District 65 school board members have scheduled a special meeting next month to consider rearranging attendance boundaries to deal with overcrowding at Willard School.
Board member Mary Rita Luecke said concerns about students who have been bused to the northwest Evanston school for decades, since the closure of the predominantly black Foster School in the 5th Ward, need to be addressed.
“This is an area for which there’s been a historical hurt that hasn’t been resolved,” Luecke said.
Board member Katie Bailey said she’s also concerned about potential overcrowding at the Bessie Rhodes magnet school with its increasingly popular technology focus.
“We can’t look at it alone. It has to be tied,” Bailey said.
But member Bonnie Lockhart said, “I see it as a very separate issue. Fifth Ward students are being pulled out of their area” and taken to Willard.
Willard is the only neighborhood school in the district that has discontinous attendance area boundaries.
In addition to serving most of northwest Evanston, it also serves a one-tenth square mile area in a portion of Evanston’s west side, nearly a mile southeast of the rest of the school’s zone.
Board members disagreed about whether redistricting changes could be approved in time to take effect this fall, but agreed to schedule the discussion for Tuesday evening, Jan. 6.