|State of Illinois Owes $1 million to D75
On June 30, 2016 Illinois adopted a K-12 budget that promised to increase state aid this year for schools. However as the school year nears completion, Mundelein Elementary School District 75 and others have seen a dramatic decrease in financial assistance from the state. Superintendent Andy Henrikson reports that after eight full months of school, Illinois is behind by over $1,000,000 in promised assistance to District 75.
Some of the $1,000,000 owed the district is for the Lincoln Early Childhood preschool program which currently serves 105 students who were at-risk of not being prepared for success in school. The state committed to reimbursing up to $340,000 of expenses for the program. “The state has not reimbursed any of the $300,000 District 75 has spent this year on our at-risk preschoolers,” said Director of Finance & Operations T. Ferrier.
The lack of state funding for preschool had District 75 questioning whether or not it could afford to operate the program next year. Over 50 parents attended the March 13 School Board Meeting vocalizing their support for continuing the successful preschool program. The Board ultimately voted to continue the preschool for another year even if it meant making other cuts. School Board President Wells Frice said, “There is ample research on the positive effects of preschool programs on student achievement, lifetime earning, and even one’s health. We know state also values preschool programs and hope that it will provide the promised funding to ours.”
Some of the $1,000,000 in missed payments is for programs that the state requires school districts to run, such as special education, bilingual education, and busing. Illinois used to fully reimburse districts for the expense of bussing students who lived beyond 1.5 miles from their schools. In recent years the state’s reimbursement dwindled to 60 cents for each dollar a district spent. This year Superintendent Henrikson reports that District 75 has not received any reimbursement for busing, special education, or bilingual education.
Board President Frice said, “District 75 has maintained financial stability over the years by making tough and/or creative decisions.” Last summer District 75 added much needed space at Washington School without raising taxes by creating a permanent addition from used mobile units. Frice said, “In addition to the million dollars the state currently owes, discussions in Springfield about further limiting school funding with a property tax freeze have our school board questioning how to maintain the educational programs we feel are vital to the success of our students.”
Today, District 75 joined other school districts across the state in posting “Pass Illinois Budget” on the Carl Sandburg and Mechanics Grove signs. Parents and community members can help by calling on members of the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor to do the following:
- Immediately, and with bipartisan support, end the state budget impasse.
- Improve the state’s education funding formula and invest in students and schools, including higher education institutions, throughout the state.
- Pay school districts what they are owed this year.
Click this link to find your legislator.
|Rolling Out the Red Carpet
The Oscars are coming to Mundelein District 75. Students have been invited to submit works of video art that will be shown on “the big” screen at Mundelein High School.
The Mundance Film Festival will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 2. Student Directors, Producers, & Actors will be taken by limousine to the red carpet at Mundelein High School. Everyone is invited at to attend the viewing party beginning with the openning ceremonies at 6:45 in the MHS Auditorium. Tickets are free.
Although participation was optional, students who submitted works of art were immersed in different forms of learning. They had to plan their project, write the script, direct and film it. Awards will be presented in multiple categories including best directing, cinematography, screenplay, and editing. In addition, the overall Best Picture Award will be awarded as well as an Audience Choice Award.
Students and staff recognized three students at Mechanics Grove School for their leadership traits during a school event that celebrated leadership.
Former principal Kathleen Miller helped the school get the highly coveted title of Leader in Me Lighthouse School, a national designation. In honor of her efforts, the Mundelein school has created a Dr. Miller Leadership award whereby staff selects a student from each of the school's three grade levels who they believe possess leadership traits. Students honored with the award were Samantha Biesterfeld, third grade, Vanessa Marcos, fourth grade, and Caitlin Speer, fifth grade.
Other aspects of the celebration included over 50 community members sharing what leadership means to them and students sharing what leadership traits they possess.
All year long students in the grades 3 to 5 Mechanics Grove School practice leadership skills by becoming bus monitors, collecting and re-shelving library books, keeping leadership journals, and reading to younger children. Please click here for photos of the event.
|Reading to a Friend
Some children entered the classroom timidly, some students were excited and some children sat down and began playing with the Pomeranian, poodle, and collie who visited Washington School recently.
It was part of the Rainbow Read to Dogs program. Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy of Morton Grove works in conjunction with many librarians to provide this service.
During a recent visit, Washington teachers invited their students, typically beginning readers, to share stories with the visiting dogs. Dogs visit Washington students a couple of times a month.
“Some students may feel uncomfortable reading to another person. This time with dogs allows them to read to a non-judgmental listener,” said Principal Jim Kallieris. “I like seeing the students' smiling faces when they are working with the dogs. They also tend to skip back to class when their time is up, which indicates to me that they enjoyed their time reading to a dog and are ready to take on the rest of the day.” Please click here for more photos.