Dist. 118 board backs plan to alter middle school boundaries

  • About 120 Wauconda Middle School students would move to Matthews Middle School in Island Lake this fall under a plan tentatively approved by the District 118 board Thursday.

      About 120 Wauconda Middle School students would move to Matthews Middle School in Island Lake this fall under a plan tentatively approved by the District 118 board Thursday. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Matthews Middle School in Island Lake would receive an influx of new students from Wauconda Middle School under a plan to change boundaries.

      Matthews Middle School in Island Lake would receive an influx of new students from Wauconda Middle School under a plan to change boundaries. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/8/2019 6:49 PM

Wauconda Unit School District 118 board members are throwing their support behind a proposal to adjust attendance boundaries for the district's two middle schools.

The plan, which was tentatively selected during a committee-of-the-whole meeting Thursday night, would affect two neighborhoods and shift about 120 Wauconda Middle students to Matthews Middle in Island Lake this fall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Final approval is expected at the board's March 21 meeting.

The change is needed, officials have said, because enrollment has been increasing at Wauconda Middle while decreasing at Matthews.

If no changes are made, Wauconda Middle could have about 680 students next year, while Matthews Middle would have about 440 students.

Under the plan, which was recommended by District 118 administrators, all the homes in Wauconda's Larkdale subdivision would shift to the attendance zone for Matthews Middle.

Additionally, the Symphony Meadows neighborhood in Volo would be bisected by the new boundary line. Kids living north of Gilmer Road would continue attending Wauconda Middle, while kids living south of Gilmer would shift to Matthews.

An estimated 39 of the Wauconda Middle students who'd transfer to Matthews in the fall will be eighth-graders, according to the district's boundary study. Parents of those students may opt for their students to remain at that school as long as they tell the district by May 1 and provide transportation to and from school and activities, according to the proposal.

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Administrators studying the issue developed 10 boundary options. Board President Jonathan Feryance said he prefers the option now moving forward because it'll have the biggest long-term impact when it comes to balancing the two schools' populations.

More than 20 people attended Thursday's meeting, and several asked questions about aspects of the plan. Feryance appreciated the inquiries.

"It was really nice to hear the questions that came out," Feryance said.

The boundary study is available at d118.org.

The board last changed middle school boundaries ahead of the 2007-08 term.

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