Special School Board Meeting

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The Rockford School Board has had such a tough time choosing how to assign school zone boundaries that it called a special meeting tonight. Tonight's decisions send the administration back to the drawing boards.
"I want to know where my child will go to Middle School and High School, I think it's important to have zones in the school district," says Michelle Vosberg, mother of a Rockford elementary school child.
For every parent with that point of view, there is the opposing opinion that the proposed school zone boundaries unfairly divide students. That conflict brought the Rockford school board together for a special meeting tonight.
School Board President Nancy Kalchbrenner says, "We'd like administration to come up with a revised map with boundaries that might reflect different socioeconomic levels so we would hope to see that in early January."
The board wants the student body at middle and high schools throughout the district to hit close to an average economic range.
"We want to move closer to the median at the high school and middle school level, the free and reduced lunch level for both those tiers and we think we have some options to do that now," says Superintendent Dennis Thompson.
Another major concern among middle and high schoolers is whether they'll be able to stay in a school in which they are currently enrolled.
"Any zone plan should include grandfathering existing students so we do not push existing students out of the schools that they're in now," says Kalchbrenner.
Some board members say the main thing is take time with the process to make sure it's done right.
"My feeling is we need to slow down and get this off the fast track, we're not in a crisis situation," says School Board President Jay Nellis.
The board scratched a vote previously set for January 9th to allow more time for public comment.
The school board also decided to grant sibling preference. It would give an older student an edge if he or she wants to attend school in a younger sibling's zone.
The board hopes for a final decision sometime in late January.