This month’s O’Fallon District 90 Board of Education meeting brought many parents and community members who were interested in hearing more about the topic of redrawing school attendance boundaries. The need to do so is a result of a growing community. O’Fallon’s steady growth rate is a direct reflection of the fact it is a wonderful community with many amenities and strong schools. District 90 continues to grow, not a few houses at a time, but entire subdivisions at a time. It is a very desirable school district due to its outstanding staff; strong curriculum; award-winning curricular and extracurricular programs and athletics; and positive learning environments. All seven of our schools are high-achieving and perform well above the state average every year, but most importantly our staff members are highly trained and passionate about children and learning.
Due to the fact that we are a desirable district, we have had several adjustments to our school boundaries in the past. In 2008 a committee adjusted the boundaries but stated the topic would need to be revisited five years later. That didn’t happen in 2013, but we are in the process again now in 2016.
Last November a committee of staff, parent and community volunteers was formed to research options and collect information on this topic. The committee’s initial goal was to have a plan in place for the 2016-17 school year. The committee met for several months and decided it would be best to delay a year in order to provide ample time for study and feedback. The committee continued to meet and outlined a timeline that included presentation of an option in October with no recommended board action for that meeting. It recommended the board review proposals over the next several months until the board felt all options and questions were considered. That timeline allows the committee to meet in between board meetings, to further analyze or amend options that it had considered or presented. For that reason it is not likely a decision will be made in the near future. This is all currently a proposal and no change to the current school boundaries has been approved.
We currently have the classrooms available to meet the enrollment needs of the district; they just aren’t in the right locations for our current boundaries. There are available classrooms in some schools while other buildings are at or near capacity. While there may be a point in the future that we need to consider additions/renovations or new construction, it isn’t currently necessary and therefore wasn’t considered as an option by the committee. Rather, our immediate need is to balance the enrollment to match the building capacities.
The October meeting was the first time the board was presented with proposal. It included creating a fifth grade center at Marie Schaefer and dividing the current Schaefer boundaries to feed into the other elementary schools. The Boundaries Committee is open to constructive feedback and will thoroughly consider every reasonable option.
We will continue to communicate with the community in the following ways:
▪ District Board Meetings: As noted, we plan to present additional information and provide answers to questions at the next scheduled board meetings on Nov. 15 and Dec. 20. These meetings will allow for presentation, questions from the board, and public comment. Board meeting agendas and packets are uploaded to the D90 website the Friday before the Tuesday meeting. See www.of90.net and click on School Board, then click on Boardbook-Agendas and Minutes. (The PowerPoint presentation from Tuesday can be found there as well).
▪ Frequently Asked Questions: We are committed to supplementing these FAQs on an ongoing basis as we continue to hear from the community. The FAQs will be available on the district website and will be sent to staff and parents.
▪ District Office: Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-632-3666.