After eight years of being under the special state finance authority, the Round Lake Area Unit District 116 has been approved to return to local control since their finances are back in order. This is the very first school district under state oversight to ever be returned to local control which is certainly a feather in the cap of all involved. With an original time frame of ten years to get finances in order, they have beat that deadline by almost two years. This was a joint effort by both the oversight authority as well as the elected school board working together on behalf of all the students in the District 116 area. Other districts currently under financial oversight will be using District 116 as a model on which to gain their own independence back.
Now it is time to hire a new superintendent prior to March for the 20110 – 2011 academic year. There have been a few other nearby districts who have recently hired new superintendents from a fairly decent pool of applicants so we would hope that Round Lake District 116 would be attracting an equally large pool to select from.
Just being back under local control will not eliminate the added problems of a State submersed in debt and additional cutbacks to local school districts. It will take a strong board and superintendent to control spending and not let the District fall back into financial ruin as it did in the past. Parents should be readying themselves for some increases in school tuition as well as elimination of some programs. They should also make it a habit of attending the school board meetings to hear first hand what changes may be forthcoming and voice their concerns accordingly. The official turn-over of control is expected July 1st but I’m sure that you can expect budget and program cuts to be addressed long before then.