The District 65 School Board was presented with a number of options to address the potential need for additional space at Lincolnwood Elementary School in the packet for its April 23 meeting. The Board previously decided it would discuss options for Lincolnwood School at its May 21 meeting, so there was no discussion on April 23.
Both District 65 and John D. Kasarda, a consulting demographer, project that enrollment at Lincolnwood Elementary School will increase from 430 students this year to 468 in 2016-17. Next year, Dr. Kasarda is projecting an increase of 11 students.
In a memorandum provided to the District 65 School Board on April 23, Lora Taira said that District may need to add one fifth-grade classroom at Lincolnwood next year. Without adding the classroom, the fifth-grade class size is projected at 29 students.
In a memorandum, Assistant Superintendent Mike Robey listed several options that could address the potential space needs at Lincolnwood:
• Reconfigure existing rooms to create an additional classroom,
• Move the program for students with an emotional disability to another school,
• Implement “cap and transfer” under which students in excess of a maximum class size would be transferred to another school, and
• Limited redistricting
Ms. Taira presented one possible model for redistricting. Under the model, that portion of Lincolnwood’s attendance-area that is south of Church Street would be redistricted to Walker School’s attendance area. This would shift 78 students from Lincolnwood to Walker.
Ms. Taira said 66 students in the Lincolnwood attendance area had applied for kindergarten as of April 16, 20 of whom had applied to attend a magnet school or for a permissive transfer. She said if enough incoming kindergartners voluntarily transferred to another school and if additional kindergarten applications between now and the start of school are lower than projected, then it may be possible to reduce the number of kindergarten classrooms from four to three. The classroom saved at the kindergarten level could then be used for fifth-graders said Ms. Taira.
Ms. Taira also said there were applications to transfer four fifth-graders from Lincolnwood to other schools. She said if all four fifth-graders transferred, the class sizes at fifth grade would be 27 students, within the class size guidelines. Under this scenario, Lincolnwood would need only three classrooms, she said.
Fourth grade is projected to have three classrooms with an average class size of 26 students. At the April 23 Board meeting, Tom Trench, a Lincolnwood parent, said overcrowding has been an issue for years for the class moving to fourth grade next year. He said teachers are spending 30 percent of their time on discipline problems and have asked parents to help in the classroom.
School Board President Katie Bailey said she would like to put the discussion of Lincolnwood and any proposed redistricting on the Board’s agenda for the May 21 meeting. She said the administrators could present the options to address the need for additional space and the proposed boundaries for any potential redistricting, and Lincolnwood parents would have an opportunity to provide input she said.
The Board is also expected to discuss options to address the space needs at Haven and Nichols Middle schools at the same meeting.