To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Jon Styf's editorial on Sunday, Oct. 20. In part, the column highlighted the waiver we have received from the Illinois State Board of Education that exempts us from the requirement to use taxpayer funds to pay a newspaper to print readily available, public information, specifically, our Annual Statement of Affairs.
Mr. Styf advocates for taxpayer funds going to his or other newspapers to print information that is already readily available to the public. We have a simple disagreement with him over this belief. We believe it is our responsibility to maximize the limited funding we receive to provide the best possible education for students. The waiver we have received from the State of Illinois for the past several years has helped us divert thousands of dollars away from this unnecessary requirement and back into the classroom.
In our district, those dollars make a big difference. As the second-lowest spending unit district in the 11-county Chicago area, we must make the best use of every dollar we receive. We spend, per student, less than 95% of all school districts in the 11-county Chicago area and, according to the state's definition, are funded at only 68% of adequacy. Mr. Styf seems to imply that our exercising this waiver is in some way an effort against our taxpayers' interests. In reality, just the opposite is true. We take seriously our role as stewards of taxpayer funds, and seeking this waiver is a demonstration of that commitment.
If Mr. Styf truly feels publishing this document in his newspaper is necessary to help his subscribers be informed, he is welcome to. He already knows where to find it.
On our website, at district158.org/financials, he and our taxpayers can find not only our current Annual Statement of Affairs, Independent Auditor's report, Annual Financial Report, and Budget, but also an archive of all of those documents for the past 10 years.
Michael J. Fleck
President, Huntley 158 Board of Education