701 W. Gregory Mount Prospect, IL 60056  |  847-394-7300
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A Message from Your Superintendent

November 10, 2017

At its final meeting last night, the District’s Community Task Force voted unanimously to recommend that the School Board place a tax referendum question on the ballot in the March 2018 election. The Task Force also voted on how a referendum request should be structured, and the option that received a majority of votes is a limiting tax rate increase of 85 cents, which equates to $408 per year for a $300,000 home. The votes came after Task Force members reviewed results of the public opinion survey and analyzed and debated several options. The recommendation to go to referendum and request an 85-cent increase will be presented to the School Board at its meeting next Thursday, November 16 (7 p.m. at Fairview). The Board will carefully consider the Task Force recommendation and make a final decision (most likely in December) about whether to pursue the referendum in March and how the question will be structured.

The referendum proposal that the Task Force is recommending includes the following goals:

=      Maintain current staffing levels and class sizes at all four schools, eliminating the need to make additional cuts to staffing and programs and improving compensation to address teacher turnover.
=      Increase the annual maintenance budget to address safety and security upgrades, HVAC and mechanical system needs, modular classroom purchases (as needed based on enrollment) and other deferred maintenance.
=      Address transportation funding needs not currently addressed by an existing tax levy and fees.
In an effort to be responsive to concerns of some taxpayers (as expressed in the survey), Task Force members decided to compromise and remove three elements from the referendum proposal: reinstating Learning Resource Center (library) personnel, reinstating kindergarten fine arts programs and reinstating fourth-grade orchestra. Several members stated their support for these things but expressed a desire to keep the referendum focused on emergency needs in order to garner more support from the community.

The District has worked hard to develop potential funding solutions that meet the needs of both students and taxpayers. The Task Force has been an important part of this process and has provided valuable input. I thank the following members: Eric Brouilette, Chad Busse, Mike Cassady, Dawn Fletcher Collins, Kaitlin Skye Collins, John  Daly, Greg Fudala, Marilyn Genther, Louis Goodman, Mary Gorr, Katie Kelly, Sann Knipple, Joe Leane, Michele Logar, Dan Malartsik, John Matuszak, Joan Michalik, Tom Munz, Dan Ophus, Jerry Pancini, Nick Papanicholas, Nancy Phillips, Jenny Quinn, Bill Starr, Paul Suminski, Ron Talaga, Brian Taylor, Kristi Zakula and Tom Zander.

Survey results figured heavily into the decisions last night. The presentation of the results can be viewed at this link, but here are some highlights:

=      62% of participants gave District 57 an A or B grade (12% C and 3% D and F). The District’s consultant said these are very positive numbers compared to national statistics on the same question and that when voters rate their school district highly, they are more likely to pass a tax referendum.

=      55% of participants said they would definitely or probably support a limiting tax rate referendum of 90 cents that included the goals listed above as well as restoring staffing and programs that were cut in 2011; 37% said they would probably or definitely not support it; 7% did not know.

=      47% said they would definitely or probably support a scaled-back referendum that does not restore staffing and programs cut in 2011; 38% said they would probably or definitely not support it; 16% did not know. The District’s consultant said this option received less support because many yes voters switched to no or undecided when asked about the scaled-back proposal, indicating they strongly support the full proposal and did not want anything taken away from it.

=      When prioritizing parts of the funding proposal, participants gave highest priority to maintaining staffing levels and class sizes, followed by addressing safety and security needs and improving compensation to be more in line with neighboring districts. Lowest priority was given to addressing transportation funding needs, reinstating fourth-grade orchestra, reinstating kindergarten fine arts and reinstating LRC personnel.

=      49% said they are very concerned or extremely concerned about the tax impact of a referendum; 30% are not very concerned.

=      The survey had a 16 percent response rate, with 52% of respondents being likely voters. The District’s consultant said this is a strong response rate for a school district survey. 34% of respondents have a child in a District 57 school.

=      81% said they had read, seen or heard about the District’s funding proposal, and 77% were very or somewhat satisfied with the information they received.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey and to all who have become informed about these important issues. We will continue to communicate with you as we move through this process.

Dr. Elaine Aumiller,
Superintendent of Schools
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Mount Prospect School District 57
701 W. Gregory
Mount Prospect, IL 60056
Phone: 847-394-7300
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mount prospect school district 57
701 w. gregory
mount prospect, il 60056
phone:  847-394-7300
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