Area Superintendents Reflect on Tax Caps and Unit School Districts
The property tax cap and the value of unit school districts were among the subjects on the minds of three area superintendents who gathered recently to discuss education.
In the second of a two-part series, Donald Weber from Naperville Unit District 203, Gail McKinzie from Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and J. Peter Lueck from Lisle Unit District 202 talked to Daily Herald staff writer Christie Hart about those and other issues.
On unit districts ...
McKinzie: My experiences have always been with unit districts and I really value that.
I see the advantage that the single governing board provides a unified vision from the board of education through your administrative staff. That can be communicated to everyone going down the same path without having to worry about however many different boards and administrators that you don't really have control over.
They can try to work together, and I'm sure they do, but all of us face certain community issues. I'm very pleased that we can bring the whole community behind a single purpose, whether that's a referendum or behind a particular event.
I think we are successful in some ways because we do have that unity.
Lueck: The biggest advantage of a unit district is that we can articulate a curriculum that will move students from elementary school to high school in a program that kind of flows and does a good job of meeting student needs as they progress from grade to grade.
Weber: There's a sense of common purpose for the community. It's not fragmented between what one policy group may think is important to education vs. another policy group.
My last position was at a high school district with seven underlying elementary districts. We knew we had to work hard at articulating and coordinating curriculum because we were eight school districts with eight boards of education and eight staffs, eight faculties. It's much easier in a unit school district to cause things to happen in a common way.
McKinzie: We're putting a greater emphasis on having similar experiences across the district. The district always works on having a quality education in each school and that we deliver those required experiences in a similar fashion.
Because we change boundaries frequently, students may have been at other elementary schools. We need to be able to have a very coordinated, sequenced set of experiences and curriculum so that kids aren't saying, "I did that last year. …