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Opinion

Palzet: The business of successful district financial planning

Community Voice

Dave Palzet
Dave Palzet

Pleasantdale School District has always been committed to providing high-quality programs at a reasonable cost. As a district that believes in continuous improvement, we are always looking for ways to provide our students with the best school experience.

Over the course of the past several weeks, school finance and funding have taken center stage in the news cycle. With the legislature playing hot potato with pensions and the state budget, it seems schools have been caught in the middle.

I am proud to say that Pleasantdale School District is in sound financial health and is able to provide a top-quality education at a great value. This sound financial position can be attributed to a board of education that has provided structure and guidance to the administration. The board has required the district to function well within its financial means, while at the same time improving the student experience.

Some highlights of the work the district has done to maintain a healthy financial position include:

• The district has received financial recognition from the Illinois State Board of Education for the past 13 years and earned a perfect 4.0 financial profile score in 2016.

• Pleasantdale SD has enjoyed over 11 consecutive years of balanced budgets.

• Board policy requires the district to maintain a 50 percent fund balance.

• Pleasantdale’s tax rate of 2.273 is the lowest in Lyons Township.

• The district has returned more than $6 million to taxpayers through debt abatement over the past six years.

• The board and administration have proactively budgeted for technology and facilities capital projects.

To enhance the value of a Pleasantdale education, we will upgrade our aging WiFi infrastructure this summer. This will ensure that our teachers and students are able to access rich online resources and computer applications. Our district also will put a fiscally prudent plan in place to support a 1:1 program for our upper grade students.

Additionally, the administration and the board have created a five-year facilities plan. This will ensure that our buildings are well maintained in a fiscally responsible manner. Over the course of the next several years, the district will seek out ways to ensure student safety through improvements to our parking lots and traffic patterns. Likewise, we will look to make our schools more efficient by investigating a lighting project that is good for the environment and will lower energy costs.

The credit for these successes goes to current and past board of education members. While our school community may be small, the vision and goals for the district are huge. The administration is excited about what the future holds, and looks forward to continuing to work with the board and community to move our district forward.  

Dave Palzet is superintendent of Pleasantdale School District 107.

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