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West Chicago High first to OK consolidation study
By Jack Komperda | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/16/2008 12:08 AM

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School officials at West Chicago High School District 94 approved a plan Tuesday to fund a portion of a study to determine the impacts of consolidating with its three elementary feeder districts.

The school district, which runs West Chicago High School, is the first of the four districts to agree to move forward with such a study.

School officials in Benjamin Elementary District 25, Winfield Elementary District 34 and West Chicago Elementary District 33 are expected to meet in the next few weeks to determine whether they'd want to participate.

"I think that, as in most decisions, our school board wants data before it enters into any long-term decisions," District 34 Superintendent Diane Cody said. "There will be no quick action on our part."

Last week, school officials from all four districts met in a joint meeting to learn about what options they have available if consolidation of the four districts is pushed by either school officials or diligent parents.

Such a move would be prompted by either a school board's petition or a similar request filed to the DuPage County Regional Office of Education by 50 residents in each of the school districts seeking to consolidate.

The plan for consolidation has been pushed for months by District 94 school board President Tony Reyes, who said Tuesday he wants to see a ballot measure on consolidation within the next year.

"We need to give the public the information and let them decide," Reyes said. "I want to see this (question) on the ballot within the next two elections."

Reyes has argued that the four districts need to consider the idea as a way to create a more efficient and cost-effective learning environment for the roughly 7,200 students in the districts.

School officials within the three elementary districts have stressed they'd be willing to do more to communicate among the districts about their respective activities, but haven't made any promises about pushing for consolidation.

School officials in District 25, for instance, have said they're not interested in pursuing the matter because of concerns from parents that consolidation would compromise the district's local control and traditionally high standardized test scores.

District 34 will be the first district to consider the option of going forward with a consolidation study at its next board meeting on July 24.