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W. Chicago schools focus on projected growth
By Rupa Shenoy | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/22/2007 1:51 AM

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West Chicago Elementary District 33 officials are mulling over a new report that projects growing enrollment and could support arguments for a middle school addition.

After a few years of steady growth, the district enrolled its largest kindergarten class ever this year, with 474 students. The school board asked statistical expert Charles Kofron to find out if the increases will be a trend.

The results seem to say "yes." They predict that the district's six elementary schools will grow by 300 students over the next four years.

"What it's going to take is some proactive planning," said Kathy Wolfe, the district's business and operations director. "The board's goal is to accommodate students' needs."

The elementary schools, with an average population of about 500, are nearing capacity, she said.

Earlier this year, the school board appointed a committee to investigate whether moving sixth-graders out of elementary schools and into the middle school would benefit students' education.

The move would require a middle school addition and, possibly, going to voters to fund it. But it's far too soon to say if the additional 300 students warrant the move, Wolfe said.

And there other options, spokeswoman Becky Koltz said, the most immediate being to move supportive programs into alternative spaces.

The board is expected to discuss the findings during its Oct. 4 board meeting.

"Nothing whatsoever has been decided," Wolfe said. "We're totally at the review stage right now."

Kofron predicts that increases will be concentrated at Currier, Pioneer and Gary elementary schools; Wegner and Turner schools are expected to lose students; and Indian Knoll School isn't projected to see a change.