I would like to start today's communication on a very positive note. Last night was one of the single most generous acts I have ever witnessed at a school district event. Over $13,000 was raised during the MPHS Volleyball Volley for the Cause. These funds will be divided amongst 5 families from our school district who are currently undergoing medical treatments due to cancer. The school district agreed to donate the evening's gate to the cause to supplement the drawings and live auction. It was incredible to see our community reach deeply into their pockets to win auction items to support our families in need. The compassion and generosity of our community was in full view last night. It was a remarkable event that truly displays the character of our community, something that could be forgotten in recent times. Mt. Pulaski can be very proud!
In other news, many of you may have discovered through local media that Mt. Pulaski CUSD 23 is one of 147 school districts who have had a court filing against them in relation to mandated mask and quarantine requirements. It is my understanding that the hearing will be held in Springfield at a date to be determined. Also included in the filing is the State of Illinois, who will take lead council in this class action event. The Board is currently weighing their options to determine how the district will proceed. The district will provide more information as appropriate.
In a related event, I testified before the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) at their monthly meeting on October 19th. My testimony focused on local control. I explained to ISBE how local school districts needed to regain control of how we care for our students' safety and instructional well being. My perspective is that regardless of what side of the mask/quarantine mandates you are on, we are best equipped at the local level to make decisions for what is best for our students. I felt my words were heard and I also developed a sense of optimism through my casual conversations with members of ISBE. The important takeaway from my testimony is that our Board and administration are adamant about regaining decision making powers that have been taken away during the pandemic.
In closing, I think it is important for our community to understand that despite the fact that there are varying opinions on how district decisions should be made, we all have the same focus...our student’s well being. The best thing we can do is to keep this focus, even when we disagree. It is evident that we are a compassionate community, as shown through our Volley for the Cause event. We must remember that we are in this together as community members, neighbors, friends, relatives, staff members and alumni. It is awesome to be a Topper! Have a great week.