District 204 Elementary Schools May See Boundary Change

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At the last District 204 meeting, the board discussed proposed boundary changes for the elementary school level.

The hope is to ease overcrowding at three schools, Brookdale, Brooks, and Peterson, which are currently over capacity and set to see enrollment rise even higher.

“At Brooks, we could probably let them continue to use art and music classrooms for another couple of years, but at Brookdale and Peterson we will not have enough space for students, we’d have to make classrooms in the library,” said Laura Devine-Johnston, District 204’s Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education.

The proposed changes will affect some incoming students moving to new subdivisions, as well as 215 current students.

Parents of those affected spoke out at the meeting – concerned about the prospect of switching schools.

“When my daughter went into second grade, I went from renting a home in Brookdale to buying a home in Brookdale, walking distance from the school,” said Carrie Cole, mother of a Brookdale Student who would be affected by the proposed changes. “As a single, working mother, I’m proud to say I could do this for my daughter to give her a consistent school experience.”

Some board memebers also had concerns about the adjustments, especially since two similar changes were approved in the last four years: once in January 2013, and again in February 2016.

“We moved kids into Brookdale and Brooks and now we’re moving kids out of Brookdale and Brooks. We moved kids out of Cowlishaw, Longwood, Young, and May Watts, and now we’re moving kids into Cowlishaw, Longwood, Young, and May Watts,” said District 204 Board Member Mark Rising.

The discussion led to the idea that it might be time to look for long-term stability, instead of short-term solutions.

“We need to get in there and really make some big changes because these little tweaks aren’t addressing the overall capacity issues in the district,” said District 204 Board Member Justin Karubas.

The board is looking for feedback at its Engage 204 meeting at Still Middle School on December 7, and people can speak at public comment before the vote on December 11.

Students entering 5th grade will be allowed to stay at their current school if their parents provide transportation.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.