April 27, 2022
Dear District #7 Community Member:
Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 is in a better place than it was five years ago when voters passed Proposition E in April of 2017, a referendum which provided an additional $0.55 to the District’s Education Fund tax rate and over $7 million annually in additional funding. It was the first tax rate increase for District #7 since 1977. Prop E followed a reduction of over $14 million in operating expenses, the depletion of existing cash reserves, and of $9 million in issued working cash bonds to maintain programming for students.
As a result of the funds generated by Prop E, District #7 did not require any additional reductions in programming and were able to maintain band and orchestra at the elementary level, middle school and freshman sports, summer school programming, and provide our teachers with much-needed raises to maintain an average salary competitive with other area districts.
During the campaign for Proposition E, several ‘promises’ were made by District #7 to the community – ones that would not only reinstate many of the cuts from the previous years but put plans in place to move District #7 forward. I’m proud to provide you with an update on many of those promises which have been fulfilled:
- Class sizes at all levels have been reduced to levels from prior to Prop E;
- Over 660 school security cameras have been installed to improve school safety;
- Since 2018, curriculum studies have been conducted in K-12 science, K-5 English/language arts, social studies by course, and plans are underway for additional studies in physical education and health, K-12 social studies, and middle school English/language arts;
- New textbooks/resources have been purchased for K-8 science, social studies, K-5 and 9-12 English/language arts, and K-12 math;
- Wi-Fi has been installed in all classrooms across the district, and plans are underway to increase connectivity and replace old switches and routers in areas of need;
- District #7 has purchased devices for all certified staff members and students in grades 6-12, and during the 2022-2023 school year will provide devices to students in K-5;
- $5.3 million dollars of debt in the Education Fund has been eliminated;
- Year-end working cash reserves will total $3 million which contributed to District #7 being approved for Financial Recognition and removal from the Financial Watch List.
District #7 continues to move forward. Next week, we will release a video providing our community with an overview of the strategic plan being developed for 2022-2027. The video will be available on our website at www.ecusd7.org or on our District #7 Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ECUSD7). This plan will provide District #7 with a pathway to provide an educational experience to students which is unparalleled in our region. We look forward to sharing our plan with you, and to a future of fulfilled promises to students in District #7!
With Tiger Pride,
Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.