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Consultant: Oswego School District may need to revise school attendance boundaries

FILE PHOTO: The Oswego School District Board of Education during a meeting in the Community Room at Oswego East High School, 1555 Harvey Road, Oswego.
FILE PHOTO: The Oswego School District Board of Education during a meeting in the Community Room at Oswego East High School, 1555 Harvey Road, Oswego.

A consultant from an education planning firm told the Oswego School District Board of Education earlier this week that they will likely need to revise the district's existing attendance boundaries for elementary schools as several are at or above capacity and others may need to be mothballed or repurposed.

Robert Schwarz, CEO of RSP & Associates of Overland, Kansas, presented his findings to the board at a Nov. 16 meeting.

The district serves a 68.8 square mile area in Kendall, Will and Kane counties and operates 13 elementary schools, five junior high schools and two high schools. The schools are located in Oswego, Aurora, Montgomery, Plainfield and the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision. With over 17,000 students, the district is currently the seventh largest district in Illinois.

Attendance boundaries for each of the district's schools were last changed four years ago.

Schwarz projected the district's enrollment to drop to a forecasted 16,400 students by the 2025-2026 school year.

The bulk of the projected enrollment decrease would come from secondary schools, with junior high schools anticipated to lose about 500 students, and high schools expected to lose about 350, according to Schwarz.

Schools capacities, especially in the instructional areas, were highlighted in Schwarz's presentation. Instructional capacity, he explained, is the space within a school for general education classes - more specifically at the elementary level.

According to his presentation, Fox Chase Elementary School, Grande Park Elementary School, Lakewood Creek Elementary School, Long Beach Elementary School, Southbury Elementary School,and The Wheatlands Elementary School each are projected to exceed their instructional capacity based on the number of students who reside in the school boundary.

The only other school projected to exceed capacity was Traughber Junior High School, at least through the 2023-2024 school year.

Ideally, Schwarz said, a school building should be at about 85% instructional capacity, in order to allow for the possible creation of a new class or an influx of students.

In the future, the district will need to continue to annually review enrollment projections, demographics and development trends, Schwarz said.

The discussion continued later in the board meeting, when members mulled the possiblity of closing an elementary school or junior high school during a discussion on cost reductions in the district.

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