VOTE: Are You Scared for Your Kids' L-W Education?
Faced with difficult economic situations, the school districts around the Lincoln-Way area are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future. Staff cuts, increased fees and closing schools could be options. What could that mean for students?
The recession. Reduced property tax revenues because of a bursting housing bubble. Disappearing state aid.
The past few years have been a perfect economic storm for the school districts in the Lincoln-Way area, a storm that has challenged their boards of education and administrators to maintain the same high quality education for students with fewer funds.
- At a special meeting over the weekend, Lincoln-Way High School District 210 Superintendent Lawrence Wyllie unveiled a series of proposals, which included adding student fees and lowering graduation requirements, to deal with the long-term reality that state funding is projected to drop by $7.5 million in each of the next five years.
- New Lenox School District 122 will have a projected $1.1 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2013 and could face declines in new growth, equalized assessed value and state aid over the next few years.
- To deal with dwindling enrollment, the Mokena School District 159 school board is considering options to close Mokena Intermediate School or rent out space at Mokena Elementary School.
- The Summit Hill School District 161 school board will be deciding soon on the direction for a three-year financial plan to deal with an expected $2.5 million deficit in 2012-13. The proposals on the table include staff reductions, school consolidation and an educational rate referendum.
Naturally, parents in these districts are concerned and have questions. How will possible cuts or layoffs affect a student's education? What will this mean for extra-curricular activities? What can a parent do to ensure his or her child gets the best schooling possibility?
YOUR TURN! Take our poll and tell us your thoughts about your children's future in the Lincoln-Way school systems in our comments section. What do you think these districts need to do?