The issue of the "kindergarten enrollment bubble" at Mill Creek and Williamsburg schools has been the talk of the town lately, at least among those with elementary age children. Talk of busing kindergarteners away from their home school has ignited a parent firestorm. Now, Geneva residents can add another group to the expanding enrollment bubble—Fabyan Elementary first graders.
Parents with a first grader entering Fabyan for the 2012-13 school year received a letter today from District 304. The letter detailed how the district was "closely monitoring" first-grade enrollment numbers at Fabyan. According to the letter, current enrollment numbers for first-grade class sections stand at 26. Readers may recall that similar kindergarten numbers at Mill Creek were the source of much debate at meetings and here on the Patch. The letter goes on to detail possible solutions to this problem—bus some first graders from Fabyan to Mill Creek or Western for 2012-13, add an instructional aide to the first-grade sections at Fabyan, reassign students from Fabyan to Mill Creek or Western based on location or date of registration, or lastly, add an additional class section at Fabyan.
The letter also asks if parents will contact the School Board if they are willing to volunteer their child to be bussed to Mill Creek or Western before Friday, July 6.
There has been a great deal of debate in recent months regarding Geneva 304's debt load, enrollment projections used to drum up support of the bond issue—some calling it "Enrollmentgate"—and the necessity of building Fabyan in the first place. In the current economy, many residents are frustrated that property taxes have gone up, while property values have gone down, and have pointed fingers at the School Board as a spendthrift organization. Many opponents have used the argument, among others, that Fabyan enrollment is not what was anticipated and that the school was not at capacity. The plan, then, to send overcrowded kindergarteners by bus from Mill Creek and Williamsburg to Fabyan or Western, while turning around and sending overcrowded first graders back the other way, strikes many as a prime example of irony and ineptitude.
According to the letter received, the board will discuss this issue at 7 p.m. July 23 meeting at the Coultrap building.