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Emails for August 2004

Questions and concerns on grade school site configuration


First off a big THANK YOU for having Minonk Talk, it is one way or the only way some people get information.

After reading the article on public forums set for presenting grade site options posted Friday June 30, 2004 we have some questions and concerns and was wondering if other readers have the same or different concerns.

We have always enjoyed the fact that our son has had the benefit of having small class sizes, that is one great reward of living in a small community. As we read the proposals for grade sites they say in there about class sizes going to 30 - 35, to us that is not a small class size, and does the schools have any clasrooms that can fit that many kids in a classroom?

We are one school district so we do like the options of all classes together and as far as switching buildings, the kids would be able to do it as a class, with their friends, and not be split up because of where you live.

We have trouble understanding this option of closing and / or sale of the South elementary building is a substantial savings. First off when the taxpayers of Fieldcrest passed the referendum to build on to South, how many years was that for, how many years will our taxes keep going up for that referendum? If South gets closed or sold are we the taxpayers of Fieldcrest still gonna be paying for South even though it is closed? Or will our taxes go down? Also if South gets closed are the other buildings big enough for the extra students? Or in a couple years will the taxpayers be asked for another referendum because of overcrowding?

In the list under costs it states that : add an additional science lab at Wenona, what or who will be paying for that addition, or can the space we have now be utilized? Again on the costs list it states that it would become necessary to make all buildings ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant (possible with any change from the current configuration.) Isn't South ADA compliable? If South is ADA compliable, then why close it? One more thing under costs it states district could operate with 4 administrators (as we are currently doing), did South get a new principal? We have 4 buildings now South, High School, East and West which all have principals, why would we need 5 administrators, that is if administrators are principals.

The committee developed a chart to show current student population and projections for 2004 - 2005. There will also be a chart to indicate differences in Revenue (income) as part of the various funds for the district, but more importantly, for the Education fund. The three configuration proposals will be shown on large charts indicationg low, medium and high savings for each of the proposals. No monetary figures will be indicated. Why wont they show the savings figures?

Under the category it states: The establishment of an intramural program would provide an avenue for the district to continue offering sports opportunities to the students. Bigger team pool available at junior high level; but school size changes to AA classification at junior high level. We hope that the decision on what or if there is a decision made on what to do does not hinder on sports or what classification, ect. The sports programs, and all the extras are nice but we feel education should come first. Isn't the activities and praticipations fees (which started this school year 2004 - 2005) supposta pay for the extras?

Lastly Dave as we have said before "THANK YOU" for the Minonk talk it is a way to get information, but you have to wonder how many people have access to the internet? Or was this information posted elsewhere? We know that this is the only place we have read about it. We are really sad that our school district can not (or will not) send out newsletters. Sending out newsletters through the mail is a sure way that all the residents of Fieldcrest schoold district can / did get school related information. Which brings me to the fact that school registration was earlier this year. Normally it has been around the 2nd week of August. Why did it get changed this year or why we were not informed is beyond us. School registration dates and times or school start date are not even on the school website, wonder why not? If the school district sent out newsletters through the mail, everyone would have been informed.

Think that is called "Communication"


Randy and Peggy Winters

Proposal conflicts in Minonk

I read the article in the Woodford County Journal of August 12 concerning the Fieldcrest Grade Site Configuration Study and how the committee has narrowed the proposals to three. In proposal number 6 the grade school in Minonk is not mentioned. It would be a real shame to close this school. The building is sound. The new addition, which was provided for by the last school referendum has air conditioning, an elevator, a well-equipped unused kitchen and roomy classrooms with sinks and storage space.

If this proposal is accepted it would be "money down the drain" � a real waste of money. And this building has not even been condemned! There will be a school referendum at the November election. What is the chance of it passing if the Minonk Grade School is to be closed?

This is quite a decision for the school board.

Minonk citizens: if you have an opinion on these three proposals, write them down and submit them to the school board or superintendent's office.

This decision concerns your children and grandchildren and our town.

Jari Lynn Oncken

�College Illinois!� Provides Excellent Opportunities

Famous author Robin Cook once said, �Education is more than a luxury; it is a responsibility that society owes to itself.� It is impossible to deny the lifelong benefits of higher education�both to the individual and society. Unfortunately, college is expensive and poses a financial burden that may not be easily afforded by many Illinois residents.

I would like to encourage the public to consider the �College Illinois!� program when planning for your child�s future. With tuition increasing almost every year, "College Illinois! provides a great way to save money, and have the assurance that your child will be able to attend college when they reach that milestone.

The plan is open to anyone who has lived in Illinois for at least one year, and is administered through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. �College Illinois!� allows families to purchase one to nine semesters at any community college or four-year university at current tuition rates. The parent can then utilize these rates when their child goes to school, effectively bypassing years of inflation that will have undoubtedly occurred by that time.

If a student attends a public school, their tuition and fees will be fully paid, regardless of how drastically tuition has increased. A student is eligible to attend a private or out-of-state school, but student�s fees may not be fully paid in that instance. In the event that the student for whom the plan was purchased chooses not to pursue higher education, a refund may be requested, or the plan can be transferred to a family member.

Any child over one year of age may be enrolled in the program into time between October 27, 2004 and March 31, 2005. All earnings accrued through the plan are 100% exempt from state and federal income tax. The federal exemption runs through December 31, 2010, but there is an option to extend it.

Payments may be made to �College Illinois!� in installments or in a one lump sum.

For more information or to obtain an enrollment kit, call College Illinois! at 877-877-3724 or visit the website www.collegeillinois.com.

As always, I welcome your opinion and would like to hear from you on this or any issue. Please feel free to contact me at danrutherford@danrutherford.com.

Senator Dan Rutherford

Class of 1969 reunion on Saturday

Minonk Dana Rutland Class of '69 will hold their 35th class reunion on Saturday, August 14, 2004 at Mona's in Toluca. All classmates are encouraged to attend. Social hour at 6:00 P.M. and family style dinner at 7:00 P.M. at a cost of $13.00 per person. Its not too late to get in your reservation! Contact any of the reunion committee:

Debby Hakes Nika 217.529.3132
Nancy Craig Stephens 815.863.5163
Marilyn Mahr Groves 815.842.2676