District 117 Board reviews school boundaries

By Gary Scott on November 16, 2016 at 9:26am

Establishing clear boundaries for local elementary schools was the focus of last night’s School District 117 meeting.

The particular area in question is that of what formerly associated with Franklin Elementary School, which is now used as 8 Points Charter School.

As of yesterday, Superintendent Steve Ptacek started presenting the board with possible scenarios for a resolution.

“We need to define the existing Franklin boundaries for the students, for the property owners, we need to define what of our six elementary schools those students are actually calling their home schools. We’ve been kind of waiting until we have the sixth grades students enter into the middle school in the fall of ’18 to free up spaces in the other schools. So we’re going some early planning about how we can solve this problem and we might be able to put some things in action for next fall,” Ptacek explains.

With most of the students in that area having transferred to Washington or South, Ptacek says overcrowding is an issue.

“If those kids go to schools nearby then those schools then are packed, and with that, we would probably have to start talking about adjusting some boundaries on the other side of those schools to put kids into Eisenhower and North. Which, if you take the Franklin-transfer students out of both of those schools, plus in the long run they’ll lose two sixth grade classrooms due to the transfer to Jacksonville Middle School. You’re talking about both of those schools losing somewhere near 80 students, so we need to talk about some internal adjustments to the boundaries,” Ptacek explains.

Among the other items was the consideration of a new tuition waiver allowing district employees living outside of the district to send their kids to school within the district tuition free. Ptacek hopes that, if accepted, the waiver would attract highly qualified educators into the district.

According to Ptacek, the proposed tuition waiver must be approved by the Illinois legislature before going into effect.