Hopefuls Discuss Neuqua, Waubonsie Dist. 204 Candidates Look at Quality, Perceptions

By Hooker, Sara | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 6, 2007 | Go to article overview

Hopefuls Discuss Neuqua, Waubonsie Dist. 204 Candidates Look at Quality, Perceptions


Hooker, Sara, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Sara Hooker Daily Herald Staff Writer

Indian Prairie school board candidates acknowledge the district's two high schools aren't equal in the eyes of many, but they have different ideas of how to solve the problem.

Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora opened in 1975 and remained the only high school in Unit District 204 - which includes portions of Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield - until Neuqua Valley opened in Naperville in 1997.

Officials believe the difference in ages of the two schools, coupled with different demographics, created a perception Waubonsie Valley is inferior to its sister school.

In recent years, the board formally recognized the dilemma and created a goal specific to improving the image problem.

But candidates agree the issue lingers despite more than $1 million in renovations to Waubonsie and a marketing push that included informational fliers and meetings with Realtors.

Incumbents Curt Bradshaw, Mark Metzger and Alka Tyle and challengers Steven Calcaterra, Michelle Davis, Kevin Knight and Leanne Lyons are competing for three, 4-year terms in the April 17 election.

The student population looks different at Waubonsie and that drives some of the perceptions, said Davis, a Realtor and mother of three from Naperville. But she said she's more interested in dealing with more tangible issues such as achievement differences.

"Those types of discrepancies in terms of student achievement are what we need to be addressing first and foremost," Davis said.

It's not necessarily fair to base a school's worth off one set of test scores, said Knight, an at-home dad from Naperville.

"The easiest way to eliminate that perception is to get rid of any of those types of disparities," said Knight, a father of three. "I have a problem with a board that would go on a media campaign to market a particular school over another but at the same time they need to make sure they challenge any types of sentiment that come up there."

Waubonsie's virtues need to be made more public, said Calcaterra, a lawyer from Naperville.

"Because of this mistake in perception that there's something wrong at Waubonsie, they need to make sure to acknowledge the good that happens at Waubonsie and that does occur very frequently," said Calcaterra, a father of three. …

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