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Kelly: Transitions, transportation and taxes in D-113A

Community voice

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 3:06 p.m. CDT

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In November, our school board made the decision to have fifth graders attend River Valley at the start of the 2014-15 school year. The decision was made for several reasons.

Curriculum standards, programs and resources are typically organized into K to five and six to twelve units. This move will allow for more professional development and teacher collaboration at River Valley in regard to the grade three to five sequence. Transition from fifth to sixth grade will continue as it has been done in the past before fifth grade moved to Old Quarry.

By keeping grade five at River Valley, the district enrollment is more even across the district. This move positively affects our bus routes and drop off and pick up for students.

Projected enrollment for 2014-15:

• Oakwood – 570 children

• River Valley – 815 children

• Old Quarry – 730 children

Finally, keeping fifth graders at River Valley frees up space at Old Quarry. Fifth graders will have a lower class size regardless of the school they attend and space will be available in the future to add classroom teachers to Old Quarry for students in grades six to eight.

In summary, students' needs are a top priority regardless of where they attend school. This plan addresses projected space requirements for the next three years, at which time re-evaluation may be necessary. Principals will contunue to lead positive, collaborative planning of the transition and will keep you informed as decisions are made.

The board is seeking bids from companies regarding student transportation to determine if it would be more cost effective to outsource transportation or continue to operate our own transportation department. This project is in the inquiry stage at this point in time. A decision will be made in the next few months.

On another note, the board passed the tax levy at the December board meeting after holding a tax hearing. The tax increase is reported as an 8.09 percent increase over last year. However, I want you to know that because of the way that the tax laws are written, the district must pass a levy that seems unusually high in order to capture all of the revenue to which it is entitled because new buildings and growth are taxed at a higher rate than existing homes and businesses. In reality, the district will only be able to realize a tax increase of five present or CPI, whichever is less. We anticipate that CPI will be 1.5 percent in the upcoming year.

We want you to know that the board is highly committed to the needs of our students while trying to remain sensitive to the needs of our families and stakeholders in difficult economic times.

Cindy Kelly is the president of the Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A Board of Education.

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