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Education

More than 100 people attend Elmhurst District 205 board meeting

About 110 community members attend the Nov. 14 Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board of Education meeting.
About 110 community members attend the Nov. 14 Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board of Education meeting.

ELMHURST – About 110 people attended the Nov. 14 Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board of Education meeting to take a stance on issues impacting the district.

The board meeting, which began at 7:30 p.m., ended after midnight. Public comment began about 10 p.m., and more than 10 people spoke, mostly about two issues: proposed school-day scheduling for band, orchestra and choir that would move it into the school day at the middle-school level and a physical education waiver for student athletes from seventh grade through senior year of high school, following the passage of the statewide education funding bill, Illinois Senate Bill 1947, into law in August.

"The middle-school philosophy of developing well-rounded children is fostered through multiple learning opportunities and educational experiences," said Sarah Galarza, a parent of three district students, who spoke against moving band, orchestra and choir into the school day, as it would eliminate the opportunity to take other courses for some students.

Lauren DeAngelis, physical education, health and driver education department chairwoman at York Community High School, spoke during public comment about the physical education waiver.

"We need to slow down, reflect before moving forward on altering district policy that changes district schedules and programs," DeAngelis said. "I feel the district is rushing into the P.E. changes with a lot of unknown answers."

School board Vice President Margaret Harrell recommended pulling the physical education waiver from consent for first reading, in part because the district's middle-school level does not have a process in place to deal with waivers, she said.

"One of the things that we talk about in all of our programs – we have community input, we have benchmarks. At this point in time for the P.E. waiver, we have neither," Harrell said. "I find it very difficult for us to talk about moving it forward in the time frame of a January start without that information."

After a motion from Kara Caforio, seconded by John McDonough, the school board pulled the physical education policy from the agenda and intends to revisit it at a more appropriate time.

"I just think that this will not be a productive discussion as much as it could be when we are fresh," McDonough said about 11:30 p.m. during the meeting.

More discussion of the recommendation for the middle schools will take place at the Dec. 12 board meeting, according to school district administration. The physical education policy may be discussed again by the full board Dec. 12, but that has not yet been officially determined, officials said.

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