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Decatur school board to vote on new boundaries, BOLD facilities plan measures

Decatur school board to vote on new boundaries, BOLD facilities plan measures


DECATUR — School board members on Tuesday are expected to vote on Decatur school boundary changes that have been in the works for almost a year. 

map on the district's website shows the proposed boundaries the board will be considering when it meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Keil Building. The proposal, created with the help of 20 community members and district officials, was presented to the board at its December meeting. 

One of the goals behind reworking the boundaries is to address inequities that exist in the current boundary system, which could prevent some students from attending schools in their neighborhoods. District documents say the measure to reconsider the boundaries was required under its BOLD facilities plan to consolidate 22 schools into 17. 

The district also held meetings with parents and staff throughout the development process. 

At the December meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Fred Bouchard said the school boundaries haven't been evaluated in over 20 years.

According the district's website, there have been nearly 20 meetings at various Decatur School District campuses since August. While officials have shared details about Tuesday's meeting on its social media accounts, no letters were sent to parents/guardians, Chief Communications Officer Denise Swarthout said. 

District documents show that the new boundary system, if approved by the board, would have a phased-in implementation. Students who live in the new boundaries for Dennis or South Shores, but who do not currently attend those schools, would have the option to move in August or stay in their buildings for another year. 

The plan also includes the closure of Durfee Technology Magnet School, taking effect in the coming school year. Those students would be assigned back to new boundary schools, or families could apply to a different magnet program, the district said. 

The boundary committee's recommendation also includes turning Hope Academy from a magnet school into a boundary school. Dennis School students would be spread over two campuses, addressing issues of capacity at the popular facility on the city's west side. 

New boundaries will apply to all new students, including kindergartners, in August.

Next year, in August 2021, all students will be assigned to their new boundary schools, the district said. Students and families can go through an appeals process to stay at an existing school that is outside the new boundaries. 

The website also includes the following disclaimer about the boundary map: "If your student(s) currently attends a school outside of District #61, you are not impacted by these inside district boundary changes."

The district pledged, in documents to provided for the board, to communicate frequently with parents, families and the community before and during the boundary transitions. That communication will include conversations, an updated website, online form to submit questions, frequently asked questions document, videos, a fact sheet, a letter to parents and a podcast.  

Those with questions can send an email to

In other business Tuesday, the board also will consider allowing Because Life Deserves Design and O'Shea Builders Inc. to seek bids for the addition of two classrooms at South Shores School as part of the BOLD facilities plan. 

The board also will consider roof repairs to Baum and Oak Grove schools. Top Quality Roofing of Mount Zion submitted a bid for $87,300 to make the Baum repairs. The money for the repairs would come from the district's Health, Life and Safety fund.

WTI (Tremco)  submitted a bid of  $15,481 to repair leaks in the roof at Oak Grove. The money to repair to the roof, which was replaced in 1994, would come from the district's Operations and Management fund.

PHOTOS: Decatur Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame

Contact Analisa Trofimuk at (217) 421-7985. Follow her on Twitter: @AnalisaTro


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