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 email@example.com.
Remember, the greatest gift you can give your children is your time.
Tim Dotson, Superintendent