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Legislative Update

Progress was recently made on one legislative concern for District 300, while district staff and families continue to advocate on another.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy returned to Springfield recently (May 7) to support a proposed 1-year moratorium on virtual/online charter schools in Illinois.  The legislation (House Bill 494) was supposed to be considered last week at the capitol but was postponed.  It was finally heard May 7 by a subcommittee on charter schools and then the Senate Education Committee, which has now passed the bill on to the full Senate for a vote.  Dr. Bregy was joined by several of the other 18 superintendents representing Fox Valley districts opposed to a recent proposal by Virtual Learning Solutions Inc. (VLS) to establish an online-only charter school.  While virtual learning is already an important part of the D300 curriculum, and the existing D300 charter school is a valued component of our educational programming, the block of 18 school districts feel strongly that more time – in the form of a 1-year moratorium - is needed to develop a better option for students than the VLS proposal.  For further background on this issue, please click here.

In other Springfield news, the parents, students, staff, and school board members who serve on the D300 Board Legislative Committee continue to push for support of the district’s legislative priorities, including state transportation funding.  The committee members recently held local meetings with eight of the nine state legislators who represent the D300 area while they were not in session.  (Senator Dan Duffy, who represents Algonquin and other portions of D300, said last month that he was not available to meet locally until June.)  These one-on-one conversations helped legislators new to representing D300 due to new legislative boundaries – including State Reps. Bob Pritchard and David McSweeney, as well as State Senators Karen McConnaughay and Dave Syverson – get to know the school district’s history, successes and priorities.  The meetings also ensured that legislators experienced in representing the D300 area – including State Senator Michael Noland and State Reps. Mike Tryon, Tim Schmitz, and Keith Farnham – stayed informed about the district’s concerns and were held to account for their voting records.

These individual meetings provided the district with crucial insights on a variety of legislation, including the transportation funding issue.  As a result, the committee members will spend the next several days personally calling Governor Pat Quinn and a few dozen key legislators across the state to advocate for full funding of transportation. State leaders are now considering the Governor’s proposal that would slash D300’s regular education transportation funding from $1.8 million to a projected $60,000 in the 2013-2014 school year.  That’s on top of the 24% cut (totaling $3.5 million) that the state has already made to D300 bus funding in the past three years!

Some in Springfield believe that even if the district is successful this month in convincing legislators not to cut transportation funding even further, that state leaders will just find another part of the education budget to cut.  So the message to legislators right now is two-fold:

  • District 300 already runs a highly efficient transportation system that, if further reduced, might force hundreds of families to start driving their children to school or students to walk even further to school.  This would create major traffic, logistical and safety problems, as well as widening the achievement gap between those families who do and don’t have the means to reliably get their children to school.
  • Whether it’s busing or some other education line-item, we have got to stop letting public education be the “go to” for balancing the state’s budget problems.  We are a fiscally responsible school district which has worked to control costs in the face of unending state mandates.  NO MORE EDUCATION CUTS! 

Community and staff members who would like to support this advocacy effort are welcome to call the following legislators this month (May):

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District Office
Phone: 847-551-8300
Fax: 847-551-8413
Community Unit School District 300

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Algonquin, IL 60102
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