D15 School Board Candidate Mike Smolka Talks School Boundary Challenges, Solutions

D15 School Board Race: Candidate Barb Kain Explores Opportunities to Close Achievement Gaps
March 31, 2017
Show all

D15 School Board Candidate Mike Smolka Talks School Boundary Challenges, Solutions

Mike Smolka is running with Engage D15 Team candidates Frank Annerino, Anthony Wang, Lisa Szczupaj and Barb Kain. Please vote April 4th!

One of the talked-about issues during this school board race and the failed $130 referendum, has been our school boundary lines in District 15. The existing boundaries are a hodge-podge that developed as new subdivisions went up, and space was needed for new families that moved into Palatine. So many of them don’t make sense from a logical standpoint at this point in time.

All you have to do it look at the D15 Boundary map to see how convoluted so many of them are. We have students residing in the far west end of the District that attend three different junior high schools. If you stood at the front door of the Jewel on Palatine Road in North Hoffman Estates and looked a half mile in any direction, chances are 100% that the students you would see will have attended these three different junior high schools. And this doesn’t make mention of the elementary schools. Students who reside a half-mile from one school are attending a school three miles away – so students are passing one elementary school to attend another. I ask why has this been going on for so long, and it has not been addressed?

The time for readjustment of our school boundaries is here. Our boundaries have not been re-aligned more than 20 years. It will be impossible to make everyone happy with all changes, but what we can do is work with our community, provide our options, work through the issues that come up through community involvement, and be transparent through the entire process. I applaud the creativity of one of the school board candidates who developed a boundary redraw on his own, but it was done with no input from the community – and that is something I strongly stand for if I am to be elected to represent the stakeholders in District 15. We can no longer allow our school district to make unilateral decisions without input from our stakeholders.

How will we accomplish a comprehensive plan? We must engage with our community to understand where true neighborhoods exist; we must do what we can to ensure that our neighborhood children stay together so that they can develop lasting relationships. We also must look at the demographics and population density of our different areas. Accommodating students and keeping teacher-student ratios at an acceptable level is also of the utmost importance, and we must take into account the population density of each area in relation to possible boundary alignment. D15 is culturally diverse and a goal would be to assimilate all cultures, so that all of our students feel welcomed and can become productive members of our community. We cannot segregate diverse neighborhoods together; we must consider inclusion to continue to build our community and to increase ratings for all of our schools.

By no means is this a “cut-and-dry”, or an “open-and-closed”, problem that can be easily solved with one solution. It will take a great deal of analyzing population data, neighborhood data, and of course, community involvement. Palatine is a booming Village; our school district has failed to account for these changes, and continues to fail by not addressing them.

New leadership must be elected to ensure that our community and school district moves forward.

When you head to the polls, I respectfully ask you to vote for the Engage D15 Team of Frank Annerino, Mike Smolka, Anthony Wang, Lisa Szczupaj, and Barb Kain to bring the change in leadership that District 15 needs.

Please visit articles from a few of my running mates, including Barb Kain and Anthony Wang.

Thank you,

Mike Smolka

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This