1% sales tax: how much have we received?

one_percent_sales_tax_distributionsWith all the talk of the high school location, a property tax referendum and references back to the 1% sales tax (and promises made), I got to thinking “How much money has Unit 4 received as a result of the 1% sales tax?” I have asked Matt Foster and am waiting for a response. So in the meantime, I have also asked Regional Superintendent Jane Quinlan, who kindly provided a PDF showing all distributions of 1% sales tax money in Champaign (and Ford) County. I have asked that Ms. Quinlan provide an Excel spreasheet of the document, so hopefully I can update this post when that comes in. I have also asked that this information be posted by the ROE’s website. Hopefully annually. 🙂

 

For Champaign schools:

2010: $4,251,859.73
2011: $6,790,436.80
2012: $6,982,475.04
2013: $7,115,047.42
Total: $25,139,818.99

 

It is interesting to note that Unit 4 takes more than a third of the entire pie from two counties. Champaign and Urbana together equal half the pie. Pretty amazing.

 

So now that I have these numbers, I will be leaning on Unit 4 and Matt Foster for where this money went once Unit 4 received it. I know the Promises Made Promises Kept committee talks about this stuff all the time, but the documents shared at those meetings are not online, and thus all we see are the summary meeting minutes. Also, I have been told that the Unit 4 website does have other relevant documents online, but it is hard for me to find them.

School Board changing a bit

Last week the NG reported that Tom Lockman had stepped down from his seat on the board. Yesterday the NG reported that Sue Grey has done likewise.

 

Obviously this makes things interesting for the board. Due to the laws about filling and appointing seats, the board has to file papers with the Regional Office of Education (ROE – Jane Quinlan’s turf) with some lead time before appointing new members. Now the rest of the board has two vacancies to fill in January, to serve out the rest the remaining 4 months until the April elections. To date, I only know of four people who have publicly made noises about running for the elections in April, two of them are incumbent. So….. that means the other two could potentially express an interest in these vacancies. Will they?

 

Last week I wrote a letter to the editor urging citizens to make their voices known and get involved in (very) local governing bodies. The school board is one such place where you can speak up. What can your school board do for you? There is a ton of stuff going on in the school district right now; lots of positive things, but also lots of changes in progress. Not everyone likes change. What do you want to see happen?

The Purpose of Education, part 2

A fair number of folks responded to me personally and provided a diverse wealth of perspectives on this question. I proactively ask your forgiveness for not mentioning all the nuances here. 🙂

Aside from posing the question here, I also asked Dr. Wiegand, the Board, the Regional Superintendent Jane Quinlan, State Superintendent Chris Koch (pronounced “Cook”) and had a lovely chat with Dr. Lynda Vaughn of the Public School Recognition Division of the ISBE General Counsel. I dug around in the Illinois Compiled Statues section 105 (ILCS 105 – School Code) and Article X of the Illinois State Constitution. The latter led me to do some googling about the nation’s Constitution and found some rather intriguing websites pontificating on the sorry state of how we citizens have given away too much power to the government (1, 2, 3).

I initially had this desire to get a reading on the general feel for why we send our kids to school. My exploration has led me on a journey across many landscapes; and I do not think I have reached the end, yet. But let us get back to the basic question. Why do you send your child to school? We all assume this is a no-brainer. “Well, duh! So they can learn stuff” I could even project this out to any kind of school including those who homeschool. We all think that a child should go to school. But when I start to examine the root reasons behind that motivation, I start to find a wide variety of opinions, theories, conjecture, beliefs and goals.

And right now, Read the rest of this entry »