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Superintendent's Newsletter

November 14, 2014

Dear Community Member,

Naperville Community Unit School District 203 educates students to be self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers, quality producers, and community contributors. The District celebrates the belief that in order for us to be an exemplary school district and to fulfill our mission, we must do so through a collaborative partnership among students, staff, parents, and our community.

I am pleased that the students in our school district, including my own two children, are able to access a high quality education, including a wide variety of services, support, and opportunities. District 203 is able to provide the best possible educational experience to each student thanks in part to the financial support we receive from local, state, and federal sources. As a taxpayer in District 203 myself, I am aware of the significant contribution we receive from our local taxpayers and I am grateful to the ongoing support we receive from the community.

Like so many other school districts in Illinois, District 203 does depend on the limited resources it receives from the state and federal government as well. In recent years, the financial support District 203 receives from the state of Illinois has become less and less reliable. The School Funding Reform Act of 2014 (Senate Bill 16) would eliminate even more of the limited dollars available to support the students of District 203.

Senate Bill 16 does not provide any new funding for schools in Illinois; instead, it redistributes the already inadequate amount of funding the state currently provides. In its current form, Senate Bill 16 would drastically reduce the amount of funding for school districts, like Naperville 203, that are determined to have higher available local resources. Existing funding would be redistributed across the state to districts that collect less income from local property taxes.

Senate Bill 16 has already passed in the Senate. If it passes in the House in its current state, annual revenue provided to Naperville Community Unit School District 203 by the state would be reduced by $9.45 million, which is a 76 percent loss of state revenue. Naperville 203 would experience the 3rd largest reduction in state funding in DuPage County and the 6th largest reduction in Illinois.

Senate Bill 16 alone would be harmful to our district, but when added to other recent reductions made by the state, the impact would be dramatic. Illinois has fallen short on its current obligation to fund education by 11 percent through a reduction in general state aid funds. Prorating general state aid to school districts resulted in a reduction in state funding to District 203 of $781,204 in fiscal year 2014 and will result in an estimated reduction of $760,252 this year. Legislators have also discussed shifting the state’s portion of the cost of the pension obligation to local school districts, which would further challenge our ability to provide support and services to our students.

School funding in Illinois needs to be discussed and addressed, however the redistribution of inadequate resources and funding is not the answer. If education is truly a priority in Illinois, like it is in our community, legislative leaders must first address the inadequate financial commitment our state government makes in supporting the school children throughout Illinois.

To learn more about the School Funding Reform Act of 2014 (Senate Bill 16) and the impact it would have on Naperville 203, please visit our District 203 and SB16 Spotlight. You will be able to access video and information from the September 24 legislative breakfast we hosted and the November 12 Focus 203 Community Engagement session. You will also find information on how to contact your legislators so that you may inform them of the impact Senate Bill 16 would have on our community.

Thank you for your continued support of District 203 and its students. I am grateful for all you do and we do together to ensure our children receive the best educational experience possible.

Sincerely,

Dan Bridges
Superintendent of Schools

Strategic Blueprint

  • District 203’s FOCUS 2020 Strategic Blueprint

    Posted by Superintendent Dan Bridges at 6/27/2014
    FOCUS 2020 is the strategic plan for comprehensive improvement between 2014 and 2020, designed in response to community feedback, best practice, and a vision for the future. Ultimately, this blueprint will advance the fulfillment of the district’s mission.
     
    FOCUS 2020’s foundation is the Future Focus Community Engagement process that occurred over the course of a year where hundreds of members from across the community provided feedback to the district leadership regarding areas such as facilities, finances, measuring student success, and programs of study. Learn more about Future Focus by clicking on the specific “Quick Link” to the left of this text.
     
    The Blueprint includes four “Strategic Focus” areas, namely to:
    1. Design and implement effective practices that promote learning experiences for all.
    2. Foster a high-performance culture focused on student learning.
    3. Steward resources effectively to promote student learning.
    4. Effective communication and community relations.
    Each Strategic Focus then establishes “Commitments.” These commitments are what the district leadership pledges to accomplish within a distinct timeframe. Each commitment then includes a detailed “Action Plan” which will be accessible by the public upon final draft.
     
    FOCUS 2020 was first presented to the Board of Education at its May 5th, 2014 meeting. To watch that presentation, please click on this link and find the May 5, 2014 meeting.
     
    The final draft of the Blueprint and Action Plans will be unveiled at the Fall FOCUS 203 Community Forum, which will be held on September 17 in the evening at Naperville Central High School and September 18 in the morning at Grace Methodist Church.
     
    Click here for a summary version of the 4 areas of focus of the Strategic Blueprint.
    Click here for a Spanish summary version of the 4 areas of focus of the Strategic Blueprint.
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