Category Archives: Kaneland

Boosting basic skills

Elementary schools set improvement goals
by David Maas
KANELAND—Kaneland elementary schools will focus on continuing to boost students’ academic skills in certain subjects, particularly writing, in 2010-11, as outlined in their school improvement goals.

The Kaneland School Board on Monday reviewed the school improvement goals for each of the four elementary buildings, presented by Kaneland Curriculum Director Sarah Mumm.

McDole Elementary in Montgomery and John Shields Elementary in Elburn will focus on math and writing skills. Blackberry Creek Elementary in Elburn will focus on writing and reading skills, and John Stewart Elementary in Sugar Grove will focus on writing and phonics skills.

School Board members asked why the four schools have different goals.

“This is the second year I’ve had this worry,” said School Board member Deborah Grant. “Shouldn’t the four schools share the same goals?”

The principals from the four schools were present at Monday’s board meeting and stressed that they all are working toward achieving the same level of writing skill among students; each is using the Writer’s Workshop process to improve writing skills.

In addition, John Shields principal Laura Garland explained how doing things differently can have its advantages.

“Uniformity is not necessarily the best way to meet a student’s needs,” Garland said. “Trying something unique, and being able to let the others know, is a good thing.”

The schools’ goals are part of a comprehensive, peer-reviewed school improvement process under way this academic year in the district, Mumm told the board.

Writing progress

Percentages of elementary students district-wide meeting or exceeding state learning standards in writing, as assessed by standardized test scores:

Grade    2009-09    2009-10
Third    67%    74%
Fifth    53%    63%
Sixth    79%    81%
Eighth    56%    67%

FPC reports a tool for future district use

KANELAND—The Kaneland School District Facilities Planning Committee (FPC) presented its 2010-11 report to the School Board on Monday, a tool the district can use in the event of changing enrollment.

“While enrollment trends have leveled off, this report is intended to give the School Board options to consider when conversation is needed,” said FPC Chairman Steve Bauserman.

School Board updated on capital projects

KANELAND—Kaneland School District Assistant Superintendent for Business Julie-Ann Fuchs on Monday updated the School Board about recent and ongoing capital projects and school repairs.

Fuchs said the Kaneland Middle School building renovations and cleaning are nearly finished. She added that the district earmarked $300,000 for furnishings, an amount that could change depending upon what district officials decided to use the building for in the future.

Other recently finished projects include repairs to the Kaneland High School roof, various life-safety building repairs and renovations, and summer paving work. Projects still under way are the Esker Drive project, and the Harter Middle School storage facility.

When these projects are finished, the capital projects fund is expected to have a remaining balance of $697,000, Fuchs said.

PTO plans fall, winter clothing, toy sale

ELBURN—Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Network will offer a fall and winter clothing and toy sale on Friday, Oct. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The sale will feature gently-used fall and winter clothing including infant wear, boys’ clothing through size 20, and girls’ clothing through junior sizes. Jackets, shoes, toys, games, puzzles, books, videos, jewelry and sports equipment will also be offered. Certain items will be offered at half price from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Admission is free, and strollers are welcome.

Proceeds from the sale will benefit all students of Kaneland John Stewart Elementary. Kaneland John Stewart is located at 817 Prairie Valley St. in Elburn. If you are interested in selling items on consignment or would like further information, call Michelle Klecka at (630) 927-9169 or Laura Molitor at (630) 365-9221. Donations are welcome.

Drive Your Tractor to School Day

Kaneland High School’s “Drive Your Tractor to School Day” was held this past week, both as a way to recognize the agricultural background of the area and to point out to students that it is harvest time and to watch out for tractors and equipment on the road for the next couple of months. Pictured are (left to right) Dan Goress, Tyler Fabrizius, Joe Gorenz, Kylie Siebert and Grace Fabrizius, who drove this tractor to school. They are all members of the FFA Club at Kaneland High School. Courtesy Photo

School acre annexed on Harter Road

Village also changes the parcel’s zoning
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday annexed an additional acre of Kaneland School District property along Harter Road.

The School District did not own the one-acre parcel along Harter Road when the Village Board originally annexed the Harter Road Middle School site in February 2007.

