District builds new elementary school

Dayanara Miranda, Opinion Editor

  District 202 has announced a new elementary school located by Ira Jones Middle school, on 126th and Wallin Drive, as well as a new learning center.
The decision was made due to Plainfield’s population growth and to allow for all-day kindergarten according to Dr. Lane Abrell, superintendent.
“I applaud everyone on the Board for their commitment  to doing what’s best for kids and at the same time, protecting our community’s resources,” Board of Education President Greg Nichols said in a press release.
District 202 will now have 31 schools, 18 being elementary.
Those who live in the Wallin Woods subdivision, and as well as Whispering Oaks will go to the new school, but exact attendance boundaries will not made until the school is ready to start next fall.
The school will have similar features to the other elementary schools, but with a few distinctions such as 2 full stories with 18 classes on each, and a consideration of adding a solar panel to heat and cool the building more economically, according to Abrell.
The school will be required to include a storm shelter, according to a settlement by Mina Griffith, assistant superintendent, in the press release.
The school will hire teachers who already work for district 202 but will branch out to new staff as the school year goes on.
The school will operate  primarily through a funding system but there can be a possibility of an individual tax increase depending on individual property values according to Tom Hernandez, director of community relations.
“The new school will cost about $25 million. However, District 202 will use a special “leasing” option and pay the lender $2.5 million a year for 10 years from existing and anticipated funding. Personnel and operational costs will add about $2 million a year. After 10 years, District 202 will take ownership of the property,” Hernandez said.
While full day kindergarten isn’t required in Illinois, parents have been requesting it according to Abrell.
“The thinking about kindergarten has changed. There is a strong emphasis and recognition now of the value of early childhood education. Full-day kindergarten is part of that,” Griffith said.
The new learning center,
Ina Brixey, is also being built due to the growth in population of children who need early childhood development classes according to Griffith. The new learning center will give the elementary schools extra space to allow for full day kindergarten.