Parents Upset about STEPS Placement

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District 204 announced in an email to parents of students in the STEPS program that the program will be leaving Wheatland School for the 2017-2018 school year.

The program, which provides post-secondary education to special needs students, will be moved to the district’s three high schools, splitting the students in the process, which parents were not happy with.

“Separating our adult students is the most restrictive program option,” said Deb Gronowski, parent of a STEPS student. “Our adult students need to be in the same location. Separating them erases their identity and the community they so desperately need.”

While parents are upset about the decision to split the students, they have also spoken out at previous board meetings with concerns about Wheatland School.

Projected growth in the STEPS program means that the 67-year-old building will soon be overcrowded, it isn’t compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and district and Aramark trucks share space with school busses during drop off and pick up times.

“We received numerous letters from our parents who expressed concern about the safety of our students, and I think that was a major determinate,” said Michael Raczak, President of the District 204 Board of Education.

Raczak also said this was a short term placement that may only last for one year, and that the board wants to have a continuing discussion with parents about long term plans for the STEPS program.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.