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Letter: Dear Mr. Pruneau, 'Every Time I Turn Around, I'm Asked to Donate More'

The discussion about new school start times was underway last summer. Elmhurst mom and District 205 alum explains the impact of schedule changes by looking at how things used to be.

Elmhurst parent Debbie Stephan shares a letter she wrote to Elmhurst Unit District 205 Superintendent David Pruneau Aug. 8, 2012. This was her second correspondence with Pruneau on the topic of rescheduling school start times. While he responded to her first inquiry, she says she is still waiting for a response to this one.

Hi Mr. Pruneau,
Nobody understands the difficult economic times more than a family with one income and three kids. (But because we live in Elmhurst, I guess everyone assumes we have a disposable income.)

I was raised in this town and went through all of the schools here. I remember a consistent schedule. There were no registration fees in grade schools, school sponsored activities, parking spots at York and school sports didn't have any fees either. My mother never sent in Kleenex, paper towels, Ziploc bags, sanitizer, wipes, etc.—the non-school supplies that evidently then were supplied by the school or district.

Every time I turn around I'm being asked to donate more!

Obviously, gas, food, school supplies, sport programs, activities, etc. are through the roof and rising every time someone makes a decision that is supposed to be best for everyone. We are ALL at the mercy of others. I guess what makes me upset is that I would like to go back to work now that my youngest will be in school full time because we could use the extra money to help with these rising costs to raise a family.  

Related: Idea of Adjusting to a New School Start Time Next Year Has Parents on Edge

But how am I to find a job when I don't have consistent times that my children will be at school. Are we as parents supposed to constantly rearrange our lives to fit into the district's budget?

Evidently, I did not make a wise purchase on my house nine years ago, because my children will not get bused anywhere in this town due to the fact we just miss the boundaries, so I have to drive them. (This also makes it very difficult to find a job when I have to drop them off and pick them up.) There are too many crazy drivers, and registered sex offenders, so I am concerned for my children's safety.

Ever been to Lincoln School at pick-up at 3 p.m.? Check it out. I'm surprised no child has never been killed crossing the street, with over 200 cars picking up their children. The transportation issue may affect many but it also DOES NOT affect many others. So why should the rest of us have to pay for the changes?

I know nothing is certain yet, and I do understand where you are coming from, but I hope you can understand where I'm coming from, too.

I also forgot to mention that the time change will affect parents who have to take other children to preschools, etc., after school sports, religious education programs, Park District programs and many other things that are important to our children, too.

Thank you for (hopefully) reading this very long email. I do appreciate your time and response.

—Debbie Stephan, Elmhurst

Ken T January 18, 2013 at 03:32 AM
Great letter. I wonder if he will reply. Doubtful. Elmhurst Press posted article online today about this issue. Seems this has been in discussions since last summer??? I'm going to school board meeting this Tuesday 1/22 @ 730 at board building on York. I suggest anyone upset by this proposal to show and represent the opposition.
DAS719 January 18, 2013 at 04:38 AM
You are correct about "a box of kleenex", or a "roll of paper towels,and yes, fee's for band and field trips too. My whole point was not the Kleenex, it's the big picture. Due to the District's increase in their facility rentals this year, Elmhurst Baseball and the YMCA Basketball programs were increased. This is the kind of stuff I'm talking about too, not the $1 box of kleenex. I have to laugh at the cost of a parking spot at York. It sounds ridiculous that your kid can drive themselves to school and not cost the District a busing fee but parents still have to take money out of their pockets anyway!
Janie January 18, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Champion news is a great website. You'll find we have two gym teachers at York making $140,000 a year - for a 9 month job. Where do I sign up?
B Rush January 18, 2013 at 05:41 PM
...for those reading this ElmhurstTeach has a shocking grand sense of entitlement in the 12 sentences written by ElmhurstTeach the word "I" appears 26 times... over twice per sentence the word "I" is the predominant thought on her/his mind the feeling that ElmhurstTeach is ENTITLED to a lifetime of pay for a few decades of work comes across strong #ElmhurstTeach personal attack (..post sickens me) is clear and the self-congratulating tone of the ElmhurstTeach pats on the back don't play instead of "I" ......put students first (or at least once in your thoughts and sentences) the word students appears zero times ElmhurstTeach's thinking is why Illlinois is broke government employees/teachers can't get a solution our city is divided exactly 50 50 our nation is divided 50 / 50 teachers feel they will take no reductions or pay cuts the rest of us have taken and the students in the classroom are the last on the mind of those in charge when students should be first what with high salaries that champions website reports students first, entitlements last
Susan Smentek March 04, 2013 at 10:31 PM
I do hope you receive a response to your thoughtful letter. Here's my thought concerning your comment, "The transportation issue may affect many but it also DOES NOT affect many others. So why should the rest of us have to pay for the changes?" Do you really want to divide parents into us vs. them? The bus service areas are unfunded state and/or federal mandates. The buses will run, even if our kids walk or are driven to school. And we live across the Metra tracks from school, without an easily navigated cross walk. I hope that the parents can remain unified in demanding the quality education that our ever-increasing property taxes should be providing.

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