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Letter: What Course Is Best For Students In Hoyleton?

What Course Is Best For Students In Hoyleton?

Hoyleton District 29 Grade School Board voted to proceed with the annexation/dissolution of the school district to Nashville District 49. Since then, a group of Hoyleton residents have started a petition to stop the process before going to the Regional Board of Trustees for the final decision. I am glad to see the interest and work being done by a group of people to get a petition signed.

My question that I have asked of this group is what is the plan, if successful with this petition, to make Hoyleton Grade School successful long term, not just a year or two? Items that will need to be done are upgrading the temporary buildings, maintenance on the main building, heating and air system and most importantly, increasing the student enrollment. I am not sure how many people realize this, but the main school building was build in 1938. That is 77 years old. How many schools in the state of Illinois are using a 77-year-old facility? Hoyleton Grade School stopped using their gymnasium in 1998, 17 years ago.

Comments brought up at the community meetings were there are a lot of houses empty and for sale in Hoyleton. Is the school really a drawing card to bring new families to Hoyleton? The first items that a new family looks at when buying a home is what school district they would be in and what are the taxes compared to other towns.

Let’s look at the facts. If someone wanted to build or purchase a house in Hoyleton district, the school taxes would be 1.08 per 100.00 assessed value higher than Nashville district.

An example of the amount of difference in taxes are if you take a home valued at 200,000.00, taxes for District 29 would be reduced approximately $725.00 using Nashville District 49 tax rate.

Nashville School can offer considerably more extra-curricular activities, more special education programs and stronger sports programs than Hoyleton can. Nashville’s main facility was built in 1975, with additions in 1998 and 2004.

When Hoyleton Board of Education voted, the most important item was what is best for the school children, and next was making sure the staff kept a job. Both of these groups would be well taken care of. Nashville School Board and superintendent Mike Brink have been making plans for over a year to make this a very smooth transition of students and staff to Nashville if the annexation/dissolution were to take place.

At the last meeting of the “Friends to Save Hoyleton Public Grade School”, there were only 3 parents of school children present. Does this group really have the school children as the most important reason to keep the school open? The school board will have 4 open seats for the April election. There is only one person that has completed a petition and turned in to the county to be on the ballot. If there is all this interest in keeping the school open, where are the people that want to help run the school? If the people are successful with the petition, are they going to be there to help? Right now it does not look that way.

Hoyleton is a great town. There is still a very successful school in town that has preschool thru 8th grade. Hoyleton has two banks, Case IH business, lumber yard, grill and bar restaurant, gas station, a post office and two churches. How many other small towns how this many businesses and facilities?

I have been on the school board over 20 years. The reason I originally ran for the school board was to see how the tax money was used, and to have a way to continue to improve the relationship with Trinity Lutheran school. I have enjoyed being on the school board and the ability to work together with fellow board members and superintendent. No one wants to see anything close in a town, but nothing stays the same. I feel now is the time to make this change, but I am only one person, and the residents of Hoyleton District and Regional Board of Trustees will have the final decision. Let’s hope they make the right choice for the right reason.

Thank you,

Larry Unverfehrt

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