Change Is Name of Game This Year Superintendent Search and Building Decisions Looming for District 202
Byline: Sara Hooker
Lisle schools may be small in size but mighty newsworthy this year with a retiring superintendent and talk of building a new elementary center on the horizon.
Unit District 202 tackled one major issue - contracts for its 140 full-time teachers - earlier this week.
Today, nearly 1,700 students return to the long-standing goal of improving achievement, Superintendent Peter Lueck said, enforced with new initiatives that will provide the district with an immediate feedback to gauge learning.
The Daily Herald recently sat down with Lueck to discuss the year ahead and his final months at the helm of District 202.
Q. What is your goal for the year?
A. One of our most important (issues) is making the transition to having a new assistant superintendent for business affairs (Keith Filipiak) and making sure that everything that office supports - everything from transportation to food service to insurance to contracts, and of course the financial piece of district investments - all that is shared in how we previously did things.
As a district, in the coming year we are going to be working to develop improvement initiatives before we take on more. Last year we started working on professional learning communities. We will probably have that as a focus for the coming year: allowing our teachers to take control of how we improve our curricular program and allowing them to have a direct say in how we need to do things differently.
Q. What's going on with the district's facilities?
A. A facilities plan was completed in November 2002 with a number of things that need to be done and options of how to address that. Part of the equation for us is money. Shortly thereafter the board made a decision that it's more important for us to have a sound education fund to run the programs in the buildings that we have. Fortunately the voters were supportive and we had the tax increase referendum in 2004 of about 45 cents. That was determined to be the higher priority.
To gather in more dollars for facilities after a referendum is difficult. The taxpayers are doing a great job of supporting our programs so when the right time is to go back to our voters and see if there's support for doing extensive work on facilities has yet to be seen. We know the (junior high) was built in the '50s and Schiesher Elementary School - a least some parts of it are just as old or almost as old. Although we've kept up with the repairs, a home that's built in the 1950s is built with different technology than a home that's built in 2005 or 2007.
No differently than other districts in DuPage County, this is something that will more so be on the forefront in regard to how we provide for students in the next 25 or 30 years.
Q. Is this issue solved with fix-ups or a new building?
A. I think the ideal is to be able to build new. …