A Jersey Community Unit School District No 100 Update
Dear Jersey Community Unit District No. 100 Families:
It’s hard to believe that we are in the third week of March. With time moving so quickly, I would like to provide a Jersey 100 update for what has already occurred and what is to come in the weeks ahead.
The Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT) is our state assessment and was administered to elementary students from grades three to eighth this past week. Our goal was for the students to do their best, and they certainly did just that!
We are a pilot district for the Partnerships for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which has been adopted as the new state assessment used to measure growth in both English/language arts and mathematics. Various classes at Jersey Community High School, Illini, and East Elementary have been selected to participate in this pilot. This assessment will be administered to students using a digital format, which is an area where Jersey 100 students excel – due in part to our one-to-one initiative. We appreciate all of the support we have received from families and students! I have heard many positive comments while I’m out and about and through email and telephone calls. Please know how grateful I am to each of you for positively embracing this new challenge. For more information on PARCC, I will be posting a Press Release soon.
In January, many Jersey 100 stakeholders attended the regular Board of Education meeting held in the Jersey Community High School auditorium where the financial state of the district and a plan to help balance the budget (January BOE Presentation) were presented to District 100 stakeholders in attendance. This was a plan that would require the use of working cash over a three year period. In addition, proposed cost saving measures were outlined. Cutting personnel and programs STINKS! It is certainly not ideal in any situation – BUT it is necessary to minimize the deficit in the Education fund and ensure the financial security of the district. During the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting on March 19, members will vote on proposed cuts. As outlined in the plan presented in January and a necessary move to help relieve our deficit, 1.4 million dollars will be cut from the budget. Twenty-nine positions will be lost. The good news is that more than half will be absorbed due to retirements. The proposed plan also includes some changes to scheduling, a few curricular program cuts, and extracurricular coaching reductions. Additional savings could come in the form of transportation routes and establishing new busing boundaries.
Over the course of the last four years, Jersey CUSD No. 100 has had to cut a significant amount of buildings, programs and personnel due to significant state aid proration (27%). I am saddened when I read messages from our legislators and state superintendent, as it seems that Illinois’ financial condition is not improving, as noted in the State Superintendent’s message:
It is still early in the budget-making process, but we must remember that the temporary income tax is set to expire midway through the fiscal year. The House passed a resolution establishing an overall General Funds revenue estimate about $950 million lower than the Fiscal Year 14 revenue estimates. In addition, there are unconfirmed reports that this could mean substantial reductions to education as other pressure areas in the budget increase. We will continue to monitor and advocate for the Board's recommended budget, but we must face the reality that this process will, again, be an uphill battle.
~Chris Koch, Illinois State Superintendent of Schools
With all that seems negative, so much positive is happening around us. Instead of turning on the news, please take a look at what is happening in our schools. Read about the GOOD NEWS and JUST BE JERSEY stories. Our students will become the difference-makers! We must work together to provide the best education for them. Working together is critical. More information pertaining to transportation changes, revisions to busing boundaries, and scheduling will be forthcoming.
As always, I appreciate your support as we work through these challenging times. I know we can make a positive difference by coming together and working together! J
May you and yours have a wonderful and blessed March!
- If you would like to send a story or be included in the Just Be Jersey listserv, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include in the subject line: JustBe Jersey story or add to JustBeJersey listserv.
- For additional information on upcoming school closings, activity/athletic changes, or other school happenings, please check out www.jersey100.org. You may also call 1-877-305-3276.