Lancaster Subdivision Breaks Boundaries

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Lancaster Subdivision Breaks Boundaries

 Highlighted in purple, this map shows the estimated route of 14 minutes from the Lancaster subdivision to Libertyville High school.

Highlighted in purple, this map shows the estimated route of 14 minutes from the Lancaster subdivision to Libertyville High school.

MapQuest

Highlighted in purple, this map shows the estimated route of 14 minutes from the Lancaster subdivision to Libertyville High school.

MapQuest

MapQuest

Highlighted in purple, this map shows the estimated route of 14 minutes from the Lancaster subdivision to Libertyville High school.

Jasmine Turner, Staff Writer

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On September 30 of last year, the subdivision of Lancaster, which is located in the Southeastern part of Warren Township High School’s (WTHS) district, was granted their petition to annex themselves into Oak Grove and Libertyville High School’s districts.

The petition was originally filed on June 25, 2012, where it was signed by two thirds of the citizens of the subdivision. The subdivision of Lancaster currently has a Libertyville mailing address. However, it is formally considered part of the city of Waukegan. The subdivision has 80 single-family homes in which there are 25 children attending kindergarten through eighth grade and 15 attending WTHS.

Woodlands School District 50, where the kids of Lancaster currently attend, is comprised of four separate schools divided by primary, elementary, intermediate, and middle school, and has approximately 6,000 students. WTHS is comprised of two separate campuses divided by freshmen and sophomores in one building and juniors and seniors in another. WTHS has about 4,500 students in total. In contrast, Oak Grove is one school building housing kindergarten through eighth grade and has approximately 833 kids. Libertyville is also one school building, with approximately 2,000 students in attendance.

The petition was proposed when the parents of the students in the Lancaster subdivision felt that their children’s education needs were not being met by Woodlands and WTHS. The petitioners presented testimony from Timothy F. Brown , chair of the department of education at Argosy University’s Chicago campus, in which he opined that due to the “data of literature as being an indicative of school quality: student mathematics achievement scores, student cohort size and student engagement” that the students would receive a better education at Oak Grove and Libertyville.

The petition was met with harsh retaliation by all four school districts. Mary Perry-Bates, the interim superintendent for WTHS, suggested that a significant number of Brown’s opinions were unsupported or contradicted by the research he cited. Specifically, from the official case report of Merchant v. Regional Board of Trustees, she challenged his statement that mathematics achievement is influenced more by teacher instruction than is achievement in other subjects.

Dr. Prentiss Lea, superintendent of Libertyville’s district, Community High School District 128, testified that he disagreed with the petitioners’ assertion that the Lancaster children would receive a better education at LHS than they would at WHS; in his view “the education provided at WHS was similarly excellent.”

The petition was denied on Jan 3, 2013, meaning the Lancaster subdivision would remain in the Woodland and WTHS school districts. The residents of Lancaster later appealed to the Circuit Court, which then overturned the original decision declaring annexation from Woodland and WTHS to Oak Grove and District 128 to commence. However, all four districts opposed the appeal.

After the Circuit Court’s decision, all four school districts then appealed the decision to the Illinois Appellate Court System, where, after hearing the case, the Appellate Court affirmed the previous decision, meaning the Lancaster annexation would take place. The school districts finally appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, hoping to overturn the lower court’s ruling  on Jan. 2, 2015, when the Supreme Court decided it would not hear the case.

Thus, effective July 1, the school district boundaries will change for all students living in the Lancaster subdivision. The students will attend Oak Grove and Libertyville High School.

Highlighted in purple, this map shows the estimated route of 9 minutes from the Lancaster subdivision to Warren Township High School O’Plaine Campus.

Map Quest
Highlighted in purple, this map shows the estimated route of 9 minutes from the Lancaster subdivision to Warren Township High School O’Plaine Campus.

 Highlighted in purple, this map shows the estimated route of 14 minutes from the Lancaster subdivision to Libertyville High school.

MapQuest
Highlighted in purple, this map shows the estimated route of 14 minutes from the Lancaster subdivision to Libertyville High school.

There will be an estimated 40-70 extra students attending Oak Grove and Libertyville at the beginning of fall of 2015. According to the Chicago Tribune, registration will occur before the end of the current school year, from which there will be a more accurate number of new students.

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