District 300 “Kill Sports & Extracurricular Activities” Strategy Fails in Belvidere

It is no surprised when school boards threaten to kill sports and extracurricular activities if their voters don’t pass tax rate hikes.

If it less common for school officials to be proven to have enough money to avoid doing that before the election.

That happened at the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Rotary Club meeting a little over a year ago when Huntley School Board Member Larry Snow pointed out and District 300 Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Crates admitted that she had underestimated State Aid to Education. The same admission was made at a later school board meeting.

The amount?

More than enough to save sports and extracurricular activities.

The Northwest Herald even ran a chart on it front page before the referendum.

Nevertheless, the District 300 tax hike committee—Advance 300–and the district continued the ruse that sports and extra curricular activities would disappear, if the referendum did not pass.

The same strategy was used in Boone County’s biggest school district, Belvidere.

Saturday, Kevin Haas wrote a story for the Rockford Register-Star about how Belvidere School Superintendent Don Scholmann had—ready for this—found enough money to keep sports and extracurricular activities intact for the next two years.

Want to guess where he is finding the money?

Go on. Guess.

Sounding a lot like President Richard M. Nixon when he ran for president the second time, Superintendent Schlomann has a secret plan.

He’ll announce it Monday at the school board meeting.

But, it’s going to postpone the end of sports and extracurricular activities for two years.

And, surprise, surprise, it will depend on how much state aid to education shows up after this legislative session.

Or, maybe it will be a combination of that and drawing down the reserves that Rockford reporter Jeff Jolkey has found.

Catch this sentence:

Without a tax increase and without a budget cut, the district could run its new high school until 2012.

Too bad opponents of the Belvidere tax rate hike didn’t ask Larry Snow to take a look at the books and offer his analysis.

The truth about whether there would be enough money for extracurricular activities and sports might have been knowable before the referendum.

The story says the district only estimated $150 more per student but what’s being discussed is more than that.

District 300 estimated less than that for referendum propaganda purposes–$100.

And here’s the Belvidere superintendent’s explanation to reporter Kevin Haas:

If the Board of Education would have knowledge of what the state aid was going to be, they may not have run a referendum. But at the same time we still don’t know what that state aid is going to be. And we won’t know until July.

Excuse me, if I smell something I wouldn’t keep in the house.

The Rockford paper endorsed the referendum.

This was part of the editorial:

If it fails, sports and extracurriculars will go, at least for a year. Simple.

And here’s part of what one person wrote after reading that, low and behold, sports and extracurriculars might not die:

… the school system lies….I can tell you, Belvidere will never get another vote out of me, ever….

And, here’s another comment from an “No” voter:

Now their bluff has been called, and they have been shown up. So now Belvidere most likely will get to keep sports, and the new high school will be staffed, WITHOUT a tax increase.

They simply sat down, decided that they didn’t want to take pay cuts, and used the kids as pawns. Now the kids should be upset with the BOE for using them in their little game, instead of the voters that voted NO.

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The homemade square yellow sign saying “BUCS BOOSTER” in a half circle on the top and “SUPPORT ATHLETICS” in a half circle on the bottom with “VOTE YES” in the middle was in front of a home with a “NO CHEMTOOL” sign in Garden Prairie.

The other pictures of signs were taken last fall before the November referendum. I didn’t see any of them this time around, but I’ll bet some were re-cycled.

Click on the text of the referendum question and see if you can understand it.

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