December Superintendent's Message

Panther Families,

We hope all of you had an enjoyable extended Thanksgiving weekend.  As a school district, we are incredibly thankful to have a supportive community that believes in our mission of Our Involved Community, Our Competitive Students, and Our Productive Citizens.  Coming out of the long weekend, we have only three weeks remaining before Winter Break.  Please note that Tuesday, December 19th is our last day of student attendance for the first semester and we will return on Wednesday, January 3rd.  

Our Finance - Tax Levy

Throughout the last couple of months, I have kept you informed about our Tax Levy process.  This has been a unique tax assessment with our EAV growing by nearly 17% compared to an average growth of 4%, including a 9% assessor’s multiplier added to our regular property growth.  As a school district, we have a responsibility to provide quality services for our students while also being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.  There are a couple of key points worth noting in regards to our Tax Levy.

  • Our tax rate will decrease by approximately 15 cents

  • Oftentimes an increase in property tax cost can incorrectly be equated to property taxes being raised  

  • As a district, we have some control in the property tax rate, not the assessment of property value

  • LeRoy CUSD #2 has the 3rd lowest tax rate of McLean County School Districts 

  • While the overall tax rate will go down, your property tax cost will still be higher because property values grew significantly

  • Of our approximate 17% EAV growth, 48% of that growth is from windmills east of town.  The remaining 52% of that growth is from everything else (new construction, commercial property, residential property, farmland, 9% multiplier applied to commercial and residential property only, etc).

Our Student Achievement - Unique Learning Opportunities

When we return second semester, Elementary families should keep an eye out for One School, One Book.  LeRoy Elementary School has partnered with the J.T. & E.J. Crumbaugh Trustees to purchase copies of common books (The Wild Robot, Fenway and the Bone Thieves) for every student and staff member, as well as access to the program that provides activities to bring reading alive in our school community.  The essential concept behind OSOB is to create a reading community within the school.  It will allow teachers, parents, and students to have conversations about what they are reading and learning.  OSOB is usually a month-long program where the whole school community reads the same book, including students and employees.  This is a unique opportunity for all of our students, families, and staff to read and learn together.  

Our Community Relations - Winter Weather Ahead

We got our first taste of snow this past weekend, but early reports forecast a mild winter.  With the early snowfall, even my own children are already trying to position themselves to influence snow days!  We will send reminders about winter weather throughout the season, but here are some key points to remember when we consider canceling school.  

  1. Please remember that, regardless of the district’s decision to have school in inclement weather, ultimately parents have the final say on whether or not a child attends school. We will support those decisions made in good faith out of the personal beliefs regarding their child's safety. 

  1. All school cancellations are communicated through LeRoy CUSD #2 App notifications (search LeRoy CUSD #2 in your device app store), Skyward Messenger, the LeRoy CUSD #2 Facebook page, and local media.  These alerts occur in a mass release and will be posted and received in random fashion, but will be released as soon as decisions are made.

  1. Generally, the latest we make decisions on school is around 5:30a.m.  However, it is very important for parents to have plans in place in case the decision needs to be made later.  It is quite possible that bus or building issues could come up and not be discovered until after 6:00 a.m.  In those cases, decisions on school attendance could be made at a later time.

  1. Regarding extra-curricular events, practices, and other school related activities outside of the normal day, we prefer to exercise flexibility in these situations as opposed to an inflexible policy.  Oftentimes events scheduled in the evening could be held as conditions improve, as could practices.  Some schools do not have that policy, and we will respect the wishes of the individual districts involved.  Again, we will support those decisions made in good faith out of the personal beliefs regarding their child's safety.

Our Facilities - Staying Warm and Safe

Winter weather remains the theme regarding our facilities.  Two focal points during the winter are heating our buildings, and keeping our parking lots and sidewalks safe.  When snow or ice occurs, we have surface pretreatment to reduce freezing, salt on site, and equipment to efficiently clear our parking lots and sidewalks.  Heating large facilities can be difficult when temperatures dip well below freezing.  We regularly check our systems and perform routine maintenance to ensure our facilities can function.  Regardless, temperatures can vary throughout buildings and classroom to classroom, so dressing in layers can help students adapt to fluctuating temperatures.  

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season.  Thank you for your continued support of LeRoy Schools.

Go Panthers!

Jeff Baughman