The last few weeks have been a roller coaster for Medita Vucic’s family. Her five-year-old is all ready to go to kindergarten, but where he would attend class has been up in the air.
Vucic’s neighborhood school is North Barrington Elementary School, but she received a letter four weeks ago telling her that her son wouldn’t be able to go to the school. A kindergarten section was cancelled but the rest of the sections were overcrowded. So, he had to be sent to a different school.
In February, Vucic attended the district’s Kindergarten Roundup where she learned her son would attend North. She was never told there was a possibility he could be sent to another school if there was overcrowding at North.
“This process was not handled as effectively as it could be,” Vucic said. Notifying parents four weeks before school of the change in schools “is inexcusable,” she said.
Recently, four students dropped out of a kindergarten section at North, opening a space for her son. Vucic, however, is concerned because his class will be at the district’s optimal enrollment of 23 students.
“Students are going to be impacted,” Vucic said.
Vucic wants the Board of Education to be more transparent about enrollment figures and communicate with parents better, she said during a Barrington Community Unit School District 220 school board meeting this week. She also wants the district to address the overcrowding at North Barrington Elementary School.
Barrington Community Unit School District 220 monitors enrollment figures in order to keep class sizes at or below its own optimal guidelines, Dr. Tom Leonard, Barrington 220 superintendent of schools.
The district is monitoring North Barrington, Arnett C. Lines Elementary School and Grove Avenue Elementary School, he said.
“For the most part, we are at or within guidelines,” he said. There are a few places where the district is over, he said. Barrington 220 has a longstanding policy that states if kindergarten enrollment is high in a neighborhood school, children can be sent to a different school, he said. The policy gives the district some control, he added.
Enrollment figures can change by the hour, especially during the start of the school year, Leonard said. “This is a free flowing thing, it is going up and going down,” he said.
Final figures won’t be available until 30 days after the start of school. “We could be adjusting staffing all through those 30 days,” Board of Education President Brian Battle said.
“We will continue to monitor it right to the end,” Leonard said. “There are still some tweaks we will do.”
Kindergarten enrollment is especially hard to predict. Barrington 220 tried to do a survey of parents and local preschools a few years ago to try to predict kindergarten enrollment but had a very bad response, Battle said.
There are no previous years enrollment figures to look at, he said. Unfortunately, there is a lot of uncertainty every year, Battle said.