SUPERINTENDENT'S CORNER

This school year marks my 29th year in education, and my 12th year serving as Superintendent at Limestone Walters.  I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees from Bradley University.  I received my educational specialist degree from Western Illinois University. Currently, I am in a doctoral program through Aurora University.  Prior to coming to Limestone Walters, I was a junior high mathematics teacher at Deer Creek Mackinaw and later in Peoria District 150.  During that time, I also coached baseball and basketball.  From 2001 to 2007, I served as the junior high principal at Oak Grove West #68.

I have been married to my wife Kathleen for 24 years and we have two children - Ella, who is a sophomore in college at St. Louis University - Ben, who is a junior at Peoria Notre Dame.

I enjoy golf and cheering on the Bradley Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Chicago Bears.

Tim Dotson, Superintendent

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Winter Countdown!

It has been a trying winter season to say the least. However, while it has been an above average year with snow fall, cold temperatures, and four emergency days, I am pleased to report that our students have been upbeat and provided the “sunshine” in the building. Nevertheless, we know that spring is getting closer which means warmer days, outside recess, and tee times for golf. Due to the fact that we have had four emergency days this year, we are required to add those days back into the calendar. Therefore, we do have one change for April 22. Originally, the day after Easter, was going to be a “not in attendance” day but will now be an attendance day for students. If we are able to avoid any additional emergency days this year, the last day for students for the 2018 – 2019 school year will be May 30. Think warm and sunshine!!!!!


New Illinois Assessment

Our students take federally required assessments every spring. This year, the English language arts and math assessment for grades 3 – 8 is called the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR). This assessment is replacing the PARCC assessments that were administered previously. The Illinois Assessment of Readiness is almost exactly the same this year as the assessment that students took last year, only slightly shorter. The IAR measures the same Illinois Learning Standards and includes the same high-quality test questions that teachers and students have become familiar with over the past four years. The Illinois Assessment of Reading testing occurs statewide in March and April. We will announce our testing dates in a few weeks, but know that all testing will be complete prior to spring break.


Peoria County Facilities Sales Tax

I like to provide periodic updates regarding the Peoria County Facilities Tax that we have been receiving since July 1, 2017. In November of 2016 the voters of Peoria County voted to approve a ½ cent sales tax that could be used only for school facilities. The funds cannot be used for salaries or any other purpose not associated with the upkeep of our facilities. Our district has received $89,540.89 in CFST funds from July 1, 2017 through November, 2018. The CFST has been a revenue stream that we never had previously and it has helped immensely. Since the inception of the CFST, we have been able to install air conditioning in all of our classrooms, install new carpet and tile in those same classrooms, and have been able to lower the levy in the Operations and Maintenance Fund. The Building Committee continues to review and prioritize future facilities projects for our district. So, if you are wondering if shopping locally makes a difference? It most definitely does! I also want to let you know that Limestone Walters has the highest financial profile designation from the Illinois State Board of Education, Financial Recognition.


Governor’s Budget Address

Governor Pritzker presented his state budget this week. Education, specifically K -12, was a priority in his speech. I am cautiously optimistic that legislators and the governor will work together to have a budget in place prior to the May 31 deadline. There will certainly be a great deal of “ebb and flow” before they craft the final budget. However, it is nice to know that education is back to being a priority in our state.


If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at any time. You may reach me by phone at 697-3035 or by email at tdotson@limestonewalters.com.


Remember, the greatest gift you can give your children is your time.


Sincerely,

Tim Dotson, Superintendent

What’s New At Limestone Walters?


Welcome back to another school year at Limestone Walters. We have just

completed our first grading period and are looking forward to the upcoming

Parent/Teacher Conferences this week. As with the start to any school year,

there are always new items or initiatives from the previous year. From a building

standpoint, you will immediately notice that we have a “new look” in the

classrooms. New carpet and tile was installed in all of the classrooms along with

new stair treads this summer. Many of the rooms were also painted. The district

was able to use the new revenue source, the Peoria County Facility Sales Tax, to

help cover this expenditure. I will have more information on the Peoria County

Sales Tax later in this edition. With regards to the curriculum, we have

implemented a new online science curriculum in grades 4 – 8. Our teachers have

updated their 4 quarter plans in math and will have the ELA 4 quarter plans

completed this year. While we have always taught Digital Citizenship to our

students, we are making that topic more of a focus every nine weeks. Technology

changes at a rapid rate and for many of our students, technology has always been

a part of their young lives. However, students do not always understand the

great responsibility that accompanies the use of technology. So, our staff has

made teaching Digital Citizenship a priority this year. Those are just some of the

many new happenings at Limestone Walters for the 2018 – 2019 school year. We

look forward to working with your children this year, and as always, please call if

you have any questions or concerns.


