This past week, the Illinois State Board of Education finally released the calculations for each district to confirm the amount of new dollars that previously was generated through the antiquated General State Aid Formula. The legislation is designed to put more state dollars into the districts with the highest rates of poverty and lower property wealth per pupil.
Some districts will receive more than $1M in new state appropriations (for example, Kewanee District 229). Because Geneseo 228 has a high property value per pupil, the State expects that we would be able to generate more local revenue. As superintendent I have recommended in the past that the Board of Education may need to consider a rate referendum for the Education Fund, as there is little appetite for staff and program reduction, nor is there much tolerance for greater student participation/registration fees.
The District will receive roughly $100,000 more state money in this new formula that was called General State Aid, but the net increase may not be that much as we still believe that Transportation reimbursement may be reduced. Keep in mind, however, that this new money brings our GSA allocation to approximately $5M when 9 years ago we received roughly $7M per year.
Please remember that all schools will be dismissed one hour early on Friday, March 23rd and will re-open on Monday, April 2nd.
We wish you all a safe and restful week of no student attendance.
The events of February 14, 2018 in Parkland, FL brought to light renewed vigor and concern related to student safety while attending school. Perhaps it has even renewed concerns about safety for all, and in all spaces. Even a small, local high school found itself in the midst of a cyber threat that created a lockdown situation and made national news.
Over the past several weeks I have had several parents ask me if I can assure them that nothing will happen to their child at school. I cannot assure that any more than I can assure them nothing will happen in their home, or on the way to or from school, or at McDonald’s, etc. We can never make schools or communities completely safe; we can merely try to put into place measures to make them “safer”.
After this summer, our hopes are that all interior classroom doors will have interior push button locks, so that in the event of an intruder or lockdown or any type, a teacher will not need to try to lock the door with a key. But neither can a student lock a door from the inside that no one can enter (which some of the barricade devices now in play physically prevent anyone from entering without breaking down the door somehow). We also are planning on finishing the Middle School’s entryway with a secured vestibule similar to all the other buildings.
We work closely with the Geneseo Police and will be reviewing the ALICE protocols in case we are ever faced with an armed intruder. If you have a middle school and/or high school student you will be receiving information about how the buildings will be working with students relative to the March 14th and April 20th national walk out/protest events. Our focus during these events are for student safety at the foremost; and not what kind of consequences for discipline are being considered. We respect the students’ need to join with others to commemorate the loss of 17 student and 3 staff lives in Florida, and to civilly address their concerns about student safety.
As I mentioned, more information will be forthcoming from the buildings. These are important times for responsible conversations at school; and we also recognize how important these times are for responsible parental conversations with your children about their personal safety.
This article in the Dispatch displays a great example of humility, grit, and perseverance. It was also very timely as our teachers went through a full day of inservice on Monday, January 15th that centered around concepts of student growth and how important it is that we all employ a “growth” mindset. While it’s important to celebrate specific milestones– like winning your division in the Geneseo Wrestling Invitational, or being selected for ILMEA Music All-State, or scoring well on your SAT test– it’s also important to focus on what that 1% additional, daily steps towards improvement can make.
Thank you, Billy, for reminding us of the progress and growth that you have made; and for reminding all of us that tomorrow we can choose to work to be a little bit better than we are today!
Students will have a day off on Martin Luther King, Jr Day, while faculty is in session for a full day of professional development.
All schools will resume operation with students on Thursday, January 4, 2018. Schools will be open regular hours.
This message was sent to District parents, staff, administrators and Board of Education. Farrell Communication Letter