Schools turn to local program support
Fourth grade students crowd around the tally table to get their tickets marked during a Pennoyer Elementary School fundraiser walk Sept. 28. | Joe Cyganowski~ For Sun Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2012 6:11AM
NORRIDGE — Providing the tools necessary to succeed continues to get more challenging for local school districts.
Fortunately for the schools, support from parent organizations takes up some of the slack.
Tough economic times have hit all schools hard, Pennoyer School District 79 Superintendent Michael Lubelfeld said.
“The state has its own challenges,” he noted. “Payments are late.”
And when districts receive payments, funding is between 88-94 percent of what was expected, he added.
“It’s challenging when you’re counting on a certain amount and receive less,” Lubelfeld said.
He noted the property tax cap imposed on taxing bodies also takes a toll.
“We have limited to no growth in revenue,” he said. “It’s 1.7 percent.”
That doesn’t even cover increasing utility costs, he added.
Norridge School District 80 Superintendent Kerry Leiby said the financial crisis has spread nationwide.
“We have to work to make ends meet,” he said. “There’s only a handful of grants out there.
“Federal funding has dried up.”
Even though funding may be less, the schools continue with some programs, Lubelfeld said. For instance, a grant for reading programs used to be fully funded.
“Now we have to dip into our general funds to pay for it,” he said. “We’re not going to stop the reading program.”
Both districts receive support from parent-teacher organizations to provide items that enrich the curriculum.
“We’re always looking for ways for provide for our students,” Pennoyer Principal Susan Miceli said. “The (Parent Teacher Council) is very active in fund-raising and wonderful about letting the administration decide what to do with the funds.”
So far the district has purchased playground equipment and computers and created a science lab. One of its recent events was a two-hour walk-a-thon, with all donations going back into school programs.
“This year the PTC is raising money for technology,” parent Antoinette Nardulli said.
Leiby said the district’s student teacher parent organization provides tools that enhance the curriculum.
“They host assemblies, activities,” he said, “and they do a wonderful job with that.”
But basically, Leiby said his district spends prudently to provide educational services in trying economic times.