Demographic and Capacity Study|
District 203 has experienced student enrollment changes over the last 15 years. There are higher populations of students at schools in the northern part of the district and more capacity at schools in the southern portion. In all, there are 1,000 empty seats at the elementary level and 1,000 at the junior high level. The Board of Education has spent much of 2011-12 studying enrollment capacity and boundary changes. They initiated a demographic study and commissioned a group of citizens/staff/parents (called the Enrollment Capacity Study committee) to study the issue. They also held public forums and public meetings and discussed the recommendations of the 40-member Enrollment Capacity Study (ECS) committee.
On March 19, 2012, on the recommendation of the ECS, the Board approved Phase I of school attendance boundary changes. Phase I would relieve immediate crowding at two schools, Mill and Beebe, by reassigning students from five different neighborhoods to new schools beginning with the 2012-13 school year. As part of that change, the district will continue to monitor enrollments at Mill and Beebe and make changes necessary to relieve overcrowding. The Board also approved grandfathering options that would allow students at the highest grade level in their schools to remain in their current schools.
The Board has not acted on Phase II of the study. The Enrollment Capacity Study committee recommended Phase II to further balance out enrollment at all of the District 203 schools and create space for needed programs such as All-Day Kindergarten. Delaying action on Phase II would allow for more deliberate study of boundary changes and transition of students to new schools.
The ECS map presented to the Board met the Board’s tenets to impact the fewest number of students as possible, preserve neighborhood communities where possible and to keep student walkers as walkers and optimize transportation.
With the approved Phase I boundary changes, the district is working with all of its schools to develop a transition plan that meets the needs of its students. Changing schools is an emotional issue because of the close bonds that form between families and the school community and District 203 is committed to ensuring that the transition is as smooth as possible.
Why a capacity study?
There have been major changes that have taken place since the last study of this type was completed. Economic and demographic shifts have already taken place in our community. In addition, the State is undergoing a significant direction change that includes the adoption of Common Core standards, the replacement of current standardized tests with PARCC assessments and PEAC/Senate Bill 7, which ties student achievement to administrative evaluations/reviews. In addition, the option of All-Day Kindergarten is being explored and reduced class sizes at the K-2 levels. These are programs that would need to be implemented at all schools and would require additional space in these buildings. Boundary changes would help create space in the schools for these programs.
As always, the district welcomes your input, comments and questions. Questions about your family’s transition to your new school assignment can be addressed to the principals of your current and future schools. Other comments can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional helpful links
Overview before the Board
Proposed Boundary Map for Board of Education (Please note this is a VERY large file that will take time to download)
Frequently asked Questions about the Transition
Understanding Grandfathering Options
Archived capacity study updates