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Boundary Committee Co-Chair: Initial Maps Don't Fit Committee Goals

Oct 17, 2016 09:17PM ● Published by Steven Jack

Lauri Doyle

As the effort to redraw the Oswego District 308 school boundaries for the 2017-18 school year reaches its half way point, parents are growing concerned over several preliminary changes floated at the third Boundary Committee meeting Oct 13.  

A handful of parents, none of whom wanted to be quoted on the record, have contacted Only Oswego in recent days to voice their concerns over several changes that they say would cause disruption to the education of their children. School Board member Lauri Doyle, who is the 37-member committee’s co-chair, sought to reassure parents that the initial boundary map shown at last week’s meeting are only a starting point and changes to those maps will be “numerous.” 

That map has not been released to the public, but several people at the meeting did manage to photograph the map and have shared it across social media. 

Many factors, including placement of special education and English Language Learner students, along with district's feeder system, have yet to be accounted for in the first draft of the maps.

“I think the most important thing for our community to remember, at this point, is that the committee members are just as invested, if not more invested, in creating boundaries that are fair and make sense for our community,” Doyle said. “The maps presented to us so far do not fit the goals of our committee. By deliberate design of (district boundary consultant) RSP, the maps presented last week are only a jumping off point for the discussion about the real changes to be made. There are many areas presented in these maps that will not make sense for our community and so those changes may very well be discarded or adjusted.”

Most parents that have contacted Only Oswego have repeated concerns of rumored drastic changes to the high school boundaries that would expand OEHS’ boundaries further south and west. Doyle said those proposed changes are also of “great concern” to citizens and administrators who serve on the committee.

“We are looking at that specific piece of the puzzle as something that still needs to be worked on further,” she said.

While assuring “there is no plan already made,” Doyle acknowledged that there will be difficulties in the days and weeks ahead.

“This is a difficult process for our community, for some families more than others,” she said. “We are trying our best to make this change be of greatest benefit and lowest disruption for our community. We need to work through the entire process before we can definitively say who will be affected.”

Concerned parents are invited to make their voices heard at upcoming boundary committee meetings. Public comment is heard at the end of each meeting. The next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at Bednarcik Junior High, 3025 Heggs Road.

Two open public boundary forums also are scheduled for Nov. 1 and 2. The School Board is likely to adopt the 2017-18 boundaries at a meeting tentatively set for Monday, Dec. 12.

Throughout the process, Doyle asked that community members remain considerate of children in how they discuss these matters.

“Please remember that we all are role models for our children and they will take their feelings about this topic from the manner in which we discuss this as a community,” she said. “We are one district no matter which elementary, junior high, or high school our students attend. 

"Please use appropriate avenues and language choices to express concerns, and know that it is quite likely those concerns are also shared by those on the committee. Now is the time to express your concerns through available public comment at our meetings.”

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