District 86 School Board Hears From The Community About Proposed School Merger Idea

On Tuesday night, a District 86 board meeting took place at Hinsdale South High School, where parents, community members, and students voiced their concerns about the issue of enrollment imbalance at both Hinsdale South and Hinsdale Central High School. The District 86 school board had this meeting, because quite a few District 86 parents and students voiced their opposition to a proposed idea that would merge both Hinsdale South and Hinsdale Central together, in order to deal with the enrollment imbalance at both schools.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, parents, students, and community members had the chance to address their concerns directly to the District 86 school board. One of the concerns was about the commute time being longer for students, particularly for the students who don’t live in the surrounding area near Hinsdale South. One of the ideas that the District 86 board is considering is having grade level centers where freshmen and sophomores go to one building, and juniors and seniors go to a different building, or having all the freshmen go to one building, and sophomores, juniors, and seniors go to another. Many parents and students said that it will be difficult for them to get to and from school if they do this, especially if they or their child is involved with sports or extra-curricular activities.

Many parents explained to the board that they specifically brought their current house, just so that their kids can attend Hinsdale Central. One of the proposed solutions that the District 86 board is considering is adding more classrooms to Central, to deal with the enrollment imbalance in the district. Another idea would be to create magnet programs at Hinsdale South, to attract more students there. Another solution would be to get rid of the district administrative offices at Central, and build more classrooms in that area.

There was a lot of complaints about the possibility of kids from Oak Brook attending Hinsdale South, due to the school boundaries possibly being redrawn. District 86 superintendent Bruce Law claimed that no such proposal to have kids from Oak Brook go to South, was ever brought up or considered, by the school board. John Czerwiec, a resident of Clarendon Hills, wasn’t a fan of the merger idea between South and Central.

“I think the size of the combined classes at the combined schools, would be detrimental to the kids’ education and extra-curricular activities,” Czerwiec said. Czerwiec also said that he doesn’t think the merger idea will get passed by the board, and that the debate over it will create more confusion even after last night’s meeting.

Andy Mahler, a resident of Oak Brook, said that the board needs to focus more on the the under- enrollment at Hinsdale South more. “It’s really not the over-enrollment at Central, there’s been an over-enrollment for quite a number of years, it’s actually the under-enrollment in South, so they need to address some of those fundamental issues as to why that enrollment is going down,” Mahler said.

Mahler also supported the idea of adding more classrooms to Central, in order to accommodate the enrollment imbalance between both schools. Others at the meeting urged the board to take its time on this issue, being that there is quite a bit of an uproar at some of the ideas that have been presented by the board, in order to fix the issue of enrollment imbalance at both Central and South.

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