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Old 04-18-2015, 09:34 AM
 
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But parents talk and meet other parents and there are all kinds of websites to research. Everything is hiding in plain sight. You figure it out as you go along. Places like Phoenix, well I would not give you two cents for it to live there. Beastly hot and no greenery. I have friends that live there and have to do their grocery shopping at nine at night because its too hot in the day time. Plus wages are low comparatively and they have stupid politics too.
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Old 04-18-2015, 03:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
For parents that do have the motivations to track down all the resources, and sufficient TIME to get things lined up there are MANY place where things can combined / coordinated to fit your needs. It is much more challenging to try to line-up all the potential resources when one is facing a typical corporate relocation schedule that rarely allows more than a few trips beforehand to decide on where to live. That "time pressure" is largely why I strongly recommend that those facing relocation focus on the kinds of towns that make the likelihood of success for most kids so much easier to line-up on a compressed schedule.

I certainly know families that do live in area not known for their excellent schools that do manage to find enough "enrichments" for their children to make it into the most challenging schools but without exception these families have had the sort of life where they've had "time on their side". For some that means they actually grew up in the area, for others they had friends that knew the ropes. The key is that they had a kind of "inside track" that sadly is much harder for newcomers to tap into...
Exactly. We just went through a corporate relocation and had to make decisions about housing based on a a couple of trips to the area, talking to co-workers (many of whom were not parents or had older kids) and online research. We made the safe choice. I'm sure we paid more for our house than if we had gone looking for the best deal or the most underrated suburb or whatever but we couldn't take the risk of making the wrong decision.

If I was advising someone in our position relocating to the Chicago area, I'd advise them to make the safest decision. The towns where you really can't go wrong.

The standard advice for newcomers is to rent so you can spend the time finding that perfect place with the right mix of good schools and reasonable prices. But most people in our position end up buying. Who wants to disrupt their kids twice; once when you move to the rental and a year later when you find the perfect house. It's overwhelming enough for kids to move to a new town so we felt we needed to give our kids stability. So it was back to square one and finding the right place from the beginning from halfway across the country.

And OT but ToriaT, I'm sitting on my back porch in our house in the Phoenix suburbs looking at our green lawn, sitting under the shade of our green tree. It's a beautiful day, in the low 80's.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:35 PM
 
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Back to the original topic, Oak Park has plenty of after school programs as I'm sure Wilmette does. Whittier elementary has the WISE program that offers a variety of arts, academics and athletics WISE I'm sure the OP will find that most if not all Oak Park schools will have a variety of after school programs. Oak Park schools are well funded and the vast majority of parents in Oak Park are extremely supportive and involved (60% of taxes goes towards the schools). Whittier, as I'm sure other Oak Park schools, also has after school services that will take students to their respective activities off campus. The idea that Oak Park schools lack the funds to offer after school programs and services is humorous.
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Old 04-21-2015, 05:30 PM
 
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It is not just a lack of funds. OPRF has amassed a HUGE "reserve fund" that could be used to pay for new facilities or other expenditures but the lack of a clear vision forward has hindered their ability to accomplish these things -- Oak Park River Forest OKs plan to build pool | Articles | News | OakPark.com

And to be sure I am not picking on Oak Park. Similar sorts of inaction have become the norm in other desirable towns -- Western Springs District 101 axes plans for all-day kindergarten - The Doings Western Springs Of the towns that feed into Lyons Township Western Springs is pretty much the most desirable and it is sort of odd that they are also the only one that does not have full day kindergarten. Again, it is NOT just about the money, it is a combination of factors including that many of the "stay at home" parents simply do not want that. Of course there are some facilities issues too, and some legitimate concerns that any benefits for full day kindergarten seem to be mostly associated with kids from less well off backgrounds.

Underpinning both these decisions AND DOZENS MORE IN ALL KINDS OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS around Illinois is the extreme amount of uncertainty surrounding a whole host of issues that could dramatically impact schools. There is a bill in the Illinois Senate that would try to help more districts with lower property wealth, but that would make things even less fair for the districts that already do not get much help from state income taxes -- Illinois school funding a vexing political issue

Similarly there are many issues surrounding the massively underfunded Illinois public employee pensions -- Illinois Pension Reform

The OP did NOT ask just about after school programs! They specifically asked about
Quote:
small class sizes, strong science and math programs, and extra activities (e.g. after school programs) that offer language, sports, architecture or engineering.
in this context I remain firmly behind my initial response that DUE TO THE HOST OF ISSUES plaguing Illinois schools that things are rather bleak for the prospect of even the most affluent districts in the state offering anything like these things.

To be sure, there are some desirable areas to live in the Chicago suburbs, but the OP, or anyone else coming from an area where the state and local authorities have at least made an effort to deal with the reality of school improvement and funding, will be sorely disappointed that such things have NOT happened in Illinois.
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:02 PM
 
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Glen Ellyn District 41 is looking in to the Full Day Kindergarten issue currently, and there is opposition to it. Some see it as an excuse to employ more teachers and administrators. Others see costly facilities issues in a district already short on space. So even though the current school board supported FDK, it is far from a certainty.

