Saying the district could afford to lift some expenses for families, Forest Park Elementary District Superintendent Lou Cavallo announced that school supplies will be provided for students by the schools next year.
“We want to help with annual out-of-pocket expenses incurred by parents and guardians,” Cavallo said. Supplies such as pencils, crayons, notebooks, folders, and erasers will be provided, he said.
“You may still have to purchase the Transformers backpack,” he kidded parents at the State of the District address, April 16, at Garfield School.
The district also did away with all registration fees and field trip fees, Cavallo said.
D91 is able to cover expenses for families because of its healthy finances, he said. In spite of shrinking state aid and local property tax revenue contracting by $100 million in the last four years, the district is debt free, Cavallo said. He compared that Berwyn’s District 100 where voters just rejected a referendum to repair several school buildings.
“We had a referendum 10 years ago, and we don’t have to go back to the voters in the foreseeable future,” said Cavallo, who noted that state pension reform looks as though it will “cost-shift” a significant portion of teachers’ retirement costs back to the local school districts.
Forest Park Commissioner Mark Hosty asked if the district had too much cash in reserve if it could distribute free school supplies. But Cavallo said the amounts involved didn’t represent a lot in the big picture.
“The costs of registration and school supplies don’t take up a lot in the district’s budget,” he said. “But it does mean a lot to families when they don’t have to pay.”
“I guess healthy is good, excessive is bad,” Hosty replied.