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D230 Keeps Palos Option Zone, Directs D146 to Andrew

A plan meant to balance out enrollment among District 230 high school has irked Community Consolidated School District 146 parents with students who in three years will only be able to attend Victor J. Andrew High School.

Rami Jreisat thinks its unfair that certain students bound for Consolidated High School District 230 will keep the ability to choose between high school while others won't.

The 42-year-old resident of the Catilina neighborhood in Orland Park counts his three children currently attending Arnold W. Kruse Education Center among those who lost the benefit of an "option zone," which allowed students in two areas to choose between two D230 high schools. In fact, the reason his family moved to Orland Park was to provide his children the opportunity to attend Orland schools.

"We're being pushed out," Jreisat said. "They took away our choice."

District 230 board members unanimously voted in favor of a plan that maintains a zone where Palos Community Consolidated School District 118 students living near Carl Sandburg High School can choose between Sandburg and Amos Alonzo Stagg High School. 

Students currently moving through Central Middle School will keep the choice between Andrew and Carl Sandburg High School. But within three years, all Central students—Jreisat's children, who all will eventually attend that middle school after leaving Kruse—will only have Victor J. Andrew High School in their future. Current 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students at Central will still have the high school choice, but that will end by the time current 5th graders are ready for high school.

The change comes with a grandfather clause pertaining to families with District 146 students who attended Sandburg. Those students’ siblings will also have the same choice between Sandburg and Andrew—until the youngest sibling has graduated.

What this means is that the burden of fulfilling the District 230’s need for spreading out enrollment will fall on District 146.

"I believe it is imperative that the district balance enrollment among all three high schools," said Superintendent James Gay during Thursday's school board meeting. "Ultimately, it will allow Andrew High School to provide the same high-quality programs that are available and Sandburg and Stagg that are community expects and, most importantly, our students deserve."

At a special meeting held on Sept. 18, Gay gave examples of programs that Andrew might have to cancel if enrollment didn't improve.

Gay recommended Thursday not changing the option zone for D118. Students will be assigned to attend Stagg, but they will still have the option to go to Sandburg. Gay notes in an outline for board members that many of the homes in the option zone actually neighbor Sandburg.

Keeping the Palos zone didn’t require any action from the board; it was simply recognized in the action that created the transition zone.

Earlier this month, over 850 residents had signed a petition against the attendance plan. While fewer people attended Tuesday's meeting, some parents still see problems with the district's plan.

"Why does District 118 get an option and we don't get an option?" Jreisat said.

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parent of student September 28, 2012 at 04:53 PM
To jenifer & marie, The change only affects residents that live in district 230 high school.
Debbie stack September 28, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Jennifer and Marie - The students who attended Fulton and Memorial Schools will still go to Tinley Park High School. The students who attended Kruse and Fierke will go to district 230 as they always have. My children are at Fulton and Central and we are in the Tinley Park High School district. So many people are confused by all the reports saying "District 146 will be attending Andrew and Sandburg" Even though it is only a portion of District 146. I think this needs to be made clear to the rest of District 146 families.
Jeff Babcock September 28, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Typical politics this move guarantees nothing regarding the classes, sports and after school programs at Andrew. The board took the path of least resistance by moving D146. They had an oppertunity to take a much bolder approach and look at geopraphic boundries as many parents had suggested at the open meeting. History has proven this will be an issue again some 20yrs from now, sounds like they passed the buck. Now that it is done as parents I think we should be asking why the D230 board or any school board is given such absalute power over such a critical matter. I don't know how it can be done but I would like see something like this be a mandated referendum. Or at the very least a committe should have been formed that was incluseve of the feeder districts and parents. It would seem that D230 does not practice what they preach, " We are one Distict". One may say we are upset and they would be right but it could have been a much less bitter pill to swallow if this were managed better from the top! Remember that at election time. FYI, if you have a child interested in Marching Band it will now cost you an approximate $850 more at Andrew.
Jeff Babcock September 28, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Yes you are grandfathered in and have the option. Also as I understand it the bussing if you need it is only for the 3yr grace period. After that you have to get your child to Sandburg on your own.
FRED September 29, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Are you saying that the kids from century are smarter than the rest? Seriously

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