New boundary lines proposed again in Glen Ellyn District 89
The Glen Ellyn Elementary District 89 school board is reviewing a new plan to redraw attendance boundaries less than a year after delaying a decision on a proposal that prompted an outcry from parents.
Board members will hear a report next Monday from a task force that unanimously endorsed an overhaul of the district's boundaries -- the first in more than 25 years -- in response to rising enrollment. The board could vote in December to approve the committee's recommendation to send students in four neighborhoods to different schools next year.
Kids who lives in the International Village apartment complex in Lombard would move from Park View to Arbor View Elementary in the southernmost edge of the district. Students in the Canterbury Woods, Arboretum Estates and Glen Park Estates subdivisions would go from Westfield to Arbor View Elementary.
The district also would relocate preschool classes from Arbor View to Briar Glen Elementary. And one specialized classroom would move from Briar Glen to Westfield.
With new boundaries, the district could dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of students who transfer from their neighborhood schools to ones without space constraints.
The board adopted the policy in the 2008-09 school year as enrollment dropped to balance class sizes. But as enrollment ticked back up, the district has added more so-called administrative transfer students -- up to more than 100 now.
"We have enough space in our four elementary buildings and our middle school. However, the way that the boundaries are drawn, Park View has too many students zoned to go to it, so we're transferring students out," Superintendent Emily Tammaru said. "Arbor View is really underutilized. It would have single-section classes at the grade level if we weren't transferring kids into it."
If the board adopts the proposed boundary map, the district would shift roughly 190 elementary students to new schools. Of the 192, about 20 administrative transfer students would remain at their assigned campuses because they are already attending the school where the new boundaries would place them.
Students headed to fifth grade next year could stay in their current schools if parents provide their own transportation.
"None of it's easy. None of it," Tammaru said of the changes. "And we don't take any of it lightly, but we're really looking at a long-term solution, so that when parents buy a home they can register at the school where they're assigned and know that that's where they're kids are going to go to school."
Tammaru has launched a series of meetings with parent-teacher councils at each of the district's five schools as part of an effort to engage parents who last year urged the board to postpone a vote to study alternatives. She also will host a question-and-answer session at Glen Crest Middle School about the possible transition Oct. 25.
"I think we're engaging the community more along the process and for that I think it's better because we're allowing opportunity and time to understand the proposal, hear the feedback, respond to the feedback and then bring it to the board," Tammaru said. "So in that sense I think we've improved the process."
The previous proposal scrapped by the board in February also would have sent students in the International Village complex from Park View to Arbor View Elementary. But students in the Scottdale community in Wheaton would have left Arbor View for Briar Glen Elementary.
At Arbor View alone, about half the student population would have changed, a point of concern with parents.
"That wasn't occurring at any of the other schools and that was feedback that resonated with us, and so we wanted to look at options to see if there was a way that we could minimize the impact to all four schools," Tammaru said.
The task force recommended relocating the district's preschool programs to still allow for International Village students to move to Arbor View and keep more of that school's community intact, Tammaru said.
The committee included parents, a taxpayer, teachers, principals and school board members.
The board meeting Monday starts at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Glen Crest Middle School.