Superintendent's Corner 😎☀️😎

Avoca District 37

In this issue ...

  • The Significance of June 19th - Juneteenth
  • Avoca Students Leading the Way
  • Summer Learning
  • Planning for School Re-Opening (important)
  • Finances - Year End Report, Projections & Tentative Budget
  • Board Meeting Review / Preview

The Significance of June 19th - Juneteenth

June 19th is known as "Juneteenth" and represents what should be among the most significant dates in American History. This is the date in 1865 widely acknowledged by historians and the Black American community as the date when Union General Granger notified enslaved Americans in Galveston,Texas that they had been emancipated - two years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.


Annually thereafter - even though it posed a danger for them - Black Americans celebrated Juneteenth as the day when enslavement ended. When so much has risen to the surface recently due to the violence against Black Americans, we must all remember that this violence and ignoring the history of this violence is not new. However, we must take active steps to end this history of racist violence. Recognizing the importance of Juneteenth is one small way we can do this. If you want to learn more about Juneteenth, you can access this brief resource

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/501680/12-things-you-might-not-know-about-juneteenth


And you can sign this petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday

https://www.change.org/p/united-states-congress-make-juneteenth-a-national-holiday-in-2020

Avoca Students Leading the Way

Summer Learning

I know that many of you reading this are concerned about your students' summer learning and not having them fall 'behind' due to the challenges of remote learning. This is very understandable and I believe -and there is research to support this- that students' mental well being and physical health is a major contributor to their ability to learn successfully.


I hope that for the next few weeks you can find a way to support their mental and physical health and help them 'unplug' as much as possible after such a sustained period of digital connection.


In July, some students will be attending District 39's Summer Learning Program and we will post links and resources that you can access which will help slowly restart students' academic learning engines as we rev up toward the fall. The resources available will increase as the month progresses and we can curate more, and there will be ample opportunities for your students to engage academically online before we return to school.


In the meantime, we hope students have a chance to get outside, play (safely), engage in non-digital activities, and re-energize.

Planning for Re-opening School

In a few days the Illinois State Board of Education will release guidance regarding the re-opening of schools. Our primary responsibility is always to maximize the health and safety of our students and staff and community. Our three basic options to re-open will be:


1. Open with all students at school and putting in place many safeguards, protocols, and practices that will make it possible to operate school in the safest way possible.

2. Open with fully Remote Learning, which would be an improved and streamlined version of Remote Learning from Spring 2020.

3. A hybrid version where some students would be onsite, while some would learn remotely, and students would alternate between the two so every student received an equitable in-person/remote experience that maximized health and safety.


However, we will not finalize until at least mid-July which option we will utilize for a number of reasons. First, the status of the COVID-19 spread changes rapidly and each week brings new learning about its spread and the research teaching us how to combat it. This learning affects which option might be best. Second, state guidance has typically changed over time, and we want to wait as long as possible to determine if that guidance changes from June through July. Third, more time means we can plan each option in detail rather than committing to just one right now.


I am grateful for your patience. My administration is keeping the Board informed, and I will be conducting more ZOOM parent focus groups in late June or early July. Please keep an eye on these updates and the website for more information.

Finances - Year End Report, Projections & Tentative Budget

At the June 4 Board meeting, Beth Dever, our Chief School Business Official, reported to the Board on the District's year-end finances, financial projections, and presented a tentative budget for discussion.


Year-End Finances

A year ago, we had projected an operating deficit of approximately $988,000. However, due to a number of factors, that operating deficit will more likely be approximately $500,000. It is not clear if this trend will continue, because the contributing factors are not easy to predict.


Projections

Due to the likely affect of COVID-19 on the economy, it is projected that District 37 revenues will fall precipitously in the next three fiscal years. This means the operating deficit will grow wider than had previously been predicted. It is likely that the District's fund balance will be so low by June 2024 that the district would need to take out loans to meet operating expenditures.


Tentative Budget

A tentative budget was presented (and approved on June 18). That budget would have produced a lower operating deficit than past years, except for the projected expenses and lower revenues that are projected due to adapting to COVID-19 circumstances. Nonetheless, over the summer, the Administration will be examining how it can hold down costs and lower the operating deficit for the fiscal year that ends in June, 2021.


You can see Ms. Dever's memo and details by clicking here.

Board Meeting Review / Preview

June 4


  • COVID 19 - Report
  • Finance Committee - Report
  • Tentative Budget & Projections - Discussion
  • 2020-21 Calendar - Discussion
  • IASB Resolution - Collegiate Coursework in Early Literacy Instruction


June 18

  • 2020-21 Calendar - Discussion
  • Re-opening School - Discussion
  • Tentative Budget FY21 - Action
  • Administrator Contracts - Action
  • Non-certified staff compensation - Action
  • Special Education Transportation Contracts - Action


You may access the full agenda and materials by clicking here.