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District 87 Focuses On Low Income Low Achieving Students

WGLT Staff

District 87 is working to enhance the quality of education for students from all economic backgrounds. 

Assistant Superintendent Cindy Helmers presented an Academic Achievement Goal to the School Board. District studies indicate students from low-income households scored 37 percent lower scores on this year's MAP test compared to students from higher-income households. Helmers said the district is focused on increasing the growth of all students. 

"It's very important that we have put into place a multi-tiered system of supports," said Helmers. "And all kinds of extra opportunities that we can give to all of our students."

The District provides internet access to over 600 students in low-income families.

The Board also recognized the student-led Not In Our School organization at Bloomington High School. It combats stereotyping, discrimination, promotes the acceptance of different cultures and an inclusive environment. 

Additionally, a decrease in Bloomington property values over several years is forcing an increase in District 87's future tax levy. The School Board approved a 44.1 million dollar levy for 2018. This will boost funding by more than 172 thousand dollars.

District 87 lost a million dollars of funding after property values in Bloomington fell 40 million dollars over two years. The district laid off staff, froze salaries and cut technology. Chief Financial Officer David Wood said he does not want school resources to be cut anymore. He said property values are slowly coming back but the tax rate needs to rise, too. 

"The EAV went down the 40 million but it's starting to creep back," said Wood. "It grew half a percent and .4 percent in the last two years, so that's good news." 

Wood said the county will not have a finalized tax rate for residents until next spring. 

Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.
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