REJECT MERGER OF HINSDALE CENTRAL AND HINSDALE SOUTH HIGH SCHOOLS
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Our community is facing a real threat to our children’s education, and it is extremely important that you attend the board meeting--PLEASE TAKE TIME TO ATTEND THE BOARD MEETING ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 12TH FROM 7-9 PM AT HINSDALE SOUTH. We are also asking you to sign this petition. We hope to have at least 1500 signatures by tomorrow night.
Currently, there is a group known as Fill South First (“FSF”) who is seeking to merge Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South based on a claim that Hinsdale Central is overcrowded and Hinsdale South is under crowded. FSF has opposed any funding for repairs/improvements to Hinsdale Central by arguing that these funds are being used to address overcrowding issues at Hinsdale Central by building additional classrooms. FSF further claims that there should be no funding for any repairs/improvements at Hinsdale Central because overcrowding can be solved by merging the two schools and utilizing unused space at Hinsdale South. Citing Paragraph 3.1, Section 5 of the Board Policy Manual, FSF argues that the D86 board has an obligation to “balance enrollment.”
First, current enrollment at Hinsdale Central does not exceed building capacity, but does exceed the goal of a school population operating at 80% efficiency by 297 students.
Second, Paragraph 3.1, Section 5 of the Board Policy Manual DOES NOT require the Board to “balance enrollment.” That section provides that the Board shall “enhance the facilities to meet the changing educational needs of students” by “optimally utiliz[ing] facilities at each school to reflect changing enrollment in the district. This section also directs the Board to “[d]evelop a long-range facility plan to address modifications, additions or new facilities as they may be needed.” This policy addresses facility modification and enhancement at individual facilities — not balancing enrollment across the district’s facilities by combining schools. Indeed, this section provides the Board with the direction to fund the necessary enhancements at Hinsdale Central to address changes in educational needs since the facility was originally constructed AND/OR to reflect the changes in enrollment in the community.
Third, creating grade level centers will not eliminate the overcrowding as argued by FSF. A merger would cause Hinsdale South to become overcrowded and Hinsdale Central to become under crowded.
Fourth, merging the two schools will be a logistical nightmare and erode the sense of community already established in the communities housing the two schools. Bussing kids from Oak Brook, Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale and Burr Ridge to Hinsdale South, and vice versa, will increase transportation costs and transportation time for kids who ordinarily walk to school or have a short commute. In addition, combining the schools will make sports and activities more competitive and less available to our students. Curriculum management will also be extremely difficult as not all courses are grade based. Merging the schools to address a perceived overcrowding of less than 300 students at Hinsdale Central by disrupting the lives of 4300 students and their families would be a colossal mistake. Merger will only serve to make things more competitive and stressful for our children in their formative years.
Fifth, many of us made major life decisions and financial investments to move to Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Oak Brook and/or Clarendon Hills. We chose these communities because we CHOSE for our children to go to Hinsdale Central. Moreover, we are fully invested in our Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Oak Brook and Burr Ridge communities financially, academically, athletically and spiritually and want to maintain that same sense of community.
WHAT WE ARE ASKING THE BOARD TO DO:
1. Please do NOT fold to a small, fringe group of residents who don’t even have children in the district who are loudly demanding to "Fill South First." The fact of the matter is that Central and South families and students love their schools and would hate to see school pride, culture, and history erased by combining the schools. These are two great schools and they can thrive and succeed by remaining independent in their own communities. REJECT ANY MOVEMENT TO MERGE CENTRAL AND SOUTH OR COMBINE THEM INTO GRADE LEVEL CENTERS.
2. Please consider our kids’ future, our community and our homes values. Such potential decisions by the board will be detrimental to Burr Ridge, Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills families and kids for generations to come. END ANY FURTHER DISCUSSION OF MERGING CENTRAL AND SOUTH OR CREATING GRADE LEVEL CENTERS.
3. Follow the board directive in the Board Policy Manual to create a REASONABLE FINANCIAL PLAN to improve and enhance the Hinsdale Central facility and Hinsdale South facility in light of 21st century educational needs and changing enrollment.
Today: Christie Helm is counting on you
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