V.I.T. CUSD #2




We are READY for an exciting 2017-2018 school year
 
Home of the Hornets and South Fulton Rebels
V.I.T. CUSD#2 
Vision Statement

The vision of the V.I.T. School District is to empower students, staff, and community through the integration of technology in educational programs: (1) to become lifelong learners of the 21st Century; for career, family, and community responsibilities, and (2) to gain higher order thinking skills to achieve optimal intellectual, physical, social, emotional, and moral development.

Employment Opportunities: HERE

General Informational Contact Information:

District/Elementary Information: 309-758-5138

Junior and Senior High Information: 309-758-5136

Email All Board Members:  vitboe@vit2.org

If you are not sure who to contact via email:
Click Here:  info@vit2.org





FFA Wins Monsanto Fantasy Farming Challenge - Sweeps the Competition!

Wins $2000 


Today's Teacher Shortage

I hope everyone is heading into the new year having enjoyed a wonderful holiday break. As I write this post, I am listening to an NPR report on the teacher shortage that the country is facing today. I would recommend you take a listen to the report:

http://will.illinois.edu/21stshow/program/illinois-teacher-shortage-nature-cat-creators-discuss-series

This shortage is not just a national or statewide concern, it is major issue in west central Illinois. As many of you are aware, at VIT we have been unable to find a qualified science teacher for our high school - we are not the only district in this area facing this issue. Additionally, we recently had to find a replacement for our Spanish teacher. Our previous Spanish teacher has been given an outstanding opportunity to take on leadership duties in an area ELL program. I support her move and wish her the best.

Many students and parents were worried that we would be forced to use a virtual Spanish program. While, this option would not be ideal, it is the path that many districts in this part of the state are using or exploring. We were able to find a qualified candidate who was willing to work ½ days. This will impact access to other classes as some students will be forced to change their schedules to fit into a morning Spanish class.  

When we examine the science program, there are benefits and negatives associated with the use of an online science curriculum. Students have mixed feelings, parents have mixed feelings, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the content is rigorous and available whenever the student wants to access it. On the other, there is no “teacher” to ask questions of. For some students this is real hang-up. For others, there are other avenues to find answers to their questions...fellow students, Google, science textbooks, etc.. An additional concern is that some students are falling behind on their target progress. The science program requires more than just 45 minutes per day to stay on target.  When people think of homework they think paper and pencil assignments, this program requires some students to work on science after school - like a true high school science course would as well. Students have every opportunity to stay after school and work on our devices and wifi. Also, students can take Chromebooks home to use if they have wifi at home. We have extended the semester through the Christmas break in order to allow students to complete the semester course. When our students go to college, they will experience the concept of online coursework. The science program is a precursor to their experience with higher education online coursework.  

I do want to impress upon our community that we are doing all we can to recruit a quality science teacher: Job search websites, networking, reaching out to area universities etc..

https://www.illinoiseducationjobbank.org/JobSearch/SearchResults.aspx

Two of the biggest factors we are facing are 1) we are in competition with higher paying parts of the state and 2) teachers of science, math, foreign language and other content areas are in limited supply. We have so many staff members who love this district and have been here a very long time. We have several former students who teacher here - and that is an amazing fact.  The goal is to get a QUALITY candidate to the interview and share the positive attributes of our school.

Finally, teaching in general has become a less attractive job for young people and their parents (who often help pay for college). http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/03/30/teacher-prep-enrollment-continues-to-decline.html

The new pension requirements, retirement age, the high cost of a bachelor’s degree vs. the starting salaries for many districts, the increased academic requirements for young people to become teachers, and the negative view that some parents, social media bullies, legislators, and shock media outlets put teachers under are all reasons why we and the rest of the nation will be looking for teachers for a long time to come.

While, this post may not be a light-hearted read, it is a fact we must all realize exists in our district, around the state, and throughout the nation as a whole.  

In order to end on a positive note, I offer this:

We have an outstanding staff who care deeply about our students. These people work hard everyday to provide an effective, caring, and supportive learning environment for the students of our community.











FULLY-FUNDED MYTH


For the FY 2017 budget, the state fully funded the General State Aid foundation level of $6,119.  While, the outdated dollar amount of $6,119 is not prorated for the first time in six years, it is clearly under the Education Funding Advisory Board's most recent recommendation of a FY 2017 foundation level of $9,423.  The current Governor of Illinois, Mr. Bruce Rauner, and numerous legislators in the House of Representatives and Senate are using the lack of proration as the key point in their stance that

K-12 education has been fully funded for FY 2017.  Upon further inspection, as of March, 2017, fully funded is very inaccurate term to describe the concept of the state making all of their required payments to local school districts.  The State of Illinois is required to make mandated payments to districts in numerous categorical line-items.  GSA is just one of many mandated categorical payments that the state is required to pay and districts rely on to cover numerous expenses.  Four major mandated categorical payments that school districts depend on include:

  1. 3105: Funding for Children Requiring Special Education Services

  2. 3100: Special Education Personnel

  3. 3500: Transportation - Regular and Vocational

  4. 3510: Transportation - Special Education

Currently, ISBE has processed the first two payments for these four line-items and sent the proper notification the comptroller's office. The comptroller's office has not released the funding for two payments due in the first half of the 2016-2017 school year. When applying this lack of payments to Fulton County, Illinois school districts, the amount of unfunded liability placed on the districts can be eye-opening - For VIT these four line-items not being paid equals a current shortfall of $102,500.
Click here for a good interview on WUIS regarding the current financial difficulties school districts are facing:
http://nprillinois.org/post/lawsuit-aims-fix-school-funding-formula


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Links to Educational Associations
Illinois State Board of Education:

Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools:

Illinois Association of School Boards:

Illinois Vision 20/20