Statement Concerning Newtown, Connecticut shooting
Springfield Public Schools mourns the tragedy that is unfolding in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. We send our collective prayers and concerns to the entire Sandy Hook community.
The safety and well being of our students and staff is our top priority. While we aim for all of our students to achieve high academic standards, this is possible only within a safe learning environment.
Springfield Public Schools relies on an extensive safety manual and routine training for emergencies. The manual walks each school through numerous steps, checklists, and procedures for maintaining safety. It also provides guidance regarding all forms of contact, ranging from parents to emergency response personnel.
We will continue to ensure that our policies and programs are consistently followed so that all students can enjoy a safe, positive learning experience.
Thank you for supporting our efforts to keep our schools safe. Please feel free to contact your school or the district office at 217/525-3000 if you have any comments or suggestions.
Superintendent Dr. Walter Milton, Jr.
October 5, 2012
This is a revised version of an e-mail I recently sent to District staff, concerning our budget and the evaluation of programs:
Earlier this summer, the Springfield School Board created the Community Budget Review Committee. The committee comprises 11 members appointed by board members.
The committee has been charged with assessing district finances and offering solutions to balance the budget. It is from the Committee’s deliberations with me at a recent meeting that the financial impact of magnet schools and all district programs, including Lincoln Magnet School, was discussed.
It is the committee’s responsibility to leave nothing off the table, including the evaluation of our magnet schools, as it considers solutions to the district’s fiscal challenges.
We are on hand to support the committee by providing information it requests and appreciate all the work the committee is doing. I am also busy working on my own budget-reduction proposals, none of which will call for the closing of any magnet school.
I do believe, however, that we must all work together on long-term solutions for our district’s financial health. Many options will be discussed. Many difficult decisions need to be made. But please know it is my desire and the committee’s that everything we do will take into account what is best for our students, families, and staff.
Doing more with less
September 20, 2012
That is the mantra public school systems across the nation are saying day after day. Because once-reliable sources of revenue are no longer keeping up with expenditures, we, like many districts throughout the country, are facing challenging times.
The loss in grant funding from the Illinois Community College Board for Lawrence Education Center's Diploma Program is a good example of how we are trying to do more with less.
After we were forced to reduce the program's staff from 5 to 2.5 positions, we are re-aligning our resources to make sure students who once were a perfect fit for the Diploma Program can still make up credits to graduate by attending night school at Lawrence, taking advantage of an online credit recovery program available at our high schools, and possibly seeing whether they are eligible to attend our Student Learning Academy, also at Lawrence.
It is imperative that we do all we can for all of our students with the resources available to us.
It's an honor for Springfield Public Schools to have a 2012 U.S. Olympic athlete among its esteemed alumni. As many of you know, Lanphier High School graduate and standout Andre Iguodala has been named a member of the U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team.
(Andre is Number 9 in case you are wondering.)
This is truly an honor not just for us, but of course for Andre himself, his family, and everyone else who supported him along the way.
Let's cheer and pray for him that he will make our country proud this summer and bring home the gold!
Congratulations Class of 2012!
As I reflect on our graduating class of 2012, I would be remiss if I did not congratulate our new graduates for their hard work.
Graduates from all three of our high schools should be proud for what they have accomplished. Our community should be, too. We are sending hundreds of graduates off to fine universities, the military, and places of employment where they will grow into productive members of society.
We hope many will return and make Springfield their home, bringing with them their new-found knowledge and expertise.
Allow me to share with you highlights of the class of 2012:
*66 percent of graduates from Lanphier, 79 percent from Springfield High, and 81 percent from Southeast are planning to attend a two- or four-year college.
*Our 2012 graduates were offered more than $11.6 million in scholarships!
*Our 2012 graduates will be serving in all branches of the military — the Air Force National Guard, Army National Guard, Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy.
*Among the colleges and universities our 2012 graduates will attend this fall are:
Alabama A & M
Baton Rouge Community College
Community College of Denver
Concordia University, Chicago
Eastern Illinois University
Gods Bible School
Hannibal La Grange
Harris Stowe State University
Heartland Community College
Hinds Community College
Illinois State University
John Wood Community College
Kankakee Community College
Lake Land Community College
Lewis and Clark Community College
Lincoln Christian College
Lincoln Land Community College
Metro State University of Denver
Miami of Ohio
Milwaukee School of Art & Design
Norfolk State University
North Hennapin Community College
Northern Illinois University
North Park University
Palm Beach Atlantic
Parkland Community College
Pearl River Community College
Pensacola State College
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Robert Morris University, Chicago
Robert Morris University, Orland Park
Robert Morris University, Springfield
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rose Hulman Institute of Technology
Southeast Missouri State
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
Southwest Baptist University
Southwest Minnesota State University
St. Johns School of Nursing
St. Louis University
Tennessee State University
Texas A & M
Texas Christian University
The Art Institutes
Truman State University
University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff
University of Chicago
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois, Springfield
University of Kentucky
University of Missouri, Columbia
University of Missouri, Kansas City
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Valencia Community College
Wake Forest University
Washington University, St. Louis
Western Illinois University
June 7, 2012 12 photos
Our investment in facilities
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
A few years ago, our School Board wisely decided to invest nearly $90 million in physical improvements over the next several years. Nearly every school will be receiving central air-conditioning.
