One of the main goals of school attendance zones is to provide stability and predictability in a student's life. But it's not working out that way for nearly 200 kids who will be bussed to kindergarten this fall, often far from home, only to transfer to a new school the following year. Superintendent Dennis Thompson says that's because the current elementary zone boundaries are outdated and unbalanced.
"There's more people in the zone than there is room at the school, other zones have so few people that those kids have to bussed outside the zone. So the current zones really do not serve the needs of the school district," says Dr. Thompson.
That's why the school board wants to revamp its elementary zone system and realign it with the new middle and high school zones. Two committee chairs are gathering data and assigning sub-committees to address specific issues. They hope to have a new system to propose to the board by November and they're focusing on a few key goals.
"Offer programming that's equitable so that we have a very sound, good educational experience for all children no matter where they go," says co-chair Pamela Laughlin.
They also want to provide stability and track programming from kindergarten to graduation. The final challenge is to make sure members from all spectrums of the community join the elementary zones committee and attend informational meetings.
"We're gonna try to get the word out via those avenues, through churches and centers," Laughlin adds.
The elementary revamp could happen as soon as the 2008-2009 school year.
The first informational meeting will be at 6:00 July 10th at Ellis Arts Academy, 222 South Central Ave, with a second meeting July 16th at 6:30 in room 207 of the Rockford School Board Administration Building, 201 S. Madison St. If you would like to join the committee please contact co-chairs Laughlin and Haney-Bauer through the superintendent's office at 815-969-3101.