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February 2016
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Educational Foundation Trivia Night
PFA One Love One District Event
In the coming weeks, the debate over school funding reform will once again take front and center stage in Illinois politics.  Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) has called the current school funding formula "the crisis of our times."  House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has appointed a special task force to examine school funding.  Governor Rauner has called the current system, "broken."  And Chicago Public Schools appear to be on the verge of financial ruin.  So, what impact might the inevitable forthcoming reforms have on Palos 118?  Let's hope history is not indicative of what's to come.

In 2015, Senator Manar (D-Bunker Hill) introduced Senate Bill 16 (later Senate Bill 1) proposing to shift a large portion of the already inadequate pool of state funding from "property rich" school districts to "property poor" school districts that rely more heavily on state resources for day to day operations.  I applaud and support Senator Manar's call to increase funding for poor school districts, but the logic behind this and other recent so called reforms is deeply flawed.  It relies on the misconception that "property rich" school districts, like Palos 118, can easily generate more money at the local level to make up for corresponding cuts in state funding.  That simply is not true.

Under Senate Bill 16, Palos 118 would have lost $1.4 million in state funding.  In order to make up for that at the local level, we would have had to levy $1.4 million more in local property taxes.  But the property tax cap law limits the school district from increasing local property taxes above the annual rate of inflation.  Under the tax cap, last year's increase in local property taxes was limited to approximately $200,000.  And we are thankful to our local taxpayers for that increase.  But how would we make up the $1.2 million difference between the proposed loss in state funding and the additional amount we can generate in local taxes?  I'm sure you already know the answer.  There are only two options, program cuts or referendum.  Palos 118 hasn't passed a referendum since the 1960's. 

Palos 118, like a responsible family, has and will continue to prepare for an uncertain future.  We balance our budgets, watch closely our expenses, and increase our savings when we can.  We implement programs and offer services we know we can afford.  We borrow when interest rates are low to maintain and improve our school buildings. And, how are we rewarded for being good financial stewards of our taxpayers' hard earned money?  We're told we don't deserve the little we do get in state support.

We need school funding reform in Illinois that starts with the acknowledgement that the responsibility to provide all students with a quality education is the state's responsibility.  The residents of Palos Park, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Worth, Orland Park, and unincorporated Cook County that we proudly serve did not create the financial mess in Springfield.  They dutifully send their income and sales tax to Springfield and they deserve to keep the little bit that comes back in school support.  Governor Rauner said last Thursday. "I won't allow some school districts to give up money or lose money to give to other school districts. That, we will not support."  Neither can we.  

Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella,
Superintendent of Schools

Transitioning to High School Math
Last spring, High School District 230 announced that they will be implementing integrated math courses during the 2016-2017 school year for incoming freshmen. Integrated math is designed so that students will learn multiple disciplines of math in one course. For example, instead of having a geometry course, students will have a course that covers equations, inequalities, exponential functions, algebra and geometry, throughout the same course at the high school level.

The Palos South eighth grade math teachers who currently teach our 8th grade algebra and honors/advanced 8th grade algebra courses, which were designed around the D230 freshman algebra courses, have been undergoing professional development with the D230 math teachers to better prepare our students the integrated math courses. According to administrators at D230, this will be the last year in which 8th grade students who test out of freshmen level math will go into geometry or honors geometry. In subsequent years, students who test out of freshman level math (Integrated Math 1 and Honors Integrated Math 1) will go into Integrated Math 2 or Honors Integrated Math 2. To gather more information regarding D230's transition to Integrated Math, parents can visit the Stagg website at http://stagg.d230.org/departments/integrated-math

As the D118 middle school math committee continues its work to prepare our students for success at the next level, we will strive to keep parents informed as information becomes available.   

One District-One Book Recap
I'm pleased to announce that over 100 students and families participated in this year's One District-One Book event which was held at Palos South last week.  Students participated in a variety of activities related to Cece Bell's graphic novel, "El Deafo." I want to send a giant THANK YOU! to all of the teachers, media center specialists, and Mrs. Balayti for coordinating another successful community reading event. In an era where kids can play video games, view over 200 TV channels, or stream a movie to any electronic device in seconds, it's good to know that the art of reading for enjoyment is still appreciated by the Palos 118 community. 
For new students attending first grade in the fall of 2016
February 23, 2016

Parents of incoming kindergarteners are able to start the registration process by going to our website and clicking on student registration.
One District One Book Reading Celebration

On February 9, the annual One District One Book event was held at Palos South, celebrating Cece Bell's graphic novel, "El Deafo."  Over 100 students and parents came out to support the event.  Participants were able to play El Deafo Jeopardy, create book marks with sign language stamps, explore iPad activities, create "warm and fuzzies," make their own comic strip, and much more.  Fun was had by all who attended.
Job Opening
District 118 is looking for school bus drivers.  No experience necessary; will train, medical benefits available, and summers and holidays off.  Contact Mary Meyer, Coordinator of Transportation, at 708-761-5870 for more information.
People You Should Know...
"Superior Perfect" Musicians
Francesca Hammerstein, Joe O'Heir, Aydan Wilson, Jacqueline Perez, and John Farley.

Tasia Chibucos, David Karpinski, and Morgan Graf. Not pictured: Julienne Gutang.

On February 6, Palos 118 band members participated in the 11th Annual Palos South Solo/Ensemble contest. The students performed almost 150 solos and ensembles for adjudicators and received ratings ranging from superior perfect to excellent. 
The combined ratings are as follows:
35 - 2 nd or excellent ratings
144 - 1st or superior ratings
Superior Perfect ratings were awarded to eight outstanding musicians pictured above.

Congratulations to all of our fine Palos 118 Band members.
Join the PFA for  their largest fundraiser
of the year!

Saturday, March 5 
Gaelic Park
7 p.m. - 11 p.m.


District 118         Palos South         Palos East         Palos West