to Lords Park, and 139 students will be moving to Coleman next year.

"They had told us that this was in process since 2014 and we just found out about this," said parent Rosario Diaz.

U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said administrators conducted several public meetings on boundary changes and notified parents at the affected schools through recorded telephone messages, email alerts, letters, and texts.

He added, fifth-graders would be grandfathered in and could remain at their current schools, if they choose.

Several Lincoln parents made emotional pleas saying the move would affect their children psychologically, separating them from their friends and a good school.

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"My daughter is doing really well at school," said Mary Lou Castillo. "She is getting good grades. She is getting a quality education and she really likes the school where she is at."

School board member Traci O'Neal Ellis said she was distraught after hearing the concerns of Lincoln parents.

"I am hearing about your distress for the first time tonight," she said. "I can't support a process that didn't communicate with parents. I don't know what happened. I'm deeply apologetic, if we have failed you in some regard. I'm hoping that you would stay engaged, and give feedback to this administration."

Boundary changes at other schools involve moving:

• 177 students from Hillcrest to Highland, both in Elgin

• 116 students from Channing to Ronald O'Neal (29), Garfield (29) and Huff (58), all in Elgin

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

• 3 students from Otter Creek to Harriet Gifford, both in Elgin

"We will have open houses for families to go visit the schools, meet the principals before next school year," Sanders said.

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

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