It's May and we have less than one month left of the 2017-18 SY. Are the years getting shorter? (sigh) So it seems. We have a lot going on in the schools and our building principals have done a great job keeping you up to date with those events all year. May is definitely no exception to several events including Baccalaureate for the class of 2018 on Sunday, May 13th at 7:00 PM and Graduation on May 19 at 7:00. I want to take this time to fill you in on a couple of things that are happening at the state level and some changes you will see in the CAM district as we head into the summer.
Since the fall of 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has been working todetermine the cost of educating all students in Illinois according to 34 defined cost factors as presented in the School Funding Reform Bill (SB 1947) which was signed into law on August 31,2017 to help equalize the school systems around the state. The defined cost factors create a formula which results in an Adequacy Target for each Illinois school district. ISBE measured each district's local resources for comparison to the Adequacy Target. And finally, in early April,the Illinois State Board of Education announced it had issued vouchers to the Illinois State Comptroller allowing for the release of the new tier funding portion of fiscal year 2018 Evidence Based-Funding to be distributed to the most under-resourced districts to assist them in meeting their Adequacy Target.Central A&M Schools are currently at 71% adequacy in terms of what research and best practice indicate is needed to provide students with adequate educational programs and services. The new tier money released will bring approximately $47,524 ($62.71/student) to CAM Schools for the remainder of this year and will become a part of our new base funding minimum provided by the State at the beginning of next school year. I do want you to understand that while this is "new money" it is not necessarily more money for all schools. The Evidence Based Funding (EBF) formula (new) consolidates and replaces five grants received in past years, including General State Aid and Special Education Funding. When we compare the old formula to the new formula, in actuality Central A&M will see a gain of about $8,687. While not a lot, it is a gain. Other districts are anticipating receiving substantially more than we will and many receive less than we do, however, no district will lose money under this formula. Money need is seen in the level of poverty, and the adequacy than currently exists as explain above. There will be more information on this new formula in the coming months, as there will be some more changes from the state based on how it is set up. Because we are currently funded at 71% of adequacy, the district and school leadership teams have some work to do to identify needs and gaps that exist in our district and the paths we need to take to close those gaps. The statewide goal is for each district to reach 90% adequacy within 10 years. I believe that it is imperative that we as educators, families, and communities request our legislators to continue to fully fund the EBF formula.
You will see much work around the district this summer, next fall and in the spring of 2019. We will be taking care of several needed improvements to our buildings for the safety and continued quality education of our students. As the summer begins, in just a few short weeks, renovation will start at the MS on the new Bond wing; 7 classrooms, a separate, secure entryway, and library will be incorporated into the existing space that used to be the agricultural/industrial arts area. New windows will be added throughout the MS building, asbestos tile will be abated and new floors installed, new bathrooms for the MS students will be installed and others will be updated. The district custodians have already begun work to build a custodial storage and shop area in the back of the MS that will also house restrooms for the track, and next spring a playground area for the Bond wing will be added. Tuck Pointing that is long overdue will be done at the HS and Gregory building, bathroom renovations in those buildings, and the science labs at the High School will be brought up to school safety codes. The HS, MS and Gregory main entrances will be renovated to allow for safer vestibules and more office control of those entrances. We are asking you to bear with us as we face the next year of renovations and repairs. I know that change is difficult, but, as stated before, these are changes for the long-term usefulness and sustainability of our school buildings.
On a personal note, my 87-year-old dad passed away on Easter Sunday. He was ready to go home and had fought a lengthy battle with a rare form of Huntington's Disease. It's always difficult to say goodbye to our loved ones, and this was no exception. My dad was a farmer and mechanic and education was extremely important to him and my mom. My siblings and I were taught that an education is to be valued, to use our heads, and always do our very best. Dad taught us to take pride in our work, to laugh easily, forgive always and to love unconditionally. My dad served on the Roanoke-Benson CUSD #60 School Board for nine years; another testimony to how he worked to further the educational process. My dad is one of the reasons that I am an educator and that I believe in the value of public education. I tell you all of this 1.) to honor my father and 2.) to tell you that the outpouring of love that has been shown to my family from my CAM family has been really OVERWHELMING. This CAM community has a special kind of love that is not found in every town. When I came here 3 years ago, I was told by a colleague who used to live and work here that "there is no place like Central A&M". This statement has proven to be true, over and over again, there IS NO place like Central A&M. We are two towns, one family!! Thank you again, to all of you, each one of you makes our Assumption & Moweaqua family special. And, It's Always A Great Day to Be a Raider.