Local Issues Director: Jayne Boeckelman The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn
Our chapter of the League follows major issues of interest to our membership; each area is the responsibility of a local issues director. They track legislation and items of particular timely interest. Our Observer Corps attends meetings to report back to the board and members on key issues.
LATEST REPORT: March 2019
The Department of Education is considering whether federal funds can legally be provided to schools to provide guns to teachers or other school personnel. The League of Women Voters strongly opposes this action and has asked members to call the Department of Education at 202-401-3000 voicing opposition.
While passage of the Evidence Based Funding bill that passed in 2017 was a significant improvement in the way schools are funded throughout the state, it is far from being fully funded. Approximately 83% of the school districts in Illinois do not have enough resources to provide an adequate education. Teacher shortages are being reported, particularly in downstate districts. Many children in Illinois are not prepared for kindergarten.
LWVIL is currently supporting HB2265 which requires every public elementary school to include civics education in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade curriculum. Students who achieve proficiency in civics at an early age are more likely to vote regularly and participate more broadly in our democracy.
Educational Issues LWVIL anticipates being important during the 2019 Legislative Session:
· Advocate for increased sources of funding to accommodate budget increases for Evidence Based Funding as well as property tax relief for low income/high property tax districts
· Oppose a property tax freeze which would undercut new dollars for schools
· Support bills preventing the Charter School Commission from overriding local school boards
· Support efforts to increase the number of well-prepared teachers
· Support efforts to increase funding for higher education
· Oppose unfunded mandatesLocal Issues
Elections for Boards of Education are being held on April 2 for all school districts. There are contested elections in D41, D87, and College of DuPage. The League is holding a candidate forum on March 16 which will be available for on-line viewing.
District 41 Board of Education has engaged a search firm to assist with the selection of a new superintendent.
The Status of Facilities in School Districts 41 & 89 (2013) (Updated 2019)
Information has been provided by a questionnaire sent to the superintendents of both districts in November, 2018. Both D89 and D41 have addressed updates for infrastructure, security, technology, media centers and playgrounds, as well as accessibility. Early Childhood Education is provided in both districts.
D89 – Based on the information provided by the District, it was determined that the current facilities in
CCSD89 are adequate to meet both current and projected enrollment needs. Increased enrollment has necessitated some boundary changes and has brought class sizes to the higher end of the target range. Although enrollment is projected to increase, current facilities appear adequate to meet both current and long-range program needs. However, some space may need to be repurposed to meet changing program needs. Full-day kindergarten is provided in all buildings. The District does not currently own any vacant land.
D41 – All D41 portable classrooms will be eliminated by 2019. Capital improvement funds were used for additions to all elementary schools to replace the portables but did not provide extra room for enrollment growth. A referendum in 2017 provided additional classrooms at Hadley Junior High to replace the portables. The 10-room addition and renovations to the existing building addressed the need for flexible learning environments at Hadley as well as designated music space. All current available classroom space is being utilized in all buildings with a shortage of space for student support services and non-classroom space.
The D41 enrollment figures are projected to remain stable for the foreseeable future. However, the Village of Glen Ellyn is projecting additional residential developments. The District is exploring options to move the preschool program out of Forest Glen to provide more classroom space. There is no space available in any of the buildings to provide full-day kindergarten. The District owns 4.73 acres of vacant land (old Spalding School site) which could accommodate a small school.
OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF ILLINOIS:
SCHOOLS: LWVIL supports a system of high quality elementary and secondary schools for all children in Illinois, which provides for local control of school program and budget within minimum program requirements set by the State. The State should provide leadership to local communities for program development and should set standards for recognition and accreditation of schools. Educational programs’ effectiveness should be evaluated regularly. The League favors minimum standards for graduation and promotion of students. LWVIL supports increased professionalism for teachers including stringent teacher preparation standards, comprehensive teacher and principal evaluations, changes in tenure, and increased teacher compensation. The State should assume the major responsibility for funding public schools and guarantee an adequate level of financial support. Schools should be provided stable, reliable, and adequate revenue through a combination of federal, state and local sources.
LWVIL supports accountability, transparency, and equity in the use of public funds for education, including charter schools. Charter school authorizers should evaluate the performance of existing charters before granting new charters or approving additional campuses. The authority for approving and renewing charters should reside exclusively in the local school board.
Latest EDUCATION Observer Group Report
D41 Observers – Michelle Peterson and I have been attending D41 Board meetings for more than two years. We have written reports to be placed on the LWVGE website. District 41 is now posting summaries of the meetings on their website and linking the discussions to the actual time on the archived videos of the meetings. We encourage interested parties to visit D41.org and click on School Board. Board videos and summaries of the meetings can be found at this link. We are continuing to observe the meetings and will report on items of interest.