Parents already concerned about potential future boundary maps in Dist. 204
Even though it's still in the concept phase, the redrawing of boundary maps in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 is already raising concern among parents.
With a decision still months away on final maps, several parents spoke at Monday's District 204 board meeting to express dissatisfaction with three recently unveiled concept plans. Whether it's the possibility of increased traffic congestion, the splitting of feeder schools or the anxiety caused by the process, parents are worried about the future.
According to the district's timeline, the school board is scheduled to vote early next year on a proposal that potentially would take effect in the 2022-23 school year. Other than the minor remapping of a few elementary schools in 2017, the last major adjustment came before the opening of Metea Valley in 2009.
"We are four weeks into a new school year," said district parent Sam Lee. "We are still in the middle of a pandemic. The future is rather uncertain, and is now the best time -- given all that our children have gone through for the last year -- the appropriate time to really introduce something as disruptive, and one that causes a tremendous amount of anxiety?"
District 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley tried to alleviate concerns by stressing it's early in the process. Last week the district conducted the fifth of eight boundary committee meetings with consultant RSP Associates. Public forums will be held in November at the district's three high schools.
A school board workshop is scheduled for December, where board members will discuss the committee recommendations. The board may vote to adopt a boundary plan as early as January.
"Our boundary process is just that, a process," Talley said. "Though I know people review our concepts each week, everyone needs to remember that what is presented often changes the next time we meet."
The concept plans can be found at the district's website at www.ipsd.org. The district believes remapping is needed based on anticipated enrollment imbalances among the schools in the next five years.
Overcrowding is expected at several elementary and middle schools in addition to Metea Valley High School. Other schools, including Neuqua Valley High School, are expected to drop under 75-percent capacity. In the next five years, RSP estimates an overall enrollment drop of about 1,000 students from the district's current number of about 26,000.
Many parents remain unconvinced the remapping is necessary.
"I understand the board members and consultants, they're trying to put together the best proposal for the school district," said district parent Jiang Yuan. "But do consider the students' mental health. How they should stay together for the friendships that build up. Put that into consideration. I understand budget concerns and other concerns, but this is also important."