Another Legislative Season, More Budget Gridlock

Governor Rauner’s recent address rallied a roomful of cheers when he stated that General State Aid would be fully funded.  Interestingly enough, this “full funding” actually equates to a foundation level of $6,119 per student… which is precisely what the level was artificially placed at in 2010.  There have been a number of different Blue Ribbon panels who have offered a multitude of solutions to an inequitable and inadequate school funding formula.  Different policy and tax institutes will take both sides of the debate– one group suggesting that Illinois has already overfunded schools and wasted money in certain districts, the converse taking the position that we are not allocating money to places where it is most needed.

This article discusses not only the position for the Chicago Public Schools, but in general, decries the facts that the type of educational opportunities that children receive are based in large part on the zip codes of their residences.

As reported at the February Board of Education meeting, Geneseo District 228 has seen audited revenues from General State Aid decline from roughly $7M per year, to roughly $4.4M the past several years.  There are limited ways that a new funding formula may benefit our district unless the State approves an Evidence-Based Funding Model, which identifies research-based instructional strategies and resources for public schools.

Report Shared at February 9, 2017 Board Meeting

This is a BOE Presentation, February 9 2017 c that was shared in open session at the regular February school board meeting last evening.  More than 70 people were in attendance, and there was several different pieces of information that were shared, as well as even more background material from the meeting that was shared February School Board Meeting at the district’s online school board meeting presence.

Geneseo Schools have a long tradition of excellence in academics, athletics, arts and activities.  The combination of declining state revenues, as well as increasing costs of mandates, and community desire to offer an extremely comprehensive educational program for a district of our size, has created financial challenges that leave the Board with some very difficult decisions.  Hopefully this report helps make the context of where we are and what options exist easier to understand.

SB 2912 Relieves some pressure in hiring teachers

Recently approved legislation, Senate Bill 2912, which was signed by Governor Rauner last week, will allow for more efficient transitions for teachers from other states to earn licensure in Illinois, and relaxes some of the requirements for substitute teachers to earn licensure.

There is an enormous shortage of teaching candidates, and also substitute teachers all across Illinois.  Contact the Regional Office of Education at (309)-936-7890 if you would like more information to apply or to direct a friend or family member to research these opportunities.

Yes, it is certainly getting colder out there….

Message from Superintendent Scott Kuffel: Certainly winter weather is upon us, and despite growing rumors and conversation that a decision has been made about school closing tomorrow, as of 4:23 pm on Wednesday, we WILL be in session on December 15th. To assist you with understanding the planning and discussion that takes place when considering a school closing, this link clarifies the differences between a watch, an advisory, and a warning.
 
Assuming that road conditions are passable, we do not begin discussing a school closing unless we get to a Wind-chill WARNING. As I have said many times before, we respect that some of you may disagree with that benchmark and choose to keep your child home from school. This criteria of starting the discussion at a WARNING is consistent with other Quad Cities area school districts. We know that winters in the midwest can be challenging, and often the weather can be difficult for many weeks in a row. We hope that you do all that you can to help ensure student safety on the way to and from school by providing your child(ren) with appropriate clothing.
 
As mentioned previously, when the windchill falls below +10 degrees, we keep the children inside for recess. Thank you for working together with us, to help reinforce the importance of being well prepared and responsive to all types of challenges so that we can get to work trying to provide the best educational opportunities we can to support maximum learning, in all areas. Student safety is of the utmost importance to us, and we would not endanger children for the sake of reinforcing a strong work ethic and perseverance. But we also know how many of you count on us to provide care, comfort, and quality instruction to your children whenever it is feasible.
 
It is often much easier to live our District Mission of Teach-Learn-Care when it’s 70 and sunny and everyone’s motivated to get going, but it isn’t always about making the easy or most popular decision when the wind blows, the skies are gray and people are counting down to Christmas.
 
Thank you for your patience and your efforts to help us make this a 21st Century district– Scott Kuffel, Superintendent