Illinois State Board of Education School Designation – COMMENDABLE


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides the opportunity for districts and

schools to build on existing strengths and to close the academic gaps. ESSA

creates the statewide conditions to support districts, schools, and most

importantly, students who need additional assistance and resources. This year is

the first year that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is beginning its

comprehensive implementation of ESSA as required by the federal government.

The summative designation is based upon on a data set consisting of several

factors. A list of the summative designations and the factors that were part of the

summative designations is attached to this edition. I am pleased to report that

Limestone Walters was given a Commendable designation.


You will notice that one of the large factors of a school’s designation is chronic

absenteeism. ISBE is looking at each school’s attendance regardless of whether

the absences are excused or unexcused. Attendance at Limestone Walters is one

area where we can improve. As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, we do

want your children here at school. Obviously, if they are sick we understand that,

but in cases where appointments can be made outside of school, vacations, or

times when students can “tough it out,” we want them here.


As we navigate through the ISBE data, we will always use the information to make

decisions on “What’s best for kids!”


Peoria County Facilities Sales Tax


Since July 1, 2017, Limestone Walters has been one of 18 school districts in Peoria

County that have been recipients of the county-wide sales tax. This new revenue

stream can only be used for facilities. School districts have three options in which

to use the funds: 1) Pay as you go for projects, 2) Save over time and then use the

funds to pay for projects, or 3) Issue bonds for larger projects and then use the

funds to cover the bond payment. In Limestone Walters’ particular case this

summer, we saved the funds for the first year to help cover the cost of the new

carpet and tile. The Board of Education also lowered the tax levy in the Building

Fund since this new revenue can be used for the upkeep of facilities. The sales tax

revenue is distributed to each district based upon their district’s enrollment. That

is, the more students you have, the more funds you receive. Listed below is the

allocation per month that Limestone Walters has received since July 1, 2017. You

will notice that increases and decreases generally follow a spending pattern.

Back-to- school and holiday time is usually higher distribution months while

winter months tend to be less. Regardless, folks that shop locally in Peoria

County do help schools with building projects that they might not have been able

to do previously. Thank you for your support of Limestone Walters and the Peoria

County Facility Sales Tax. The Board of Education is currently prioritizing future

projects based upon need.




If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at any time.

You may reach me by phone at 697-3035 or by email at

tdotson@limestonewalters.com.


Remember that the best gift you can give your son or daughter is your time.


Sincerely,

Tim Dotson, Superintendent

Updated: Jul 20, 2018

Thank you for 2017 - 2018


Many thanks for a wonderful 2017 – 2018 school year. Our students have grown considerably during this year. Special thanks to all of our parents for the support and involvement you provide to your children and our school! We are so fortunate to have wonderful partners with our school. We also want to extend our best wishes to our graduating 8th grade class students as they begin their new journey at Limestone Community High School.


Next Year at Limestone Walters


When the doors open for the 2018 – 2019 school year on August 17th, Limestone Walters will have a very new and exciting look. All classrooms will receive new carpet, and our foyer and primary hallways will have new tile. All the stair treads will be replaced and with fresh paint and new baseboards, the building will have a new “pop” to it. Part of the funds used to pay for these improvements is coming from the County Facilities Sales Tax (CFST). Limestone Walters currently has received over $40,000 since October of 2017. Please check the district website for “before” and “after” pictures.


Summer Time


While summer time is certainly an opportunity to relax and recharge, it still is a great season for learning. Keep your nose in a book from time to time and visit the library. Limestone Walters always has a strong showing in the Alpha Park Summer Reading Program. On our family vacation, we always try to add some type of “educational” piece to our trip. Some trips lend themselves to those activities more than others, but if the chance arises, try to work it in!


Once again, thank you for an outstanding school year. We hope the summer is filled with fun activities and additional family time. Remember, the greatest gift you can give your children is your time.


If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at any time. You may reach me by phone at 697-3035 or by email at tdotson@limestonewalters.com.


Sincerely,


Tim Dotson, Superintendent

© 2018 - Limestone Walters School District #316