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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published Sept. 20, 2018

Boundary line drawn along 63rd, 67th

By Pamela Lannom

The question of where students in the former buffer zone will attend high school in the future has been settled.
   The Hinsdale High School District 86 Board voted 6-0 Monday to draw a boundary line that assigns the Maercker Elementary District 60 portion of the buffer zone to Hinsdale South and splits the Gower Elementary District 62 portion between Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South. The board voted to eliminate the buffer zone, which had allowed students to choose to attend Central or South, in April.
   The new boundary line extends along 63th street from Cass on the west to Route 83, where the line then drops south to 67th Street. The line extends east on what would be 67th Street to Maidon Street. There the line drops south to Plainfield Road, where it continues east.
   “I think this is the best option to address the concerns both the community and the board have enumerated,” said Kevin Camden, who moved to adopt this line.
   The option selected was one of six included in the board packet. The board had asked to see maps that showed an equidistant line (even if it intersected properties), an equidistant line that did not intersect houses and one that followed streets. The other maps showed points where the line could be moved to send more students to South, which has available space, and fewer to Central, which is overcrowded.
   In 2017-18, 200 students in the buffer zone attended Central and 27 attended South. With the new boundary line, 82 would have attended Central and 145 would have attended South.
   The approved boundary line assigns 626 parcels that were part of the buffer zone to the Hinsdale Central attendance area and 2,244 to the Hinsdale South attendance area.
   “I think this honors proximity without dividing neighborhoods and brings both schools closer to ideal enrollment,” Camden said. “We understand and appreciate that is creating tremendous angst.”
   Board member Kathleen Hirsman agreed the option met the goal of moving closer to target enrollment at each school and using proximity as the primary criteria for establishing that.
   Please from residents that the board try to minimize disruptions to neighborhoods have been taken into account, she said.
   “That I think is an important consideration and that is what I believe we have most effectively done with this map,” she said. “We acknowledge that whatever map we chose, we were going to have people who were dissatisfied with that decision.”
   Board member Keith Chval agreed the map makes sense and said the vote was long overdue.
   “Our No. 1 priority is the education we provide to our students,” he said. “While I understand all the personal challenges people are faced with because of where the line is drawn, in terms of our responsibilities as school board members, I have no qualms about what this district provides to students at both schools.”
   Before the vote, the board listened to about 40 minutes of public comment from 18 residents, most of whom live in the former buffer zone. Many argued for a line that would not divide elementary school districts.
   Danielle Jamil, a Willowbrook resident who lives in District 60, noted that all the maps showed her district attending South.
   “This is really switching the school that has been going to Central since its inception,” she said. “I could never anticipate that change.”
   A number of the same speakers returned to the podium at the end of the meeting to criticize the board’s decision.
   One, G’nee Andrulis of Willowbrook, attempted to offer parents some reassurance.
   “As a parent and community member at Hinsdale South, I want to tell you that we love our school,” she said. “Please send them wanting to enjoy their experience. They will come and they will rock it and they will really have a wonderful high school experience. We really love this place and we think you will, too.”


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