Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Proviso Math and Science Academy To Host 2nd Annual Family & Senior Citizen Health Fair!!!

Proviso School Board President Emanuel "Chris" Welch, the Proviso Township High School Board of Education, the Proviso Township Board of Commissioners, and the Proviso Township Mental Health Board are teaming up to host the 2nd Annual Family & Senior Citizen Health Fair at the Proviso Math and Science Academy on Saturday, August 2, 2008 from 9am to 1pm. The event will offer FREE back to school physicals, FREE health screens, FREE snacks, FREE senior bingo, and FREE admission. Please call to book your free screening appointment in advance: 708.449.4310. All PTHS 209 students must have current physicals and immunizations before the first day of school. Don't miss this opportunity for a free physical and health screening! Physicals are being offered courtesy of Loyola Pediatrics.


Anonymous said...

Are white people in wealthy suburbs going to quake with fear when Chicago public schoolchildren come to town?

In an effort to grab headlines and focus attention on the inequities of public school funding in Illinois, state Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) urged Chicago students to ditch the opening day of their school year and register for class in Winnetka.

Since running for office six years ago, Meeks has made public school funding reform his top priority. He has repeatedly sponsored bills that would increase the state income tax, reduce property taxes and raise about $2 billion more each year for the schools.

There's really no debating the pros and cons of the current school funding system, which relies heavily on property taxes.

It stinks.

It results in educational inequities between property-rich and property-poor school districts.

It actually makes the problem worse by eating away at the profit margins of small businesses in poor communities.

That means even higher property taxes for homeowners in economically challenged communities.

Even in middle-class communities, homes may increase in value (when the economy isn't depressed), but the average guy's wallet doesn't get any fatter. Yet his property tax bill goes up and up.

Senior citizens on fixed incomes find themselves forced out of homes that they paid for during their working lives.

I haven't heard any elected official in a decade defend the current school tax system.

Yet nothing changes.

As for the children, thousands each year go through public school systems learning little, or nothing.

Our state prisons are full of high school dropouts.

Too many children continue to give birth to children.

And the taxpayers, who often complain they don't want to throw money at bad schools, end up spending more money on child welfare agencies, police, prosecutors, judges, courtrooms and prison guards.

Instead of trying to solve the problem, or at least make things better, this state has simply let it fester for two decades.

That doesn't stop the guy on the street from spouting off.

Bad parenting is to blame.


High-priced school administrators.






For the sake of argument, let's say all of that is true.

So what? Adults are supposed to solve problems. They're supposed to protect children. They're supposed to make life better, not complain and whine like a bunch of schoolkids.

Meeks, who has tried to work with Democrats and Republicans down in Springfield, has seen promises of funding reform broken year after year.

He believes a protest at New Trier High School in Winnetka, one of the wealthiest school systems in the state, will focus some attention on the issues.

Nobody in Winnetka's going to worry about Chicago schoolchildren enrolling in their schools.

It's not going to happen. They would have to pay an out-of-district tuition fee equal of that of a college education.

Even if Meeks' protest results in 10,000 Chicago children lining up in Winnetka, nothing's going to change in Springfield.

That's because the legislators and the governor can work the current system to their advantage.

Every election year, they can promise to make the schools better, promise not to raise taxes and voters will put them back in office.

When pushed into a corner, the lawmakers can blame teachers, parents or local school boards for acting in an irresponsible manner

Voters will nod their heads.

Our politicians take the high ground, hoping nobody notices they're standing on the bodies of schoolchildren whose lives have been sacrificed to boost their careers.

Some people will accuse Meeks of grandstanding.

I don't think he's going far enough.

In order to launch a protest that would really have an impact, children from every poor school district would probably have to block the entrances to the school houses in every wealthy school district in the state - not for a day but for weeks.

I believe the education crisis in this nation is worse than the terrorist threat.

Money won't solve the problem, but it's the only way to start.

The current system works for children who come from good communities and have good parents.

It does not work for those who don't.

You can keep on punishing them for their misfortune, generation after generation, or improve the schools in an effort to make life better for everyone.

Reduce class sizes. Make the schools safe. Update technology. Invest in the future.

Declare war on ignorance.

You don't need to fly an airplane loaded with explosive into a tower to destroy thousands of lives.

We've been doing it here in Illinois for 20 years.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Meeks chooses New Trier for his scorn instead of well run, quality districts such as, say Naperville.

Opps, I forgot. The Naperville districts, far more representative of the suburbs than New Trier, have FAR LESS funding than Chicago schools!

Check it out under the school report cards at

Indian Prairie unit district 204, the district which Bill Gates and Oprah used for comparison with Harper HS in Chicago, actually spends about 18% less than Chicago, with operating expenses at $8,639 per student compared with Chicago's $10,409 operating costs per student. There certainly is funding inequity there. I wonder how much of his "inequity" Arne Duncan would be willing to shift from Chicago to Naperville?

