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Oswego Area Parents Furious Over Possible School Changes

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OSWEGO, Ill. (CBS) — It could be a contentious school board meeting Monday in Oswego Community School District 308.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, some parents are up in arms over a plan to relieve school overcrowding.

The board will consider several options to address overcrowding. One plan would send students completing elementary school at Wolf’s Crossing in Aurora Township to a new middle school seven miles away in Plainfield, instead of Bednarcik, the middle school right next door.

Parent Denise Uthe opposes that plan.

“Literally we can see these schools from our backyard and they are connected,” Uthe said. “Children from both schools – the middle school students come to help out the elementary students for fun fair and character building programs, and the elementary students go over there.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Fellow parent Steve Katzen said, “it makes absolutely no sense.”

John Knauss said, “from a common sense perspective, most people think it’s kind of a ridiculous option.”

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, families of students at Wolf’s Crossing are organizing to oppose the possibility of having their kids go to the new school in Plainfield, rather than Bednarcik.

Maureen Mills said, “We do have a website, we’ve signed petitions, we’ve gone to all the meetings.”

Bednarcik Junior High, which accepts students from three elementary schools, now suffers from overcrowding.

For years, students from Wolf’s crossing have simply moved on to Bednarcik, which is a stone’s throw away.

“There is a symbiotic relationship between these two schools right now,” Katzen said.

But, because of the housing crisis, brand new Murphy Junior High in Plainfield has sat mostly empty since 2008. The district is now deciding which neighborhoods to send there next year and proximity is not the only consideration.

“They’re looking at the number of students, what’s going to relieve the overcrowding, what are the areas of the school district that will continue to grow,” said District 308 communications director Kristine Liptrot.

It creates a situation where Wolf’s Crossing is actually the closest of the three feeder schools to the Murphy. Because of bus routes, all three schools would average roughly 25 minute travel times to either junior high.

The boundary committee’s Crystal Alperin said, “In our district, we’re very fortunate that, even with this horrible economy, we do have a building that we’ve already built.”

Alperin in a parent representative of the district’s boundary committee that recommended a different elementary be bused to Murphy, but their suggestion is non-binding and Wolf’s Crossing parents are concerned.

Parent Maureen Mills said she’s “hoping and praying it goes in our favor.”

Liptrot emphasizes that nothing has been decided so far, and she says the anger among parents is premature.

“Boundary changes are always something that is emotional,” Liptrot said.

Complicating matters is the sudden resignation of school district Supt. Dan O’Donnell last week.

Liptrot says O’Donnell’s resignation had nothing to do directly with the boundary controversy.

District 308 serves elementary through high school students in Oswego, Aurora, Montgomery, Plainfield, Joliet and Yorkville. The school board will consider the matter Monday night at Oswego East High School at 7 p.m. Parents will be in attendance to voice their concerns.

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