Biggest-ever kindergarten enrollment projected in Champaign
CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school district mailed its kindergarten assignments Tuesday and is expecting record enrollment of kindergartners next fall.
More than 89 percent of kindergarten students received their first choice assignment, according to a press release from the school district, which is the highest percentage in the last four years.
The school district expects more than 800 kindergarten students — who will make up the high school class of 2025 — to enroll next year and has added three kindergarten classes to accommodate the students.
By Sept. 1, 2011, 803 kindergarten students were enrolled, said school district spokeswoman Lynn Peisker. If more than that enroll this fall, it will be considered record enrollment.
The new, so-called "bubble" kindergarten classes will be at South Side Elementary and Bottenfield Elementary, as well as a bilingual classroom at Robeson Elementary. The latter will be the start of a bilingual program there.
A bubble class means there will be an extra classroom at the grade level containing next year's kindergartners until those students reach middle school.
For example, South Side has two classrooms for every grade, but will have three kindergarten classrooms next year.
The school district will move a portable classroom unit to South Side in June but hasn't decided yet which classes will use it. The portable will come from Westview Elementary, which will be remodeled next year.
The extra classes will use existing spaces at Bottenfield and Robeson.
The reason for the extra bubble classes is to avoid topping the school district's classroom capacity, which is 23 students for the 2012-13 school year.
The three most popular kindergarten choices were at Bottenfield, Carrie Busey and Barkstall elementaries, in that order, Peisker said.
More than 95 percent of students have been assigned a kindergarten, but 35 students remain unassigned. That means the student has a seat in the school district but not at one of the parents' top five school selections, Peisker said.
"No matter how few families are unassigned at the conclusion of the assignment process, we take their circumstances very seriously," Peisker said. "Yesterday, we made the phone calls to every family who is unassigned at this point in the process."
Parents of unassigned students may choose to join a wait list for their selected school.