Naperville 203 only spends $9,881 per student, about $500 LESS than Chicago.

Overall,Chicago spends about $900 above state average, pays adminstrators about $15,000 (15%, $117,364)more than state average, teachers about $7,770 (13%,$66,043) more than average for teachers with about the same experience and education.

So that's why Meeks had to pick New Trier, whose spending in the top 5% of the state, to pick on.

If he had picked just about any efficiently run suburban or rural district for comparison, he would have lost his argument for inefficient, patronage driven, overfunded school districts like Chicago receiving more "equitable" funding because they get more than their fair share under the present system.

If we were really being "fair" about equitable funding, resources would be flowing to Summit Hill 161 and Lincoln Way 210 in Frankfort, where the "bedroom" communities are severely overtaxed despite some of the best run schools in the country.

If Meeks (and Kadner) were seriously concerned about the children and taxpayers, they'd support the following actions in Springfield:

1) Prohibiting school Boards from approving labor contracts beyond their ability to pay. Virtually every financial "crisis" in our schools, such as Ridgeland 122, was preceded by unconscionable salary and benefit run ups (raises of 15% and 11% in 122), far above increases in the cost of living and revenue increases. Since about 75% of school spending is salary and benefits, it would be fair to allow increases of 75% of new unrestricted revenues to be distributed to staff. Increases above this amount would need to be funded by tax increases approved by the community through referendum.

2) Prohibit "working cash bond" sales which enable school disricts to increase real estate taxes by as much as 20%, to be spent for virtually any purpose, without referendum or justification.

3) Throw out the existing distribution state funding formula and replace it with a system that funds those communities that really need it and are low spending first, and phase out state sudsidies to fund districts for whom the dollars only inflate already bloated salary and benefit packages, not improve education.

For example, Roundout Elementary district 72 is so wealthy it gets about $24,000 per student form the local tax base, yet the state still gives them a $600 per student "flat grant" under this unfair formula.

That $600 per student would make a huge difference in Frankfort, but means virtually nothing to Roundout.

3)Increase education tax credits for parents who choose private education. The state averages over $4,000 in aid to districts for each student. Average education operating costs in Illinois are about $9500 per student. Let the parents get a $5,000 tax credit for paying their childrens' way in private schools, and it leaves the remaining $4500 to the students who choose to stay in the public system. It works for the kids, it works for families, it works for the taxpayers. They only ones who lose are the teacher's unions. Whose side are you on Msrs Kadner and Meeks?

All this could be done without ANY tax increases, and in fact would actually decrease public education costs while empowering parrents and communities.

Whay aren't Mr Kadner and Senator Meeks supporting these reforms?

I guess they support something other than the best interest of the children and citizens.

Anonymous said...

Subject: General State Aid
Importance: High

Dear Senator Meeks,

Thank you for your questions earlier today regarding the calculation of General State Aid. You had asked whether attendance the first day of school is any more important in determining the General State Aid payment than other days during the year. As we discussed, attending school is always important, but the first day does not weigh more heavily in the calculation of general state aid than any other day.

The first day of school does not carry any additional weight as a day of attendance. Its only “special” value is that the first day is allowed to count as one of the 180 days required for the school calendar even if the students do not receive five full hours of instruction. For school calendar purposes, the first day of school may be less than five hours if the preceding day is an institute or teacher workshop. For purposes of calculating state aid, however, students must still attend school for five hours on the first day for that day to be counted as a full day of attendance.

Although attendance the first day has no more impact in the calculation of state aid, attendance tends to be higher in the early portion of the school year. Attendance tends to decline with bad weather and the days adjacent to school winter and spring holiday sessions. For this reason, in order to assure that the school starts the year with the highest possible attendance, many districts emphasize the first day of school. They hope to further boost to their average for the more highly attended portion of the year.

Higher attendance also benefits the ADA School Safety and Education Block grant payments which are paid in October and April each year. With the change in the law last year, the ADA School Safety and Education Block grant is paid to recognized nonpublic schools in addition to all public school districts.

General State Aid payments are paid twice each month. General State Aid is paid based, not on individual days, but upon the best three months average daily attendance for the school year or the best three for the last 3 school years whichever is greater. For General State Aid purposes, a full day of attendance is counted for a student who receives instruction for at least 5 hours (or 300 minutes). A half-day of attendance is counted for a student who receives instruction for at least 150 minutes, but less than 300 minutes. Attendance is not counted if a student is taught less than 150 minutes.

Responses to other frequently asked questions regarding General State Aid can be found on the ISBE website at

Again, Senator Meeks, thank you for your interest in General State Aid. Should you have any further questions regarding anything else related to the finances of the Illinois State Board of Education, please let me know.