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.

Looking at Tax Rates and General State Aid

Recently, the Regional Office of Education provided tax rate information from the December 2014 levy, with taxes that are payable for the 2015-16 school year.  The chart included also shows changes in General State Aid, which is a function of what the State of Illinois is a “foundation” level of money adequate to educate a child in Illinois (which hasn’t changed in nearly a decade), offset by local property wealth available per student.

You can see from this 2014-15 Taxes for Blog Bureau, Henry, Stark Counties that our District is blessed to have high levels of property value per pupil in comparison to our neighbors, but this is offset by lesser amounts of state revenue.  This creates a greater burden for our district to provide greater amounts locally in comparison to per pupil costs and certainly in comparison to our Rock Island County counterparts.  We will share that data from Rock Island County when it is made available.

To give some comparative data, the local property tax rate for Geneseo Schools has remained relatively constant, while the amount of General State Aid has decreased from approximately $7M seven years ago to the $4.3-4.5M level this year.  This while our enrollment has remained relatively flat and accountability mandates have grown even greater over the same time period.

 

Yes, he certainly is a hero…

While Mr. Fredericks has always been known as passionate about running, caring for every one of his athletes who participates in cross country and/or track, and as one who recognizes the place for study and faith to balance out the competition of sports; now he can add HERO to the list of terms to describe him.

Students, parents, and yes– all of our school community, are grateful to you, Coach Fredericks!

Watch here for more information.

Common Core Standards Public Form

There will be a PUBLIC TOWN MEETING with State and Local Panelists (i.e. Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent, Dr. Tony Smith , and possibly Governor Rauner’s Education Secretary Beth Purvis,) at Kewanee High School Auditorium, September 17, 2015 at 6:00PM, doors open at 5:30 PM.

Many members of our school community have expressed concerns regarding the direction Illinois is heading as it relates to Common Core Standards Curriculum and in some cases, how students are being assessed on these standards.