Letter: Community Has 'Responsibility' to Rebuild Jefferson
Co-Chairs of Friends of the Schools write in support of the plan to rebuild Jefferson Early Childhood Center. To send a letter to the editor, email Charlotte@patch.com.
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In 1958 a cup of coffee costs .5 cents, Elvis Presley enrolls in the US Army, Congress creates NASA and Ford manufactures the Edsel. That same year, 1958, District 200 opens Jefferson School for the Wheaton and Warrenville communities.
Today, Jefferson, now known as Jefferson Early Childhood Center, serves our community’s neediest and most vulnerable children who have unique challenges and makes the greatest difference for their life long success. The district is required by law to provide early education to students with disabilities who enter the school district and the Jefferson teachers and staff work with students to reduce -- or eliminate -- the potential developmental delay. This early intervention for students so greatly improves their quality of life and educational success and ultimately reduces long term educational and social costs to our society.
Unfortunately, Jefferson is a school whose age, out dated or poor facilities and size no longer meets the needs of our students. There are many examples of inefficiencies and inequities. Everything from bathrooms that are not big enough for a walker or wheelchair to get in the door to teachers working in closets or in the noisy hallway with children as there is no space left in the building to overcrowded classrooms…the list is long.
On Wednesday, January 9th at Hubble Middle School at 7:30 pm the District 200 board will be meeting to decide whether to vote for the Jefferson Early Childhood Center referendum. As a friend or family member who believes in and understands the importance Jefferson Early Childhood Center and the role it plays in our community, we ask you to attend this meeting to demonstrate your support of the referendum to build a new Jefferson.
The cost of building a new Jefferson is roughly $17.6 million. The estimated tax payment increase per year for local taxpayers is $19 for a $200k home, $30 for a $300k home, $40 for a $400k home and $51 for a $500k home. Per tax payer, this roughly equates to a cup of cheap coffee per month.
While there are some who will debate past decisions of District 200, this referendum is not about righting the wrongs of the past. It is about assisting and serving the children in our community who are the most challenged and the most vulnerable. As a community, we have a responsibility to do this. And for the price of a cup of cheap coffee per month, we can do this.
For your review, attached are a number of documents that outline the Jefferson plan in greater detail. If you have any questions about the referendum, wish to get involved or to confirm your participation at the School District’s Board Meeting, please let either one of us know.
On behalf of Jefferson Early Childhood Center, its students and the Wheaton and Warrenville Communities, we thank you and look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, January 9.
Dan and Lisa Wagner
Co-Chairs – Friends of the Schools