A big shift is happening for parents and students in Dunlap Unit School District 323. The area is growing so fast, a new grade school is being built. That means potentially hundreds of students will switch grade schools and middle schools after this school year.
Soon to be 7th graders Hazel and Jaspreet Sandhu have been busy emailing and texting their friends since they found out Thursday night they will have to switch from Dunlap Valley Middle School to Dunlap Middle School for their 8th grade year.
Jaspreet Sandhu said, "I feel pretty bad because all my friends I have been texting them and they all say they are going to Dunlap and Dunlap Valley is a really good school."
Hazel Sandhu said, "I think it's bad that we have to have the school change because most of my friends are going to go to Valley and I have to go to Dunlap Middle."
Their little sister Amrit has a different take on the change. She'll go from Dunlap Grade School to Wilder Waite.
First Grader Amrit Sandhu said, "I think it's going to be really good because all my friends are going to be there and it will be really fun."
The Sandhu's aren't alone. Some kids from all four current grade schools: Banner, Ridgeview, Dunlap Grade, and Wilder Waite will get transferred-many will head to the new grade school.
Assistant Superintendent Lisa Parker said, "We're very excited. It will be a fantastic new school when it opens and we are excited and really looking forward to it."
A year from now, this dirt mound will be part of the new Hickory Grove Grade School, where a little less than 500 students will attend, with room for about 600. If Dunlap continues to grow, they will build an addition that allows for around 900 students.
Lisa Parker said, "If our projected enrollments are correct, they should be okay for the next 10 years."
The redistricting will mean smaller class sizes and each neighborhood will have a designated grade school. Right now, kids who live across the street from each other could attend different schools.
For the Sandhu's and others like them, it's a big transition, but the district says it's a necessary change that will benefit families for years to come.
Dunlap Redistricting for the 2012-2013 school year will also allow each school to have the space needed for full-day instead of half-day kindergarten. The school board is looking into whether that will happen, but has not made a decision.