WOODSTOCK – The closing of Dean Elementary School is one option that will be presented to the new school board in May.
A committee with Woodstock School District 200 has been studying options regarding potential school consolidations in an effort to cut costs and better utilize its existing facilities.
Woodstock District 200 Superintendent Michael Moan presented final options that the Facilities Review Committee recommended to be brought to the school board. New school board members will be seated at the first board meeting in May, and the Facilities Review Committee likely will present the options at a following meeting.
Eighty percent of present committee members voted ‘yes’ to close Dean Elementary School, which has an enrollment of about 330 students, and to create mono language and dual language schools.
“Our main concern is just that they will be able to stay in the 90/10 program,” said a parent to two Dean Elementary students. “And that they will be able to stay together and not get split up.”
Moan said that a public engagement period likely will be in the fall.
Committee members also recommended the school board end an annex lease, sell the district office and lease open space at the high school to colleges such as McHenry County College. This concerned some parents, who questioned safety on campus.
“This is a very general idea,” Moan said. “But security, of course, will be our No. 1 priority.”
District parent Bridget Belcastro said the proposals seemed well-thought-out. The closing of the elementary school wouldn’t directly affect her Creekside Middle School student, but she did want to see District 200 continue to offer strong dual-language programming opportunities.
“I did have a concern about segregation by creating dual-language elementary schools and not exposing monolingual students to the Hispanic students on a significant level,” she said. “That’s a concern because that is one of the things I value about this community.”