District 90 board opts to keep grade school boundaries the same, shift pre-school classes

O’FALLON – Following months of discussion and consideration, the District 90 Board of Education voted on a plan related to grade school boundaries at their monthly meeting on Monday night.

The plan keeps the boundary lines for the five grade schools the same as previously, but will shift some pre-school rooms to other schools. Specifically, pre-school classes will be shifted out of Marie Schaefer to help alleviate the overcrowding at the school and allow for the anticipated student population growth that will come as a result of the new home construction going on near the school.

According to Superintendent Carrie Hruby, by shifting the pre-school out of Marie Schaefer it could potentially give them between three and five years before crowding becomes an issue for that school. She said that is acceptable since the board has committed to reviewing the boundaries every five years anyway.

This option was only placed on the table for consideration as early as last Friday. Previously the board had discussed redrawing the boundaries and making four of the grade schools house kindergarten through fourth grade students and making Marie Schaefer a fifth grade center. This plan was met with opposition from the start from many parents who wanted to keep their children in the schools they are already enrolled in.

From there the board began to consider a plan that would shift all of the pre-school classes to Evans grade school and leave the other schools K-5. Again, this plan was not met with enthusiasm by parents.

A third plan was thrown around that would keep the grade level configurations at each school the same, just redraw the boundary lines.

The plan passed the board by a vote of five to two, with board members Mary Baskett and Todd Roach voting against it. Baskett was a big proponent of turning Marie Schaefer into a fifth grade center, while Roach wanted to keep the grade configurations the same and just redraw the lines.

Baskett said her problem with the plan is that she didn’t want to take a whole school and give it to the pre-schoolers and feels like the option creating a fifth grade center gives the district the longest period before boundary consideration would have to come up again.

Board Member Matt Lloyd said that no matter what option is picked, the board has to revisit this issue in three to five years.

“Wait a year to come up with a better solution and if was a good solution, it still will be in a year,” Lloyd said. “I’m concerned [the fifth grade center] and [the pre-school at Evans] are very aggressive things for our district and for our community and I’m not sure there’s full support.”

Board Member Steve Springer was not physically at the meeting, however  he did call in and vote on issues, including boundary plan.

The changes will be implemented at the beginning of the next school year.