I never tire of sharing information about our tremendous investment in school facilities, including our plans to replace two of our aging elementary schools, Enos and Matheny-Withrow.
Please find two documents to your right. The first list what kind of HVAC system each of our schools currently has. The second lists all of our facility projects by school, cost, and projected completion date.
Though a lot of the work already is finished, much work is still ahead. Our forward-thinking board is to be applauded for doing what is best for our students and teachers, who deserve the best working conditions we can provide.
While that is the most important reason for our facility plan, there also are economic development reasons, too.
An engineer friend of mine who works closely with the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce calculated that in just one year of construction, we created more than 800 jobs. During the course of our whole multi-year upgrade plan, he estimated more than 2,500 jobs will be created.
I am proud that our district is "giving back" in this way. I'm even more proud of the community for supporting the board and the district in this important investment.
Welcome back letter to staff
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Welcome to a new and exciting school year, filled, as always, with possibilities and unlimited potential. I hope all of you had great summers, whether productive, fun, or refreshing. I also hope you are eager and energized to return to your classrooms and schools.
We have been hard at work this summer preparing for the new school year and have much information to share with you. In this letter, I'd like to address the budget for the 2011-2012 school year in particular and share with you an overview of our financial situation.
The District Administration and the School Board are in the process of preparing the budget for the upcoming school year. Revenues have either stayed flat or declined precipitously prompting several cuts on the expense side of the ledger. As the impact of poor economic conditions at the federal level ripples down to state and local governments, all school districts across the country are feeling the pinch. This means that these cuts must be made despite certain critical needs of the district. For instance:
* The student population is continuing on an uptick at about 2 percent each year. This is a good problem to have. However, it calls for resources to sustain any type of population growth.
* The need to provide instructional resources to support our students as they march toward ever-increasing AYP requirements.
* The need to comply with certain unfunded government mandates in a number of areas including special education.
This past week, the district leadership proposed $5 million worth of cuts to the budget and the School Board currently is reviewing them prior to incorporating them into the budget.
A copy of the list of cuts is on the district's website, which contains a rationale for each of the cuts. Even though the rationale is self- explanatory, I do want to point out that the cuts were prudently made as far away from the classroom as possible. And, while no layoffs of district personnel are proposed, some positions will be eliminated through normal attrition.
While the challenges are great, let me also assure you that the district's overall financial health is still strong. Consider the following:
* Even with the challenges we face and the cuts that have been made, the District would still have approximately $18 to $20 million left over in its fund balance at the end of the year — $15 million of that fund balance is in our working cash reserve. This means that the District will continue to be in compliance of its fund balance policy.
* The District entered this budget process with the highest bond rating it has ever earned from the Moody's bond-rating agency.
* There are several financial management policies and controls in place that help guide operational practices. Last year, for instance, the District froze all employee salaries and raised the employee share of health insurance cost as part of a cost-cutting measure. Put another way, the financial stewardship of taxpayer dollars by District leadership is continuing.
The School Board is planning to approve the final version of the budget at its meeting on September 6. Meanwhile, we plan to keep you updated on the approval process.
Regardless, we have a lot to look forward to. Our District has much to be proud of, mostly due to your hard work and dedication.
As we all prepare for the start of school, let us keep our eyes on the prize: the children in our midst who are going to accomplish so much this year with our support, guidance, and love.
On the Passing of Dr. Milton's Mother
It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Dr. Walter Milton’s mother, Mrs. Louise Elizabeth Milton.
Mrs. Milton, who lived in Rochester, New York, left this world in the early hours of Friday, July 8, after a brief illness.
Funeral arrangements have been made as follows:
A wake will take place Thursday, July 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the D.M. Williams Funeral Home, 2793 Culver Road, Rochester, New York, 14622.
The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, July 15, at Memorial AME Zion Church, 549 Clarissa Street, Rochester, New York, 14608.
Mrs. Milton was a devoted mother who was loved and cherished deeply by the superintendent.
Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Read about all of our hard work!
I invite you to read our latest news about all the progress being made in all of our schools. The May 17th edition of our Teaching and Learning newsletter is a great summary of the hard work taking place in District 186.
Spring 2011 Open Office Hours with the Superintendent
Dear parents and community members,
I’d like to personally invite you to visit with me individually for 15 minutes during an upcoming Open Office Hours I will be holding Wednesday, May 25.
Feel free to bring any questions you have about the district and your child’s overall education. This is your opportunity to share your perspective with me.
I can’t overstate how much I look forward to these sessions. As parents and community members, you have a lot on your minds when it comes to education. The district has much to learn from you.
My hope is that you will see that your concerns are heard and taken seriously.
Please make your appointment in advance through my assistant, Nicole Irlam, 217-525-3002. Open Office Hours with the Superintendent will run from 5 to 9 p.m.
Dr. Walter Milton, Jr.