Community Perspectives Shared At D204 Boundary Forum Night Two

Community Perspectives Shared At D204 Boundary Forum Night Two
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Community members from across Indian Prairie School District 204 spoke out for the second time at Tuesday’s boundary forum, held at Neuqua Valley High School.

The Clow Elementary community marched to the school to protest the district’s “Concept #1,” and met with protesters from other local communities outside the school before entering the forum.

Need For Change

The night began in a similar fashion to the first forum at Waubonsie Valley High School, with Board President Laurie Donahue explaining the district’s need for a boundary adjustment. She again cited overcrowding on the north side of the district, and underutilization in southern schools.

“It would be a much easier path for all of us, including the board, to put it aside or put band aids on it and deal with little populations as they pop up,” Donahue said. “But we can’t do that anymore, we just can’t.”

Boundary Forum Public Comment

41 people spoke during the forum’s public comment period. They raised concerns about a variety of issues regarding each of their own communities.

Some comments came from the Welch-Neuqua community, which is proposed in Concept #1 to be split at the DuPage County/Will County line, with DuPage County homes reassigned to Owen Elementary and Waubonsie Valley High School.

“Suddenly switching to Owen and Waubonsie means we will be forced to endure earlier wakeup times, long bus rides, less time for homework, and sleep deprivation, which is nearing epidemic levels in teens,” Welch-Neuqua community member Dhaatri Mauiji said.

Others spoke for the Clow and Graham Elementary communities, which are both proposed for closure in Concept #1.

“Clow, Graham, and Spring Brook Elementary are the top performers in the district,” Clow community member Serena Lee said. “Concept #1 would close Clow and Graham, and would put Spring Brook at over 90% capacity overnight. This would certainly affect district excellence.”

“After living through their third school year with this pandemic, no child is as resilient as they once were,” Graham PTA Co-Vice President Becky Thorn said. “Closing their much-loved school, which has been a safe, supportive, and stable home for them, will most certainly cause extreme disruption to their lives, and will wreak havoc on their mental health.”

An Emerson Park subdivision resident and third grader at Fry Elementary spoke out against reassignments. “I love my school, teacher, and friends. I do not want to change, because Fry school is really close, and White Eagle is double the distance,” he said.

Emerson Park would be reassigned from Fry to White Eagle Elementary, and Scullen to Still Middle School in Concept #1. It is also slated for reassignment from Scullen to Still in Concept #3.

Meadow Lakes community resident Mohan Pillay advocated for grandfathering high school students into their currently assigned school after boundary adjustments finalize.

“This past year has been, as you know, already very difficult for our kids and they have lost on many things,” Pillay said. “These are the foundation years of their career; don’t make them start all over again at a new school.”

Vikram Vaid, representing the areas of Lehigh Station and Plaza Place in Aurora, pushed against Concept #1’s proposed changes to his community.

“Owen Elementary School is six miles away from our location, and [Route] 59 and 75th Street get backed up very frequently and it’s not a very nice commute,” Vaid said. “So all the pre school activities and post-school curricular activities will get impacted.”

Next Steps

One final community forum is scheduled for Wednesday night, held at Metea Valley High School. Concept information shown at that forum will be the same as the two before it.

Once the district’s community forum series is complete, there will be at least one more boundary committee meeting December 8 to implement feedback.  The boundary concepts will then be delivered as proposals to the District 204 Board of Education for review. They are expected to take action on any changes in early 2022.

People can visit District 204’s boundary website to view current concept maps, give feedback on the process via a boundary survey, and find additional information on the next steps of the boundary process.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.

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