Sunday, August 14, 2016 Progress at Millikin

As you know, we have been awaiting the delivery of the flooring for the southwest corner of Millikin School to be able to bring the building into readiness for occupancy.  The flooring was delivered yesterday and the offices and 3 of the 11 classrooms needing flooring were substantially completed.

We will urge parents at all five schools to make contingency preparations for childcare for both this Thursday and Friday.  We will update you with Monday’s progress, and hope to make a final decision about the start of school at all the buildings on Tuesday afternoon.

We appreciate your patience and hope you will agree when you see the progress over the next couple years, that the frustration of awaiting the work finishing was well worth it.IMG_8634 IMG_8635 IMG_8636 IMG_8637 IMG_8638 IMG_8639 IMG_8640 IMG_8641 IMG_8642 IMG_8643 IMG_8644

August 11 SchoolMessenger: IMPORTANT

This is Scott Kuffel, Superintendent of the District 228 schools.  We hope that you have had a wonderful summer.  It has been very busy here with the beginnings of much of the ProjectLEAF construction underway.

This message brings hope for a fantastic 2016-17 school year, but it also brings a warning of the potential that unforeseen construction issues could delay the start of our school year for student attendance by a couple of days.  This would be a delay that would be in place for ALL 5 schools.

Candidly, the flooring contractor for the Millikin school renovation dropped the ball and did not order the custom vinyl, low maintenance flooring we requested, and it is not scheduled to arrive and be installed when we expected.  If the flooring arrives on Saturday, which is one possibility, then it appears that installation can occur starting Sunday afternoon and we can put things back into place and open school on Thursday as planned.

If the flooring does not arrive on Saturday, then we may need to delay the start of student attendance until Monday, August 22nd.  Therefore, I ask your patience and cooperation and plan for a contingency for child care for next Thursday and Friday, August 18th and 19th, just in case.  Again, this would be a change for all five of our schools.

I apologize for this possible inconvenience, but there are many reasons that we would want to open all of our schools at the same time, and we are examining all possible scenarios.  Please be assured that we will work diligently to keep you as informed as we can with the most accurate information we discover– so be aware there will be more calls, Facebook posts, and web posts.  Thank you for your consideration and joining us in contingency planning. Please know that we make these types of decisions on what we believe is best for student safety, security and success.

No more PARCC testing for High School Students

An announcement made on July 11, 2016 by the Illinois State Board of Education ushers in a new era of testing for high school juniors.  No longer will the ACT be the entrance exam of choice offered by the State Board of Education, but instead all juniors will be provided an SAT test in April.  Because of federal requirements (I know, there are federal requirements also) high school students will still take a science exam.  This is good news though as it will reduce the spring testing burden for our high school students.

Impact on Federal Dollars due to Budget Impasse

More information related to the State Budget impasse. As the laws in IL currently seem to indicate, failure to pass a budget means that the State of Illinois cannot make necessary appropriations for federal revenues. This means that school districts will not receive their expected federal revenues.

For Geneseo District 228 this means the loss of more than $750,000 in IDEA Special Education reimbursements, Title I or Title II dollars for special programs, and no allocation for the National School Lunch program.

Another reason to contact local legislators and the Governor’s office to get back to work to bring this to a resolution.

Congratulations to Boys Track and Coach Fredericks

A special thank you and congratulations to Coach Don Fredericks this week. He will take zero credit for the Boys Track team’s success at the State Meet, but for  many years he has done so much for Geneseo Track and Cross Country. From making sure students have the right equipment, to advocating for more classes to enable more student-athletes to experience state finals, to mentoring a cadre of young coaches– he truly embodies the district mission to “Teach-Learn-Care”.

So, Coach Fredericks, savor that big hardware that came back from Charleston on Saturday. You never stopped believing. We are as proud and grateful for your work as we are the kids!

A Question of Integrity for the State Budgeting Process

Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. a group of area superintendents joined with the Regional Superintendent of Schools of Bureau, Henry and Stark Counties to share concerns about the lack of movement towards a state budget for education for Fiscal Year 2017.  Area legislators were invited, and it was appreciated that Rep. Donald Moffitt was able to attend and engage the crowd in some Q & A.

It is important to note that while Fiscal Year 2016 saw an educational budget approved by the Governor and General Assembly (albeit one that was pro-rated in many instances) there are concerns that the State will have an inadequate supply of dollars to assure all payments will be received this fiscal year.

Additionally, there are many signs of concern that the overall State budget stalemate that drags on in approving a full State 2016 budget, will bleed over into Fiscal Year 2017.  No state budget for K-12 education will lead us down a path similar to the fiscal tragedy our state community colleges, colleges and universities face now and that  you have read, viewed and heard in media outlets over the past several months.

This ROE Presentation March 24 2016 PDF summarizes a plea from area educators that politicians move away from the partisan politics that have plagued our State for many years now and adopt a reasonable FY 2017 budget for schools so that we can adequately prepare for changes that may be necessary.  Do it now. We believe that legislators were elected to serve student interests as well as those of private-sector business, those who need social and mental health services, support to attend colleges and universities, appropriations for our roads and other infrastructures— and were not elected to defer difficult decisions, assigning blame to others.

We simply ask that you look at budget options carefully, choose the one that makes the most sense, vote to adopt said budget, and allow constituents to have time to make necessary adjustments where appropriate.