Board members discussed District 214's new dual credit partnership with Lewis University that will allow students to begin earning an associate's degree and industry-supported aviation maintenance certificate while still in high school.
The partnership, which is one new addition to the 2018-19 Academic Handbook, will give students the opportunity to complete their associate's degree within 18 months of high school graduation. With several airports in the region, individuals with the aviation maintenance certificate, considered the gold standard by the FAA, are in high demand.
As part of the 2018-19 Academic Handbook, the District also is recommending to recognize all dual-credit college level coursework with honor's level weighting. This weighting acknowledges the level of rigor and expectations required of what is a college course, whether it's delivered on or off campus.
District 214 is committed to offering students a variety of opportunities to earn college credits while they still are in high school, with an ultimate goal of ensuring our students leave our doors poised to excel. With the addition of the Lewis University partnership, District 214 families have access to 66 early college courses for a total of 224 credits.
As part of his superintendent's report, Dr. David Schuler highlighted the recent Arlington High School Homecoming event, where more than 750 alumni gathered to celebrate the legacy of District 214's first school.
At the event, the District 214 Education Foundation announced the creation of The Cardinal Fund, named for the mascot of Arlington High School. The fund, aimed at college and career success, will directly support Advanced Placement tests for students who cannot afford them, opening the door to early college credit and thousands of dollars in college tuition. It also will support credentialing fees for District 214 students who complete career credentials while still in high school, positioning them for future success.
Dr. Schuler noted that three board members - Bill Dussling, Mark Hineman and Alva Kreutzer - retained their status as Master Board members under the Illinois School Board Association.
2017-18 Budget Approved
The Board of Education approved the 2017-2018 budget at the September 28 board meeting. As a result of strong fiscal stewardship and ongoing cost containment initiatives, the $243,950,000 operating budget is balanced outside of planned construction projects. For more than 20 consecutive years, the District has had a balanced operating budget, meaning revenues are equal to expenditures.
The operating budget includes a projected 1 percent increase in both revenue and expenses. Salaries and benefits make up about 79 percent of expenses.
The budget also reflects the District's commitment to financial responsibility. As part of ongoing cost containment initiatives, the District has reconfigured servers, saving about $100,000 annually, reduced printing and pulled back on paper, saving $200,000 each year, and completed a lighting project that will save energy costs anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000 annually.
Capital projects are funded within the budget to update Buffalo Grove and Rolling Meadows high schools. Specifically, a music wing and a renovated academic resource center will be added to Buffalo Grove. A black box theatre and a fine & performing arts storage will be added to Rolling Meadows.
The decision to spend money on capital projects was not made in isolation; rather, months were spent inviting taxpayers to share their ideas. We invited them for listening sessions and encouraged them to submit their thoughts in writing. We received feedback from several hundred residents, and additional input from advisory groups that included parents, staff and students. In the end, we focused on important upgrades to the district's aging buildings.