The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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LHS Financing Lacks Student Input

The+revenue+percentages+of+District+128+compared+to+Illinois+Averages
The revenue percentages of District 128 compared to Illinois Averages

Do you ever wander LHS’s halls questioning whether its resources are being wasted? As a staff in DOI, mixed feelings were expressed toward the topic of the school’s effectiveness in spending, but a general consensus for more communication between the school and its students was reached.

While walking through the school on a daily basis, it’s impossible not to see the constant and often pricey innovations to the school. With DOI, you’ve been kept up to date with many of these more extensive additions to LHS, such as the updates to the pool proposal, the TVs around the school, the LCD projectors in the main gym. But without a venue like DOI, how would any students hear about the additions before the construction actually starts?

The list of expensive purchases within the school is nothing short of astonishing at times. How can an institution built solely for education, a field synonymous with a lack of funding, illustrate such prominent expenditure? The answer, we found, lies in the nature of the town’s wealth itself.

According to the 2012 state report card for District 128 in funding, 89.7% of the school’s funding comes from property taxes alone. Wow. Compare that with the district average of 58.2% in Illinois, and it becomes clear how unique LHS is in its vast amount of resources. To put it into perspective, based on the high percentage of property tax income, the school receives a significantly lower amount of federal and state aid, purely because LHS doesn’t need it. With that being said, the school can often afford more non-essential items like the LCD projectors, and so forth. With money generally left over for less essential additions like this, why are students not being asked for their input on decisions, or at least being informed on the decisions being made?

“Our district is in a very good financial state, while some other districts are not right now,” commented Principal Dr. Marina Scott. As a staff, DOI agrees that the school’s tendency to spend on technology is a beneficial and effective means of using the budget appropriately, as it aids the education students receive. Although technology can be a controversial investment at times, if used properly, it can provide different perspectives of learning to students, as well as make the classroom experience more interactive. Such investments, though, like the TVs, are deemed unnecessary, as students get nothing out of them, as they merely serve as another bulletin board at times. Thus, spending should be focused on technology that helps educationally, like the Chromebooks.

In addition, the staff believes that more emphasis should be placed on improved sanitation in certain washrooms and improvement in the locker rooms’ condition, specifically, in the area of repairing broken lockers and budgeting for more towels. It is the staff’s opinion that such areas are a priority over certain investments, as they are a daily part of student life at LHS.

More importantly, though, DOI believes that financial decisions at the school should be more vocal and informative. Students like to be knowledgeable about what’s going on in their school, as teachers do. Although kids would like to be sought after more for the decisions being made in school, even being told more of what happens at the school would be of significant value for many students.

Dr. Scott explained that it was a common misconception that LHS has money to buy whatever it wants, though. This holds true because money is held in specific areas of budget: education, debt source, transportation, municipal retirement/social security, capital projects, working cash, and tort (legal issues).

The Board of Education itself primarily makes most of the decisions, even those out of the financial area, and approves the budget plan made by the heads of the academic departments at Libertyville. Essentially, each department makes a list of what it needs for the year. These lists cumulatively make up much of the budget, which has to be approved by the board.

The board itself is made up of various members of the community and financial advisors. “They (the board) are elected to serve on the BOE [Board of Education] and must live in the community,” said Dr. Scott.

“The board is very conscious of what they use taxpayer money for. All our board meetings are on cable TV and are open to the public. The public is always welcome to speak. I wouldn’t say they always go out to collectively [to ask the public], but their meetings are always open,” stated Dr. Scott.

As a result of their consciousness of the community, “In some cases, the board will seek a referendum if they don’t have the funds available, and the community would have to vote on that,” said Dr. Scott. An example of this is the Brainerd situation, which can be seen in DOI’s reporting on page five.

The Drops of Ink staff hopes for more informative means of communicating the financial decisions to students at LHS. The financial decisions are surely justified by a group of knowledgeable people, but students should receive more of a role in the process of finances at Libertyville.

 

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The student news publication of Libertyville High School
LHS Financing Lacks Student Input