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.

5Essentials Survey

As a product of legislation a few years ago related to teacher and principal evaluation, the Illinois State Board of Education has partnered with the University of Chicago to develop a school climate survey called 5Essentials.  Parents, teachers and students grades 6-12 are invited to participate in this voluntary survey.

Districts are required to offer this survey at least every other year.  Results of the survey are available on the school and district report cards.

The survey opens on January 11, 2016 and will close approximately 1 month later.

Holiday Wishes

Just a few thoughts from the superintendent before we head to Christmas Break:

1.  The State of Illinois could resolve the conflict in Springfield and finalize a fiscal year budget.

2.  #1 could be accomplished so that we do not need to discuss more pro-ration of General State Aid for this year (we are probably already at least at 92% funding).

3.  The State Board of Education would reconsider the proposed change from ACT to SAT for our juniors.

4.  The Governor and legislators discontinue thoughts and proposals to freeze property taxes across the State where it was not already voted in by citizens of a county.

5.  That the momentum of a new federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act continues to move us towards more local authority in school governance.

6.  That all members of our school community have a blessed and healthy Christmas and safely bring in a wonderfully successful 2016!

Recognize our School Board Members

November 15, 2015 has been named “School Board Members Day” in Illinois.  This is an appropriate time for the District 228 community to recognize our current 7 school board members:  Christy Coleman, Heather DeBrock, Diane Olson, Doug Ford, John Puentes, Barry Snodgrass and Al VanDeWoestyne.

These individuals volunteer their time on behalf of children, their parents, and the entire school community.  They come together on the second Thursday each month for a regular school board meeting, but they spend more time reviewing important policy, financial, curricular and other types of planning materials every week.  It could be argued that school boards are members of the most purse form of representative democracy left in our society.  We are fortunate in Geneseo CUSD 228 to have such a dedicated and engaged group of elected officials.