What’s Next for School Boundaries in District 117?

By Gary Scott on December 17, 2016 at 10:39am

With seven nights worth of presentations in the books, where does the community and the school district sit in regards to elementary school re-boundary process?

District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek has travelled to all seven elementary schools in the district over the past two weeks in an attempt to gather community feedback regarding what to do with the former Franklin school boundary.

Following the presentations, those in attendance were asked to fill out surveys as a way for the district to assess community input.

Now that the sessions are over, Ptacek says he’ll make the questionnaire available online in hopes of garnering a much larger sample size.

“I’m preparing a narrated, online Power Point presentation that we will issue out to the public and then provide a link to an online survey. I hope to have that done, at the latest, by the end of next week. Then we’ll compile all of that data, and come back to the community to talk about where we currently are,” Ptacek explains.

With the abundance of data, Ptacek emphasizes that it could to take considerable time in order to truely understand all of the possible scenarios.

The biggest question needing an answer: would the community prefer a limited re-boundary process or a full-fledged redistricting of the current boundaries.

Ptacek says, from the small sample size gather thus far, the community is leaning towards a limited process. He breaks down the feedback he currently has.

“We have 131 surveys turned in so far. Sixty percent of the people would rather us go with a limited boundary process versus an entire district re-boundary, and fifteen percent are undecided. It’s about twenty-six percent that are in favor of a complete district re-boundary,” says Ptacek.

The Superintended reiterated the fact that these surveys are not exclusively for people with children in the district.

“How a district defines its educational boundaries and how a district would potentially define its entire structure – like if we went to a hybrid attendance center model – those items have an impact on all of the residents of the Jacksonville School District. I really want to stress to everybody that this is not just for parents who have kids. This is a community issue,” says Ptacek.

An additional meeting will be held Monday at noon at Jacksonville’s Senior Center near Community Park. Ptacek says Monday’s meeting will go over everything that’s been covered in previous meetings and help decide how the district will handle the issue moving forward.

WLDS-WEAI News will have the latest updates regarding survey links and online information as soon as they become available.