District 204 Kicks off Community Engagement Campaign

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Still Middle School was a packed house for the kick off of “Engage 204.”

The evening started with a “State of the District” address from Superintendent Karen Sullivan that highlighted challenges the district is facing.

“We have this enrollment decline and we need to think about what impact that has, we have issues about maintaining our facilities, and the state budget and funding continue to challenge us,” said Sullivan.

“With some of the issues that Dr. Sullivan brought up today in terms of facilities and declining enrollment we felt we were at a tipping point and that it was time to do the community engagement,” said Michael Raczak, President of the District 204 School Board.

To get that engagement, small group work sessions were held after the address. Where attendees put together their reactions to the presentation and let district officials know what their concerns were.

“We have higher class sizes, we have less money, lower salaries, what’s that breaking point, what’s that impact on academic achievement,” asked Monica Scarpino, a District 204 parent.

The most common worries were decreasing enrollment, high class sizes, deferred maintenance on school buildings, and low teacher pay relative to District 203.

The school board and administration will be using feedback from these meetings to help make their future decisions.

“This is the time to get a feel from the community and find out what their priorities are, and what they want their schools to look like,” said Raczak.

There are four more “Engage 204” nights planned. The next one is about changing enrollment and will be held on December 7.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.