My name is Jan and I am the Co-president of the teacher's union at Streator Elementary. Over the past six years we have watched our school district slip away due to the state not funding the school districts the way they are supposed to be funded and by the loss of property taxes in our community. Our district is made up of 72% low income and our property assessed value is at $1.32, far less than any other town in our county. We've tried to pass a referendum but the people in our town just cannot afford to have their property taxes raised. Combine that with the fact that the State of Illinois has failed to pay our school district over $4 million dollars in the past 6 years, we are currently in deficit spending. We have made so many cuts, that it is no longer about hoping the kids of Streator receive a solid education but that they hopefully have a place to go to school a month from now. We have closed a school in our district, cut 34 teachers, cut all support staff to 29 hours and have taken away their insurance, We no longer have Art and Music in the Junior High and PE in the elementary buildings. The Band program is being funded by the community and the sports program is on the cutting block for next year. At this point we are looking to have 32-34 students in a class next year. I have contacted Governor Rauner about possibly going to a four day school week, in hopes of saving approximately $350,000 in transportation and fuel. There are school districts in the state of Illinois that can actually make it without the help from the State, but those of us with a high number of low income will not have that luxury. We are not educating the students of Illinois equally. But it falls on deaf ears when you contact anyone from the state. Our students are suffering. We, the teachers, try to work as best we can to provide them with the education they deserve, but the rooms are becoming over-crowded, the programs are being cut, and we are doing all we can with less. With the $125,000 I will continue the sports program and clubs, and rehire the PE teacher and secretary they cut for the 2016-2017 school year. We are hoping by August the state will have made a decision on our four day school week or on fully funding us again, so that we don't experience more cuts down the road. With 72% low income I'm not sure what the state expects us to do, but we can't turn our backs on these kids, they are our future.
The Streator Elementary School district would so appreciate your help. We feel we are holding on by a thread and would not ask for this money unless we were desperate. If we get the money before the end of this school year we can put these
items into place before the 2016 school year. The money could be used in so many places, but I promise it will be used directly on the students of Streator Elementary!!!! Thank you so much!!