St. Charles District 303 presents options for new school boundaries

St. Charles School District 303 community members inspect proposed boundary maps at an information session at St. Charles High School on Nov. 28, 2023.

About 100 people attended an information session on St. Charles School District 303′s proposed enrollment zone changes Nov. 28 in the St. Charles North High School auditorium and about 500 people attended virtually.

A second meeting covering the same information took place Nov. 29 at the Norris Cultural Arts Center at St. Charles East High School.

The school board has been considering major changes in the district to address overcrowding in elementary schools. After voting to reorganize elementary school facilities in July, the next step is changing the schools’ enrollment zone boundaries.

Beginning in the 2024-25 school year, Lincoln Elementary School will close to house transition programming and staff offices and Fox Ridge Early Childhood Center will become an elementary school.

District 303 board members will vote to finalize the boundary changes at their Feb. 12, 2024, meeting. The changes are expected to be implemented in the 2024-25 school year.

In July, the district hired RSP and Associates to conduct a boundary analysis and develop a plan to address overcrowding. At the Nov. 28 information session, an RSP representative presented proposed changes to the enrollment zones of district schools and began collecting community feedback.

Superintendent Paul Gordon (left) and Robert Schwarz (right) on stage at the St. Charles North High School auditorium during the information session on School District 303 enrollment zone boundary changes on Nov. 28, 2023.

RSP and Associates CEO Robert Schwarz led the presentation. Schwarz said his company’s only interest is how it can benefit D-303 students and staff and the community.

Schwarz presented two scenarios. The first would adjust the enrollment zones of every school in the district. The second would change the enrollment zones for elementary and middle schools but would not change the high school zones.

Under the first scenario, the Richmond Elementary School boundary would stop at Dean Street and extend east to Geneva Road. Wasco Elementary School would extend north of Silver Glen Road.

Under the second scenario, Richmond’s boundary would extend north of Dean Street, Munhall Elementary School would extend past Geneva Road and Wasco would extend to Denker Road.

Schwarz said the goal of the enrollment zone changes is to better distribute students so that each school is between 85% to 90% capacity to allow space for flexibility and future growth. The presentation also detailed how the proposed scenarios would change which elementary schools feed into which middle schools and which middle schools feed into which high schools.

The full presentation, which includes detailed maps of the proposed enrollment zone changes, is available for viewing on the district’s website.

Guiding principles and boundary criteria were approved by the school board at an Oct. 10 meeting.

Schwarz said RSP looked at trends in birth rate, population, development, demographics, migration and out-of-district students.

A public survey for residents to provide feedback on the proposed scenarios opened Nov. 28 and closes Dec 10. Schwarz said they intend to make changes to the proposed scenarios based off community responses.

“Don’t be fearful that what I’m showing you tonight will be approved by the board at their next meeting,” Schwarz said. “That is not happening. I fully expect that there should be changes made based off the responses from this survey.”

St. Charles School District 303 community members inspect proposed boundary maps at an information session at St. Charles High School on Nov. 28, 2023.

After the presentation, attendees were invited to break into small groups to view boundary maps on display in the high school and speak with Superintendent Paul Gordon and school board members.

To learn more about the boundary process, visit the district’s attendance boundaries webpage.