District 308 Superintendent Addresses Overcrowding at Schools
Apr 29, 2014 02:14PM
● By Steven Jack
Oswego District 308 Superintendent Matthew Wendt said administrators are keeping a close eye on class size at Hunt Club and Grande Park elementary schools.
Wendt told School Board members steps are being taken to reduce the enrollment at Grande Park Elementary, and administrators are closely monitoring class sizes at Hunt Club Elementary. Parents from both schools were on hand at Monday night's meeting to address the board.
Wendt revealed that a tentative decision has been made to move the all-day kindergarten program out of Grande Park in Plainfield to the Eastview Kindergarten Center in Oswego. He acknowledged the fix for overcrowding at Grande Park is not ideal and understands parent concerns over long bus rides for kindergarteners.
"That could be viewed as bad news by individuals. But it also could be viewed as good news, because there is no school in District 308 that is a bad school," … I understand the concern of students on buses, but I know each teacher at Eastview is qualified. That’s not the issue. The issue is what is the long term goal? Are our kindergarteners going to attend their home school or are they going to be transported to a different site as 500-plus kindergarteners have been for a number of years."
Wendt said a proposal had been made to move Grande Park fifth-graders into a junior high, but that it had been rejected by staff.
Grande Park parent Mike Donovan asked Wendt to reconsider moving the kindergarten program.
"Kindergarteners are the most vulnerable of students. Putting them on a bus for an hour a day seems to be less than ideal," Donovan said.
Hunt Club parents also addressed the board with a letter that was published Monday on Only Oswego. Their concerns are with an incoming first-grade class that could swell as high as 31 students for 2014-15.
"The construction in the Hunt Club sub-division continues to grow at a rapid rate and will increase class sizes before the next school year. It is the fastest selling community in the entire Kendall County area. We already know of two new children who will be entering first grade at Hunt Club the next school year. This brings the number of students up to 31," the letter said.
"We are also concerned that the classroom with 31 students is a safety issue and should be a serious concern for School District 308. In case of a true emergency at Hunt Club, we are not convinced that a safe and orderly evacuation of 31 six and seven year olds is possible."
Wendt said while 25 students is the district's goal in kindergarten through second-grade classrooms, there may be three or four throughout the district next year that exceed that number. He also asked parents for patience as administrators work to get a more accurate head-count as the school year draws nearer.
"We’re monitoring it. Things can change. Bear with us. Be patient. Give us a little longer before you size us up for not doing what’s in the best interest of your children," he said.
The district will be working with a demographer in June to help get a better handle on future enrollment numbers at schools within quickly developing subdivsions, Wendt said.