School district considers changes to choice process
CHAMPAIGN — The school board in November will consider a policy that will simplify proximity — the distance from a child's home to an elementary school — one factor the Unit 4 school district considers in the kindergarten assignment process.
Currently, students are considered to have "Proximity A" if they live within a mile and a half of a particular school. If they do not live within a mile and a half of a school, they're considered to have "Proximity B" to the closest school.
If the school board approves the new policy, students would just be considered to have proximity to their first-choice school if they live within a mile and a half of it, or to the school they live nearest to if they don't live within a mile and a half of any school.
Other than proximity, other factors used in assigning pupils to schools include their family's socioeconomic status and whether they have siblings who already attend a certain elementary school.
Another proposed change is to allow parents to rank all 11 elementary schools, rather than five, as the current policy allows.
Susan Zola, the school district's assistant superintendent for achievement, curriculum and instruction, said possible changes to the schools-of-choice policy are in an effort to simplify the process, which can be stressful for parents.
The proposed policy would also lengthen the kindergarten registration period so it runs from January through March, rather than just March.
The policy would also apply the same considerations for school assignment (including proximity to a school and socioeconomic status) to the wait list that students are added to when they aren't assigned to their first-choice school. Students would remain on a wait list through the first semester.
Zola said the school district has had several different time limits on wait lists in the past.