D230 Option Zone Residents Petitioning Against New Attendance Plan
A proposed plan to move students with the option to attend Sandburg, to Stagg and Andrew has sparked opposition among would-be affected residents.
Updated, Sept. 17, 2012
About 650 residents have signed a petition against a proposed Consolidated High School District 230 attendance plan that would direct students in two areas to have one high school option, as of Sunday night.
The plan includes placing students from Community Consolidated District 146’s Central Middle School strictly at Victor J. Andrew High School upon entering high school, and also dissolving an option zone around Carl Sandburg High School where Palos South Middle School students would be directed only to Amos Alonzo Stagg High School. Students from both middle schools have the option to study at Sandburg, and would continue to be able to for the next three classes of incoming freshmen under the plan. Starting with current 5th graders, incoming freshmen in the two zones with a 2020 graduation date would only be able to go to Andrew or Stagg if the plan passes.
View a district attendance map just right of the article to see where the zones are located.
The plan is to “better balance the enrollments at the three schools,” according to an email from D230 Director of Communications Carla Erdey. District staff projected that under current trends of enrollment decreasing, the 2016-17 school year would have Andrew with 1,807 students, Stagg with 2,314 and Sandburg with 3,121.
The district estimates the new zone attendance plan will lead to enrollment of about 2,700 students at Sandburg, 2,300 students attending Stagg and 2,200 at Andrew, according to a Chicago Tribune report by Ashley Rueff. The plan will also reduce two bus lines for students in the Stagg-Sandburg option zone to one, according to Erdey.
For residents who moved to the option zone area because of enrollment in Sandburg, the plan isn’t desirable, leading to the petitions that began circulating Saturday.
“My kids can walk to Sandburg and the district wants to bus them almost 6 miles away to Stagg,” wrote Tatiana Fenolio, a resident of the Sandburg Glen subdivision. “Talk about a waste of tax payer's dollars! As for their sentiments that this would help to even out the enrollment between the three schools, the change would hardly even be noticed as the amount of kids from the option zone attending Sandburg is very minimal. The change would lead to angry homeowners with kids’ time being wasted in transit, a decline in property value for residents in the option zone, and tax payer's money being spent on gas to ship kids to a further location.”
Southmoor Commons resident Frank Rieser also believes property values will be affected, and predicts people who moved to the subdivision with grade school children may relocate if the plan passes.
“The working parents who have kids in after-school activities will have the added stress of driving to school to pick up their kids after their activities,” Rieser wrote in a letter to the school board and administrators.
Area resident Bernard McDevitt echoed concerns about distance and property value, while also questioning the plan’s benefits.
“Are the facilities at Sandburg, despite what the board itself acknowledges is district-wide, ‘steadily decreasing enrollment,’ somehow so stressed that the board felt compelled to act so callously?” McDevitt wrote in an email.
Several residents, including Fenolio, also told Patch they didn’t receive mailers that were sent from the district about the plan.
Erdey’s full release about the plan, and notices about upcoming meetings where the plan will be discussed are on the D230 website.
"The district established a community input process specifically to seek thoughts on the attendance zone recommendations," Erdey wrote in an email Monday eveing. "We welcome and value the perspectives community members are providing in this process. We have received insightful feedback from a number of points of view regarding both the District 146 and the District 118 Option Zone recommendations. The administration and school board will continue to review all input received prior to the board taking action."
The D230 board and administrators will be meeting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the administration office, 15100 94th Ave. in Orland Park, to present details about the plan and hear concerns from residents.
The board is expected to vote on the plan at the Sept. 27 meeting, starting 7 p.m. at Andrew.