July 14, 2008

District 80 Seeks Tuition Waiver

By Tesa Culli, Mt. Vernon Register-News, Ill.

Jul. 14--MT. VERNON -- District 80 City Schools is the most recent school district to seek a tuition waiver for full-time employees so their children can attend the same school district in which their parents work.

"I think that eventually, every school district will do it," Superintendent Kevin Settle said. "Once all the schools in the county get a waiver, school aid will not be an issue."

District 80 is one of many schools in the area which have held hearings and sent paperwork to the Illinois State Board of Education and the state legislature to allow full time employees to bring their children to work with them and not pay tuition. The waivers are required because the rules on tuition are state statutes, not policy, and require a vote by the state house and senate to change.

As explained last month, Settle said inaction on the part of the legislature automatically grants the waiver. Rome Grade School, Woodlawn Grade School and Summersville Grade School are a few of the districts which have held hearings and sent the paperwork to the state.

Before holding the hearing, which District 80 did last week, each district must send letters to the unions which represent employees in the district, to the state senator and representative of the area and notify local newspapers.

If the waiver is granted, Settle said the full-time employees will be able to bring their children into the district.

"Yes, the school district the student used to attend will lose the general state aid for that student and we will get it based on their attendance," Settle explained. "But the home district will still get the property taxes."

The District 80 waiver will go before the legislature next spring, Settle said. If passed -- through action or inaction -- full-time staff will be able to begin bringing their children to work with them beginning in the fall of the 2009-2010 school year.


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