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D. 202 Ok’s attendance zone ...

D. 202 Ok’s attendance zone changes that move about 280 elementary students

Jan 22, 2018

About 280 District 202 elementary students will attend new schools next fall following changes to elementary attendance zones approved on January 22, 2018.

The Board of Education voted 4-3 to approve the district’s first major attendance zone boundary change in nearly 10 years.

The Board approved the same plan that was first publicly presented to its Personnel, Policy and Administration committee on December 13, 2017.

All seven Board members supported the overall plan. However, Board members Rod Westfall, Heather Drake and Michael Robey voted no over concerns about a handful of specific elements.

The attendance zone changes address logistic, transportation, staffing and enrollment issues created by shifting enrollment and housing patterns following the Great Recession.

The attendance zone plan as approved:

  • Moves only about 280 students in eight of the district’s 17 elementary schools (Meadow View, Wesmere, Walker’s Grove, Grand Prairie, River view, Crystal Lawns, Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson
  • Does not affect middle and high school assignments
  • Takes effect in Fall 2018
  • Creates elementary enrollments of between 531 and 692 students at 14 of the 17 elementary schools. (Crystal Lawns, Grand Prairie and Walker's Grove are all smaller schools with lower enrollments)
  • Makes geographic sense
  • Yields optimal space for special education, English Language Learners and Honors programs
  • Allow for anticipated steady growth to be absorbed without additional major attendance zone changes

Between 1990-2008, District 202 grew from a small, rural district with five schools serving about 3,500 students to the fourth-largest district in Illinois with 30 schools serving nearly 30,000 students.

Then the growth stopped in 2008 when the Great Recession hit. The district has made minor changes a few times in the last several years to tweak and balance enrollments, but major changes were no longer needed.

Since 2008, however, enrollment has dropped by about 2,000 students to about 27,100 this year. Those changes left some schools well under their capacities, leading to staffing, transportation and logistical challenges.

District officials started work about two years ago to address those challenges. Administrators studied enrollment and housing patterns and talked with municipal planners and developers to get a sense of future growth.