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updated: 3/22/2013 11:46 AM

Impact of Education cuts on one small community

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  • Millburn Elementary School

      Millburn Elementary School
    Rachel Nichols

 
Rachel Nichols

Like most school districts in Illinois, Millburn District 24 (serving residents of Lake Villa, Lindenhurst, and Wadsworth) has been dealing with cuts from the State. Unlike many other districts, our schools rely almost solely on state funds and homeowner taxes to support our schools. We have little to no commercial property to help offset the costs to homeowners. The Administration and School Board have taken significant measures to address the District's finances over the last four years -- reducing staff, increasing class sizes, and streamlining operating expenses. As a result of these cuts, the District has been able to reduce $3.3 million from its operating expenses, run a balanced budget, and still provide our children with a top-notch education (ranked in the top 5% of Illinois school districts on the ISATs). But for how much longer can our district hold on?

The decreased funding from the State is forcing Millburn District 24 to place a levy referendum question on the April 9, 2013, ballot asking taxpayers for additional support for the education of Millburn students. In these tough economic times, passing a referendum--and thereby increasing property taxes--is the last thing most homeowners want to do. But imagine what would happen to our community without a decent educational system.

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Impact for our Kids

Families have already been asked to bear much of the burden--fees have been raised to the limits of State regulations, parents volunteer for many of the jobs within the school that used to be done by staff, and the children have been forced to adjust to cramped classrooms with less individualized attention from teachers. The referendum will help the District to:

• Maintain current non-mandated subjects such as art, music, and technology

• Avoid reducing the length of the school day

• Fund the statewide transition to a more rigorous curriculum

• Preserve extracurricular activities such as band, choir, clubs and other

• Lower average class sizes

Impact for our Community

School families aren't the only ones impacted by a school's performance. A strong educational system is the backbone of any community. The quality and reputation of a school district play a huge role in our local economy and our property values. Passing the referendum will provide the following benefits:

• Maintain property values--a strong school system will increase the value of the homes in our community

• Attract outstanding teachers and stem the loss of quality teachers to other districts

• Develop productive citizens in our community by providing a high-quality education

A successful referendum is critical to maintaining quality schools and a quality community. Well-respected, desirable schools are an asset to the entire community. As parents, community members, business leaders, teachers and taxpayers, we all have a stake in this decision--because Millburn matters for our kids and our community.

To learn more, visit the Citizens for Millburn District 24 webpage at www.millburnmatters.org.

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