The District worked with the Consortium for Educational Change (CEC) to develop a District climate survey to be administered this fall and spring as part of our efforts to monitor our climate so it remains conducive to student achievement. The survey of staff, parents, and middle school students focused on the status of the elements necessary to provide a supportive environment. The Goal 2 Superintendent Advisory met on Oct. 29 to discuss the results and formulate how to present the information to the school community. It was agreed that the results would be color-coded within each goal area with green indicating 80-100% agreement, yellow indicating 70-79% agreement, and red indicating 69% or below agreement. In terms of responses, the CEC noted that the advisory committee should utilize as its standard the response rates as designated in the 5Essentials Survey. Utilizing that model, the District was above the 50% threshold for participation by District staff with 232 responses out of a possible 367. However, the District did not reach the 30% threshold for parent participation with 116 responses from our 3,200+ parents. The CEC indicated that the District has a strong foundation as its benchmark for future surveys with 99.9% of staff responses in the "green" band and suggested the District continue on a maintenance mode going forward until the next survey is administered in the spring.
In a follow-up report to the Board of Education, it was noted that the District saved more than $2.2 million in interest savings over the life of the bonds on a net present value basis despite extending the repayment schedule by two years.
Secondly, the District debt service will rise gradually over the length of the schedule, from this year’s $5.7 million to a peak of $7 million in FY 2025-26, avoiding the steep increases that were designed into the original 2005 schedule, when growth in the tax base was projected to cover those large, year-to-year increases in debt payments.
And finally, the bond payment schedule is structured to produce a tax rate of $.70 every year starting with the 2014 levy. A flat tax rate protects the taxpayers from a rising tax rate for payment of the District’s debt and allows the District more flexibility in managing tax rates for operations in future years.
Parents are welcome to recognize District 161 staff members who go above and beyond! Each school and the District Administrative Center is sporting a “Wall of Gratitude” where parents, staff members, and community members can post words of appreciation and thanks for the efforts of our staff members in helping District 161 students succeed. All staff members are eligible for recognition. Recognition forms are available on the District website (bottom right corner). Each month honorees will be recognized during a Board of Education meeting as part of the implementation of Board Goal #2.