Dear District 57 Families,
Before we head into Winter Break, I want to recognize some of the great things that have been going on in the schools and update you on last night’s School Board meeting. First, congratulations to students and staff for working so hard and finishing 2021 so strong! I’m impressed with some of the incredible things going on during and after school the past couple of weeks – including Hour of Code activities at all four schools, Lincoln’s virtual Band concert, and outdoor family singalongs at Fairview and Lions Park. I’m also inspired by students making a difference for others during the holiday season – like Westbrook classes writing positive messages on the sidewalks for all to see, the Lincoln Student Council Food Drive, the Lions Park Toy Drive (23 years strong!), and the Fairview Giving Tree. We are fortunate to have many opportunities for students and families to share their kindness and generosity, especially this time of year.
Many of the exciting happenings in the District and schools are highlighted in our FALL/WINTER NEWSLETTER
that came out this week. Be sure to read it! I appreciate that you make an effort to stay informed and connected to our District 57 community.
We had a busy School Board meeting last night. Here are some important updates:
E-Learning Plan for Emergency Days
The Board approved the District’s proposed eLearning Plan for Emergency Days, which Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar presented. This gives the option of providing remote learning activities when there are snow days or other unplanned building closures. The Board amended the plan to define an emergency day as “an event of inclement weather or failure of building or public utility infrastructure that renders all schools in the district unable to be opened." In 2015, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) allowed districts to provide e-learning in place of emergency closing days; this authorization was updated in May 2020. We recently asked families to indicate their preference regarding emergency days. Approximately 56 percent indicated a preference for an e-learning day – live instruction through Zoom and time for independent work. Approximately 43 percent indicated a preference for a day off school, which would result in an additional attendance day added at the end of the year. With the survey results in mind, we decided to develop an eLearning Plan, working with a committee of representatives from each school. The committee drafted plans outlining what emergency day e-learning would look like, including school schedules. You can find the plan in the Board meeting public packet
, starting on P. 21. Please click here
for additional information.
Finance: Tax Levy & District Audit
Jason Kaiz presented the final 2021 Tax Levy, which includes an increase of 6.50 percent of capped funds from 2020. The Board voted to adopt this. The levy is the amount of real estate taxes that a taxing body requests. The levy is extremely important to the District, as local tax revenue accounts for approximately 84 percent of operating revenue. Jason has an informative Q&A about the tax levy
, for those who want to learn more about the process.
The District’s auditor presented the audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. Illinois School Code requires each district to conduct an annual financial audit and a financial report filed with ISBE. The Board accepted the audited financial statements. The final report will be posted to our district website in the coming days.
Dr. Vonder Haar gave an overview of the District’s federal funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program. This funding is intended to help schools address the student impact of COVID-19, with allocations based on enrollment and free- and reduced-lunch percentages. District 57’s allocations are as follows:
- ESSER 1 (available through 9/30/21): $100,310
- ESSER 2 (available through 9/30/23): $338,163
- ESSER 3 (available through 9/30/24): $816,918
Our goal is to make investments that have a long-term impact. We have spent and plan to spend on things like professional learning for staff, technology support such as online student subscriptions, social-emotional learning, space modification, and furniture to support social distancing, tutoring services to address learning loss, instructional materials, summer bridge program, and PPE. We still have about $371,000 in unallocated funds. We will continue to use our data to determine how to use this money to best meet student needs.
Thank you for reading this message and for your involvement and support over the past few months. From my family to yours, happy holidays! We look forward to seeing the students when classes resume on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022!
In the spirit of education,
Dr. Mary Gorr
Superintendent of Schools, Mount Prospect District 57
From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!