DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - Decatur Public Schools is changing boundary lines of district schools after a unanimous vote Tuesday night. It's the first boundary change for the district in about 25 years.
Information posted online by the district said since the last boundary change, overcrowding in district schools led officials to adopt pod system and enrollment stabilization policies.
In some cases, the district said schools saw a lack of classroom space, which made it so they couldn't enroll all students. The policy changes cause some inequities that "more significantly impacted students with higher mobility rates", per officials.
The approved plan, available in a PDF document attached to this story beginning on page 123, is meant to address overcrowding with the help of community involvement. Maps of planned changes are in those pages.
A slide show in the DPS document said current elementary boundaries in the district are flawed, because they're "hard to define" and "lack neighborhood emphasis on certain schools". It went on to say 90 percent of people who answered a community survey were for evaluating and reforming elementary boundaries.
To reach its recommendations, the Decatur Public Schools Boundary Committee worked for 10 months in meetings, using community engagements, building parent meetings, surveys, and other options.
While the Board of Education applauded their decision at Tuesday's meeting, not all parents are sold that the changes are for the best. Canzetta Jackson, a parent to several children in the district, called the changes "segregating", "degrading", and "underhanded".
"I think it's splitting up the different cultures, nationalities, to where you're putting the poor where the poor is, the rich where the rich is, middle class with the middle class. I think it's all underhanded."
However, the district claims that 89% of parents they surveyed believed the school boundaries needed to be re-evaluated.
The district plant to implement the boundary changes over the next two years.
Resources for parents are available on the Decatur Public Schools website.