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District 200 to Survey Residents in Plans for New Jefferson

After four community forums, 35 of 45 survey responders agreed the district is in need of a new Jefferson building. The district will send surveys in a quarterly report, seeking responses before Oct. 15.

District 200 residents will have another opportunity to weigh in on the district’s plans to rebuild Jefferson Early Childhood Center when they get their end-of-year report in the mail at the end of the month.

Seeking community feedback in plans to rebuild the outdated facility at 130 Hazelton Ave. in Wheaton, District 200 board members and staff hosted four at the school, where residents could learn what updates are needed at Jefferson and about proposed options for a new facility.

At a District 200 board meeting Wednesday night, community relations director Erica Loiacono told board members 62 residents attended the four forums, and 45 responded to an exit survey to provide feedback. Thirty-five of the 45 responders answered, “Yes,” to: “Do you think we need a new Jefferson?”

Loiacono said district staff hoped to impart a few things on the community at the forums: That early childhood education is important, and that the current facility does not meet students' needs.

She said community feedback included concern that the new building would be too large, and would eliminate green space on the property.

"It's going to be an issue," that people will want to see addressed, she said.

Wheaton resident Jeff Holaway said the plans would create a "concrete jungle" on the property .

Board member Jim Vroman said it was important to get feedback from neighbors. "It's critical, what they have to say," he said.

District 200 Superintendent Dr. Brian Harris said the feedback the district received would help with the questionnaire. He said staff and ECRA, Inc., the district's consultant conducting the surveys, are finalizing the survey questions.

"It'll be important to see if we get similar and concrete responses as we move forward," Harris said.

He added staff would begin to discuss with architects some tweaks to the building design, with consideration of feedback from the forums and where the playground would be.

The end-of-year reports, with the surveys at the end, will be mailed to residents starting Sept. 24. Residents will have until Oct. 14 complete an online survey or mail the hard copy to ECRA. ECRA will analyze the survey data and report to the board at the November board meeting, Loiacono said.

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BIll I September 14, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Let's hope the plans include using some taxpayer monies to build an arch at the entrance similar to the one District 200 built at Franklin Middle School.
JanS September 14, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Anyone else notice that next door, Glen Ellyn is able to upgrade existing facilities while here in Wheaton they always insist in tearing down and replacing? Taxpayers do not have endless cash. And new-and-improved is not always better. Jefferson is small, it has window A/C units and the classroom bathrooms are not accessible to children in wheel chairs. They also complained about not having enough storage space and places for small group or one-on-one instruction. OK, it needs some changes. The teachers are doing good work for the children with what they now have - it is adequate not ideal. But, in life there are always trade offs. I know a lot of families that would like more storage, larger rooms...
Charlotte Eriksen (Editor) September 14, 2012 at 04:20 PM
A comment was deleted because it violated the terms of use.
Chris Smith September 14, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I think the School Board is not ware of how weary the taxpayers are at this time. The need is not that great that this is a "have to" proposition. I think they are in for a storm.....
CH September 14, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I agree with Chris Smith. I also think that the Board will push this through with or without tax payer support. They have been planning this for years and were just waiting until Hubble was sold before springing this on the public.
JanS September 14, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Speaking of Hubble selling, It sold for $5 million and the developer will immediately sell a large portion of it to the park district for $3 million. As far as I am concerned it is all our tax money.
Bruno Behrend September 20, 2012 at 05:20 PM
School districts are famous for tearing down perfectly serviceable buildings, sticking taxpayers with greedy bond and builder deals, and building Taj Mahal buildings that no one needs. They lie about student populations, engage in lending practices that amount to legalized loan-sharking and money laundering, and sell the whole thing to unsuspecting soccer moms at pre-engineered "forums" design by consultants to arrive a predetermined result. Too few of you reading this will permit yourselves to understand just how corrupt school districts are. If you did, your values would force you to gut, and transform this corrupt system. You can hide from the truth, but the truth will reassert itself in your obscene property tax bills, your declining economy, and your children forced out of Illinois to find work.
Bruno Behrend September 20, 2012 at 06:51 PM
CH, Good point, but doesn't this prove that "local control" is crock of poo? I can tell you stories from across Illinois of districts ignoring voters and taxpayers, and using the school code to simply do what they want. Citizens need to start questioning the entire necessity of the "district" entity, and start pushing for more options for their children. Districts are merely financial playgrounds for bond dealers, bureaucrats, and unionists. Your children and their education is an afterthought.
JanS September 20, 2012 at 06:57 PM
This will be top priority after the Nov elections (plate full now) Together we can make a difference.

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