Urbana board OKs plans for Leal crowding

Urbana board OKs plans for Leal crowding

URBANA — The Urbana school board Tuesday took action to reduce overcrowding at Leal Elementary, with both a short-term and long-term plan.

The school district will cap Leal's enrollment to the class sizes defined by the district's contract with its teachers. Students who go to Leal now or kindergarteners who have pre-registered will be able to attend Leal next year.

Once those limits are met, students will be assigned to other schools using a special petitioning process.

If that happens during the district's centralized registration this summer, students who don't have siblings at Leal or weren't enrolled there second semester of this school year will be placed into a drawing to decide who will be required to petition to attend another school.

Centralized registration is scheduled for July 30-Aug. 1 at Urbana Middle School.

If enrollments hit the class-size cap after the district's registration, any students who'd otherwise enroll at Leal will be required to petition to attend a different school.

If a family has several students, but only one child is in a grade in which Leal has met its class size limits, the family can choose to send all siblings to a different school, as long as there's space. Or, the family can choose to just send the one child to another school.

Students who live in the area between Cunningham Avenue, Interstate 74 and Perkins Road will now attend Prairie Elementary. However, the students who live in that area who attend Leal now will be able to continue through fifth grade.

Nineteen Spanish-speakers who live in that area currently attend Prairie. However, if they were to opt out of bilingual or English as a second language, they go to their home school.

Before the board took action Tuesday, that home school was Leal. Now, it's Prairie.

"It just allows for more 'admin' control over that triangle," said Don Owen, school district's assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

The board also agreed, long-term, to look at redistricting Leal, with the help of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, and will look at enrollment projections for the areas around Leal. The committee will make a recommendation to the board by this December, but all students who currently attend Leal will be allowed to finish there.

The school board also voted 5-0, with member Ruth Ann Fisher abstaining, to approve a contract with Dimond Bros. Insurance, for new scoreboards in the high school gym.

The insurance company will buy the scoreboards, which will cost about $40,000.

The agreement says Dimond Bros. will advertise and sell advertising on the scoreboards for seven years.

Fisher said she didn't agree with a portion of the contract, which had to do with Dimond Bros.'s exclusive advertising with the district. However, she still wants the high school to have the scoreboards, so she abstained.

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