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School Board OK's Two Kindergarten Teachers, Assistants

The Geneva School Board will add two teachers and two assistants, one each at Mill Creek Elementary and Williamsburg Elementary, to alleviate crowded kindergarten classes at those schools.

In what was expected to be a confrontation between parents and board members, Tuesday night's special board meeting turned out to be a lesson in how to solve problems by listening and working together.

After hearing from several parents concerned about busing their kindergarteners from and to other area schools with lower enrollment estimates, the board voted unanimously to hire two teachers, one each for Mill Creek and Williamsburg. Two additional teacher assistants will also be hired. 

The cost to the district is $64,300 for the new teachers, but board member Mike McCormick pointed out that the actual cost will be about $48,000, the difference when you consider busing costs of $16,200 that would have been spent. 

The room erupted in applause when McCormick announced, "I'm going to be supporting hiring new teachers." 

In a letter mailed to parents a few weeks ago, the board indicated that it was planning to take action on the issue and that it would consider moving students to the other schools with lower enrollments or to hire more teachers. 

Amy Hamilton, who has a 5-year-old entering kindergarten in the fall at Williamsburg, became emotional when talking about how busing would impact her son. 

"He's a little nervous, he's 5 years old," she said. "But he takes comfort from the fact that he can get on that bus with the big kids, and with five other kindergarteners that I live near."

Hamilton submitted a petition with 175 names asking that the board add another class at the school. 

Melissa Swierczewski lives in Mill Creek and told the board that Mill Creek Elementary is unique.

"We are a new construction neighborhood with new houses," she said. "Enrollment at Mill Creek is not going to decrease. These types of homes in this type of neighborhood are very rarely bought by empty nesters. The overwhelming demographic of the homes purchased in our section of Mill Creek is young families."

Vice President Kelly Nowak suggested the board consider a boundary study and to review class sizes regularly to better understand what the expectations are.

President Mark Grosso said "everyone here seems to be real upset because a suggestion was made that we may want to bus a couple of kids."

"It looked like an enrollment bubble at the last meeting," he said. 

He blamed the Internet and social media for causing parents to "jump to a lot of conclusions." 

Grosso said at the last board meeting the board asked for some additional information so they could look at it, review it, and "make a decision based on what we felt was the right decision for this district." 

After each of the board members voted "aye," the room erupted in applause.

Grosso announced, "The motion is approved."

Caroline G July 20, 2012 at 06:06 PM
No Thomas, I am not an anarchist. You are correct that I am referring to public education as that was the topic of the article. It is the most significant tax we have locally since it gobbles up 2/3 of every tax dollar. Government does have legitimate functions. You are not opening my eyes to the wonderful world of government. Just because the government doesn't do something doesn't mean it wouldn't be done. It's a bit of a leap to say that I don't see a benefit to an educated citizenry just because I believe people should pay for their choices. Maybe they should be paying more for education rather than purchasing homes their income can't support? I know that no one will be out from under the thumb of education as long as the system stays the way it is. Good luck to all the children who grow up to pay taxes of their very own. I wonder how much of their earnings they will be allowed to keep? On the flip side of your toll road and Metra scenario, you would be keeping the tax dollars you send to subsidize them. If you don't use them, you are ahead. I believe that there are still volunteer firefighters but I will stick to having them at the ready just in case. The same goes with the police. I appreciate the history lesson, however I respectfully disagree with Mr. Jefferson.
Thomas July 20, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Your right Bob, you haven't said you plan on "changing the educational programs" but what you "have said" would result in "limiting the access" to those programs to only the children of parents who can AFFORD TO PAY EXTRA CASH. You even said in a previous post that if you were asked to pay more for "the extras" like AP classes or sports , back when your kids were in school your child would not have participated. That would have been a shame because you said that one of your kids was a pretty good runner.
Bob McQuillan July 21, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Thomas What Is aid was that I would probably make a deal with my child that he or she would have to contribute to the cost, I did not say they would not participate. I gave the example of my son playing ice hockey. If parents are expecting that the community will continue to pay fees for extra activities then they are in for a rude awakening. As far as "limiting access" to those whose parents can only afford to pay extra cash, welcome to the real world. It is a lesson that every young person will learn once they graduate high school anyway.
Thomas July 21, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Bob, You actually gave me two responses: "I would have paid what was required or my children would not have participated. Actually, I would have split the athletic costs with my child like i did when my son wanted to play ice hockey." And you had mentioned in a post that you had a son that ran with Dan Huling. I am sorry, I assumed he ran on the same Geneva Cross Country team that you said finished 2nd in state. My bad. It is nice to know that your children had paying jobs throughout there elementary middle school and high school careers that they would have been able to help you subsidize "the extras". I don't know if everyone today would be able to say that. If you think current parents of kids in Geneva schools will be eagerly willing to pay more on top of what many have described as "crushing real estate" taxes without putting up a fight at board meetings than welcome to the real world.
Bob McQuillan July 21, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Thomas My one son did run on the Geneva Cross Country Team with Dan Huling, I have two sons. All three of my children starting working at age 16 and do provide help on some of the extras like car insurance, hockey equipment, etc. Current parents do already pay for the extras like travel teams. They just don't want to pay extra for school team sports. That is sad because school team sports help round out the students. I hold by my opinion that those that use the extras will need to pay more for the extras.

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