R.E.A.CH. votes to oppose jail referendum

R.E.A.CH. votes to oppose jail referendum


For the second time this year, the group R.E.A.CH. (Rockford Educating All Children) is opposing District 205’s referendum and will hold a forum to debate the referendum issue on Oct. 7, 2002.

R.E.A.CH. opposes the referendum for the following reasons:

1. District 205 will still receive monies from the April 2001 referendum in 2003. Current 58 cents referendum can be levied until Dec. 2003. The district will receive MORE money next year even if the referendum FAILS.

2. R.E.A.CH. was right that the district continues to overspend and has raised the deficit to $39.25 million. The district has NOT kept its promises to balance their budget and reduce the deficit. Dr. Brown has TRIPLED the deficit since his arrival in July 2000, and the school board majority (Michael Bliss, Nancy Kalchbrenner, Jay Nellis and Michael Williams) have INCREASED it by 50 percent in less than a year.

3. School Board gave Bob Howard almost $6 million and dropped appeals of his fees—millions of dollars could have been saved.

4. Dr. Brown claimed on WNTA on 9/4/02 that he had cut 211 jobs. Current employee numbers show that he has only cut 93 jobs.

5. Board made a huge error asking voters in March 2002 to approve using Corporate Replacement Taxes to fund bonds to pay back tax protesters in one lump sum payment. Taxes are decreasing and will mean more cuts to the Education Fund budget.

R.E.A.CH. votes to ask District 205 Board to remove the referendum from the November ballot:

A. District 205 has NOT kept its promise to have balanced budgets and make the cuts. Deficit is projected to hit $50 million next year because of overspending. District has to make $17 million in cuts to balance this year’s budget and reduce the deficit before asking voters to extend 58 cents levy.

B. Obviously, with this administration and board majority, extension of the 58-cent referendum will cause the deficit to rise, not decrease.

R.E.A.CH. votes on 2002-03 Goals:

A. Insist that District 205 support the rights of parents and students who want the TPI or ESL (English as a Second Language) program to transition their non-English-speaking students to speak, read and write in English by increasing locations for this program. Currently, elementary ESL students are limited to a few schools on the west side only. Insist that the Parent Information Center inform parents about this fabulous program, which is a success story in District 205

and is an alternative to the segregated bilingual program.

B. Find “Serious Seven” or “Focused Five”—school board candidates who will be serious and focus on education, financial integrity and inclusion of ALL citizens and work to educate the public on these candidates.

C. Work with the school board to implement R.E.A.CH.’s education and facility goals.

D. Create a realistic financial plan for District 205.

E. Work with the school board to increase community representation on the Operation and Education committees.

F. Have Rock Valley Board of Trustees’ presentation (not accomplished 2001-02).

G. Update our Equity Plan.

H. Other

R.E.A.CH. votes in 2002-03 Board of Directors: Ted Biondo, Scott Carter, Barb Dent, Kathy Kelley, Les Pergande, Randy Schultz, Mike Smith. The 2002-03 officers are: Barb Dent, chair; Scott Carter, co-chair; Kathy Kelley, secretary; Mike Smith, treasurer.

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