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Local

D-427 schools experience, adjust to increased enrollment

SYCAMORE – School District 427 experienced an unexpected increase in enrollment, gaining 41 students across its seven schools.

Against the backdrop of Southeast Elementary School’s multi-colored climbing wall, District 427 Superintendent Kathy Countryman presented school board members gathered for the regular meeting with an update on the district’s climbing numbers.

“We’re starting to see some trends that are kind of exciting,” Countryman said of the results of fiscal 2019’s six-day numbers.

The elementary schools have fueled the growth, gaining 52 students this year. The middle school and high school, meanwhile, lost nine and two students respectively.

“We’ve seen some nice housing growth in Sycamore,” Countryman said. “As well as we’ve seen families move into communities.”

She suggested that families with young children could be replacing families with children who have moved out of the house, or people without children.

During her presentation, Countryman said that there are 187 new students in District 427. She also said that the district will be conducting a survey in the next month to ask the new students and their families what the factors were that brought them to the district and how the transition process had been.

Countryman also showed a side-by-side comparison with the number of students per building next to the building’s capacity. None of the schools are nearing capacity.

However, South Prairie – a small school by design – is 210 below its already limited capacity, prompting concern. Countryman said that the district is and will be keeping an eye on South Prairie to assist in its growth.

When asked about the possibility of redistricting to shuffle students from higher-capacity schools to lower-capacity schools, Countryman said, “we’d have to do a lot more research ... before we went down that road.”

This year, the district has opted to keep students attending their home schools unless they need access to programs that aren’t being offered there.

“We’re excited about increased enrollment,” Countryman said, but added that District 427 would be keeping an eye on building capacity moving forward.

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