But here is why I in particular took issue with your statement... Well off suburbs like Wilmette and Oak Park offer pretty much any type of programming a child could participate in, and they are willing to fund such programming. Your original comment made it sound like cash-strapped suburbs were pulling back from enrichment activities, and the reality is that they most definitely are NOT. If anything, kids are OVER-programmed and have TOO MANY enrichment activities to choose from. We may not have a one-stop shop in a public school, but perhaps have 90% covered by a school district and park district... And then there are other options like club teams or other private entities.
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:10 PM
 
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I agree with Lookout Kid. I ended up pulling my kids out of public school in Oak Park, but not for these reasons. I really can't think of any activities you would expect or want to find and can't, either through the schools or the park district. I imagine the same is true in several suburbs. The financial issues facing Illinois are obviously real and scray, but it hasn't yet affected school offerings. OTOH, if we have yet another school funding referendum here for our elementary district, I wouldn't be surprised if taxpayers balk.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:56 PM
 
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Lookout Kid has it right. These well funded districts do not lack enrichment opportunities at all, and at good class sizes at that , which IS what the OP was concerned with. The types of programs the OP asked about exist in Oak Park (as I'm sure they do in many well funded districts), so alluding to the idea that Oak Park is some how loosing these enrichment programs due to under funding is the opposite of reality.

As for bringing OPRF into the conversation, that's neither here nor there. OPRF services both Oak Park and River Forest, and the funds are reserved for their rainy day. Oak Park elementary and middle schools don't need to tap into OPRFs surplus because have plenty of funding as it is. None of these schools are lacking in what they need at all, so alluding to the idea that the highschool not sharing its surplus with D97 is some how detrimental to the other schools ability to pay for what they need is really out of touch with reality.
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:02 PM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,085,348 times
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Default Need to read more widely...

Anyone that is clueless about the current funding situation either needs to get up to speed or suffer the likely draconian changes that will be wrought.

Page 6 of this pdf clearly shows that OPRF would have a massive 71% hit to state funding, while the elementary district would see a much smaller hit the FACT is that the actual TAX PAYERS for both legal entities would still feel it their wallets!
http://www.isbe.net/funding/pdf/gsa-fy14-sb589.pdf

Last year's SB16 caused a lot of worry to BOTH the elementary and high school district in Oak Park
New school funding bill worries Oak Park's D97, D200 | Articles | News | OakPark.com

Frankly any school district in Illinois that currently is operating with normal amounts of funding could be turned upside down by even the proposals in this year's SB#1
SB 1 will have catastrophic impact on schools | mySuburbanLife.com
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Old 04-23-2015, 01:30 PM
 
11,972 posts, read 26,891,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Anyone that is clueless about the current funding situation either needs to get up to speed or suffer the likely draconian changes that will be wrought.

Page 6 of this pdf clearly shows that OPRF would have a massive 71% hit to state funding, while the elementary district would see a much smaller hit the FACT is that the actual TAX PAYERS for both legal entities would still feel it their wallets!
http://www.isbe.net/funding/pdf/gsa-fy14-sb589.pdf

Last year's SB16 caused a lot of worry to BOTH the elementary and high school district in Oak Park
New school funding bill worries Oak Park's D97, D200 | Articles | News | OakPark.com

Frankly any school district in Illinois that currently is operating with normal amounts of funding could be turned upside down by even the proposals in this year's SB#1
SB 1 will have catastrophic impact on schools | mySuburbanLife.com
I know our district is beginning to plan as if the state funding will be reduced or eliminated. D41 currently gets only 6% of it's total revenue from state sources, so the maximum potential impact would be 6% of the budget. If it's half of that at 3%, we'd have to come up with another $1.5 million bucks annually from property taxes for our $50 million budget. Not exactly an apocalypse, but not helping out either.

I know other suburban districts stand to lose more money.
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Old 04-23-2015, 02:19 PM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,085,348 times
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Default Exactly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
I know our district is beginning to plan as if the state funding will be reduced or eliminated. D41 currently gets only 6% of it's total revenue from state sources, so the maximum potential impact would be 6% of the budget. If it's half of that at 3%, we'd have to come up with another $1.5 million bucks annually from property taxes for our $50 million budget. Not exactly an apocalypse, but not helping out either.

I know other suburban districts stand to lose more money.
The point is not so much that the schools are going to be "wiped out" but rather that the current budgetary environment is putting added stress on schools at a time when other states that have not ignored their problems are actually making some of the positive changes.

Remember, the OP is coming from Florida, a state that was long considered a joke when it came to public schools. The OP's district is now offering
Quote:
small class sizes, strong science and math programs, and extra activities (e.g. after school programs) that offer language, sports, architecture or engineering.
. Those things all mean ADDITIONAL COSTS.

For the elementary district that serves the area I live in the proposed changes in the state funding formula would mean a loss of about $980k, which in the context of the $60M that the district currently spends annually is not a death knell BUT it still represent the fully loaded salary of at least half a dozen full time staff. I have had discussions with concerned parents / community members / district employees and everyone has lots of really hard to answer questions.

Toss in the fact that many thoughtful people also recognize the the efforts spent of the "new" standardized PARCC tests mandated under Common Core are very likely out of step with the rapidly evolving changes by trends in technology / social media and there is a great deal of uncertainty about how best to really address the overall needs of the students while not blowing up the already fragile funding frameworks...
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