Prospect of new Dist. 204 boundaries rouses strong emotions

  • Indian Prairie Unit District 204 Board President Laurie Donahue addresses the audience at Monday's community forum at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora about redrawing boundaries Monday.

    Indian Prairie Unit District 204 Board President Laurie Donahue addresses the audience at Monday's community forum at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora about redrawing boundaries Monday. Kevin Schmit | Staff Photographer

  • Indian Prairie Unit District 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley talks about the process for adjusting school boundaries. Monday's forum at Waubonsie Valley High School was the first of three this week in District 204.

    Indian Prairie Unit District 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley talks about the process for adjusting school boundaries. Monday's forum at Waubonsie Valley High School was the first of three this week in District 204. Kevin Schmit | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/9/2021 10:08 AM

"Welch to Neuqua," "Atwater to Young," "Keep Clow Open."

There was no shortage of opinions, emotions and especially signs at the first of three community forums designed to address concerns about plans to redraw boundaries in Indian Prairie Unit District 204.

 

Hundreds of anxious parents and students streamed into Waubonsie Valley High School's auditorium Monday in Aurora to listen to District 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley, Board President Laurie Donahue and consultant Rob Schwarz describe the process of developing the district's first significant boundary adjustment since Metea Valley High School opened in 2009.

Whether it was Welch Elementary School families worried about the schools they feed into or Clow Elementary School families concerned about a concept that closes their school, District 204 officials heard from 40 speakers expressing their disapproval with what they're seeing.

The public will have two more chances this week to have their voices heard. Neuqua Valley High School will host a community forum at 7 p.m. today followed by a Wednesday forum at Metea Valley.

"I love my school," said third-grader Siddharth Mavit, who is worried about not being able to attend Welch in the future. "Imagine you lived in our community ... how would you feel about it?"

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District officials say boundary redrawing is needed because of enrollment inequities among the 33 schools serving Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield.

According to district data, enrollment reached a peak at 29,570 in 2008-09, but it's projected to dip to below 25,000 in 2025-26. The redrawing process began in April and will conclude Jan. 10, when the school board is expected to vote to implement one of the concept plans for as soon as the 2022-23 school year.

"It would be way easier to just step back and just let it ride, and just put Band-Aids on the situation like we've been doing," Donahue said. "We can't do that."

The eighth and final boundary committee meeting will take place on Dec. 8. The school board will have a workshop later that month before voting in January.

"What you have seen so far have been concepts," Talley said. "These concepts are not etched in marble. As I've said before, they're barely etched in Jell-O. We continue to make changes to them."

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