NESPA-D203 | D204 Tax Levy | Harris Fawell Remembered

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Naperville Education Support Professionals Association (NESPA) union members rallied yesterday ahead of the Naperville School District 203 board meeting. The majority of the group gathered in Downtown Naperville before marching down Washington Street near Washington Junior High School where the meeting was held. Around 20 members voiced their concerns during public comment. The union of around 600 members has been in negotiations with District 203 since May for a new contract and is asking for more pay. NESPA includes teacher assistants, special education assistants, campus supervisors, and health techs. Both NESPA president Sharon Kurolenko and District 203 Board President Kristin Fitzgerald said their negotiation meeting on Monday was positive. The next mediation session is November 22.

D204 2021 Tax Levy

Indian Prairie School District 204 board members unanimously approved their tentative 2021 tax levy at last night’s meeting. The levy is a 3% increase compared to 2020, at almost $327 million. That’s partly due to an increase in the consumer price index, and partly due to new properties within the district. To the average taxpayer, the levy brings a 1.4% increase to taxes paid, but a slight decrease to the property tax rate. There will be a public hearing to discuss the levy at a December 6 board meeting before it is brought to the board for an official vote.

Push for Mental Health Awareness

Several Neuqua Valley High School students spoke during public comment at the D204 meeting, calling for increased mental health awareness in the district in the wake of two recent student deaths by suicide. They called for increased access to counselors, an increased focus on student mental health, and less pressure for academic excellence at the school.  District Superintendent Dr. Adrian Talley said the district is working with all three high school principals to address student mental health concerns, and while they are working to increase resources for students, there are some currently available.

DuPage Forest Preserve Redistricting

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s redistricting plan is now deemed valid by state law. A bill signed into law yesterday by Governor J.B. Pritzker clarifies that the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is a separate agency from DuPage County and is allowed to draw its own district boundary lines. In years past, the two agencies have shared the same map. But the forest preserve district decided to go it alone moving forward after citing issues with the county board excluding officials from redistricting plan discussions, which the county has disputed. Last month, both agencies approved their own district maps. The forest preserve district’s decision at the time hinged on the governor signing a bill into law to make it official.

Harris Fawell Remembered

And finally we remember Harris W. Fawell. Fawell was a former state senator for the 40th and 41st districts as well as a U.S. Congressman for the 13th district, with 28 years of public service. He was a champion of fair housing, fiscal responsibility in government and local parks, among many other issues. He is credited with prompting the creation of Naperville’s policy to have developers donate land or cash to the Naperville Park District. The park district recognized him with the naming of Harris Fawell Park. Fawell died Nov. 11 at his home in Naperville. He was 92.

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