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District 301 discusses remote education plan

School District 301 Superintendent Todd Stirn. | Sun-Times Medifile

School District 301 Superintendent Todd Stirn. | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: February 24, 2014 1:12PM

BURLINGTON — The School District 301 Board will consider a proposal next month for the district to offer remote education.

It’s one of the reasons why the district opposed a proposal last year by Virtual Learning Solutions for an online charter school partnership with 17 other Fox Valley districts, according to Superintendent Todd Stirn.

“We voted down the online charter school proposal because we believe we can do a better job,” Stirn said at Tuesday night’s board meeting. “We are looking at having our own program here in order to provide remote education access.”

Assistant Superintendent Esther Mongan said the district’s proposed plan for remote education will be presented to the board next month.

“We will also take it to the Illinois State Board of Education,” Mongan said. “We will be the first district in the county to do this.”

John Laesch of Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice came before the board that night to talk about charter schools.

“Thank you for voting ‘no’ to charter schools,” Laesch said. “It was a huge success when the 18 districts fought against the proposal. We think there should be tighter regulations on charter schools. We are asking the 18 districts to help pass HB 3754.”

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) introduced the bill, which would revoke the authorizing power of the Illinois State Charter School Commission. If the bill is passed, the commission would not be able to overrule local school boards if they reject proposals from charter firms attempting to establish new schools in their district.

Most fees stay put

In other business, the school board:

Decided to keep 2014-15 fees, with the exception of those for kindergarten, the same as this year.

The increase in kindergarten fees came about because kindergarten classes went from half-day to full-day.

“The fee was originally $50,” Stirn said. “We are now charging $95, so the fee is not quite double.”

Stirn said that there were 14 new-home starts in the district in December.

“Our total student population grew by 22 students, primarily at the elementary level,” Stirn said. “We are 14 homes ahead of where we were last year.”

Heard about the planned Harlem Wizards game against the D301 All Star Team at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at Central High School, 44W625 Plato Road. Advance tickets cost $10 each. On game day, the price per ticket is $13.

“We contracted to sell 1,000 tickets,” said school board President Laura Rabe. “The D301 All Star Team will have principals and teachers from the district’s schools. It should be really cool and even bigger than last year.”

The event is being presented by The Central Education Foundation. The presenting sponsor is financial adviser Andrew Minehart of Edward Jones in Elgin.

More information is available from the foundation at 630-797-0113 or

Heard from Stirn that Steve Diversey, Central High School’s athletics and activities director, had met with other athletic directors to register both Central Middle School in Burlington and Prairie Knolls Middle School in Elgin as members of the Illinois Elementary School Association.

“I would like this to begin in the spring starting with the track teams,” Stirn said.

In addition to the middle school athletes participating in the IESA, Prairie Knolls Principal Chris Testone said, “We could also look at possibly entering Scholastic Bowl as well.”

Unanimously approved the continuation of the Student Worker Assistance Program that began last year.

Also known as SWAP, the program allows students to work at school in order to pay for their athletic fees.

“It was well-received last year,” said Diversey, who originally proposed the program. “One hundred percent of the students who participated in the program completed it.”

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