School vote will be a positive move

To the editor,

Voters in Anna, Jonesboro and Lick Creek will have a chance on March 20th to have a real voice in bringing new opportunity to our school communities.

The voters will decide whether a new unit school district should be formed from the four separate districts (A-J High School, Lick Creek, Anna and Jonesboro).

All four of the school districts could be combined or any combination thereof.

Any vote that results in reorganizing/combining any of the four districts will be a positive move.

The benefits include administrative cost savings, opportunity for curriculum alignment, additional class offerings, and student programs maintained or in some cases reestablished.

Regardless of how your vote reorganizes the schools, one important questions is "what happens next" in the event there is a reorganization of the districts that occurs.

The following is an outline of what the Committee of Ten believes should/will occur:

I. The Districts that reorganize/combine should begin working together to get ready for the transition to one unit district in order to better assist the new school board that will be elected;

II. Voters will elect a new 7 member school board, elected at large within the newly combined districts, at the general election (November of 2012) – thus reducing the total number of school boards in the community;

III. This newly combined unit district would become effective July 1, 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year;

IV. Students of the newly combined unit district will attend the same school building they attended the prior year, thus the students will notice very little change if any;

V. Over a 4 year period (2013/14-2017/18) the newly combined unit district will receive incentive money of up to $6.2 million for reorganizing if all 4 districts vote yes, thus bringing a real financial "shot in the arm" to our schools and community;

VI. Over this same 4 year period, cost savings and increased efficiencies will continue to be identified and capitalized on by the new school board. A conservative cost saving estimate for just the first year of the new unit district (all 4 districts vote yes) is $579,500!

Let's not pass up this great opportunity to take control of our educational destiny.

We do not want the State of Illinois to force its own version of how we should reorganize upon us.

Vote YES on the March 20th referendum to advance and improve our education system for generations of students to come!

Respectfully submitted by Tim Keller on behalf of the Committee of Ten


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