The Village Board also rezoned parcel from E-1 Estate Residential District (E1) to Business Park District (BP), a change the School District requested.

The School District developed the Harter Road site in 2008 with a middle school building, parking lot and athletic fields. The village amended the annexation agreement in April 21 to allow the School District to make landscaping modifications.

An annexation agreement amendment the Village Board also approved on Tuesday allows the School District to make minor improvements to the property without seeking other annexation amendments from the village.

“There (are) simpler ways now to make minor modifications now that they’ve developed the Harter Road site, and that’s what we’re trying to help them with,” Village President Sean Michels said.

“We’re just trying to streamline the (School District’s) approval process,” Michels said.

Kaneland school menus

Monday, Sept. 20: Grilled chicken sandwich, goldfish, corn, peaches
Tuesday, Sept. 21: French toast sticks, sausage, tri-tater, pears
Wednesday, Sept. 22: Spaghetti, garlic bread, carrots, tossed salad, pineapple
Thursday, Sept. 23: Chicken wrap, celery, carrots, applesauce
Friday, Sept. 24: Grilled chicken, tomato soup, crackers, green beans, cantaloupe

Kaneland budget has $1.4 million shortfall

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday approved the School District’s 2010-11 operating budget of $46.9 million.

Although the operating budget expenditures total $46.9 million, the expected operating budget revenue, which includes education, operations and maintenance, transportation, and working cash funds, totals $45.5 million.

Therefore, the operating budget has a $1.4 million shortfall.

Certified staff will not receive raises for the 2010-11 school year. However, for 2011-12, they will receive a 5.6 percent raise. The district has projected salary increases of 3 percent for all staff in the next several fiscal years.

In the future, Kaneland may need to modify those percentages in order to reduce the anticipated deficit, district staff reported in Kaneland’s Deficit Reduction Plan for 2011-2014. The district is required to submit the plan to the Illinois State Board of Education.

KMS hosts assemblies to combat cyberbullying

Kaneland—Kaneland Harter Middle School students will attend grade-level assemblies on cyberbullying on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

A member of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office will provide information on Internet safety, cyberbullying and ways to help victims.

The assemblies will be held at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and last approximately 45 minutes. Any Kaneland parents, guardians or community members that would like to attend may do so. For information, e-mail Kris Weiss at

Golf outing raises funds for schools

Kaneland Foundation invites community members to event
by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Looking for a great excuse to hit the golf links before fall starts? If so, then you’re in luck, as the Kaneland Foundation will hold its annual golf outing and dinner on Thursday, Sept. 16, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Bliss Creek Golf Course.

The Kaneland Foundation encourages community members to take park in the golf outing, a fundraiser that has taken place every year since 1990. People can even choose to skip the golf and just enjoy the dinner if their short game isn’t up to snuff. And if anyone has difficulty putting together a foursome, the folks at Bliss Creek will be happy to pair you up with others attending the event.

“We are hoping to have 80 to 100 golfers attend, and a few more usually attend the dinner,” event organizer Chuck Liss said. “Any level of (golf) skill can play. (The event) is set up as a golf scramble, so skill level doesn’t really matter.”

So far, approximately 45 people have signed up and paid to participate in the outing, Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said.

“Hopefully that number will increase through this week (with) additional registrations,” Schuler said.

The Kaneland golf outing typically raises $10,000 each year, Liss said. The Kaneland Foundation in the past has spent profits from the golf outing on things such as an elementary school field trip to a retirement community, the opening of the elementary school library, scales and balances for the Harter Middle School science curriculum and high-school peer tutoring supervision. The Foundation has not determined for what purpose it will use the proceeds from this year’s golf outing.

Sign-up under way

To register for the
Kaneland Foundation’s
annual golf outing and/or dinner
Thursday, Sept. 16

Contact Chuck Liss
at (630) 774-8574 or the
Kaneland Superintendent’s office
at (630) 365-5111, ext. 109.

The deadline to sign up for the
golf outing is Sept. 13.

Kaneland lunch menus

Monday, Sept. 13: Chicken Caesar salad, carrot sticks, garlic bread, peaches, Jell-O
Tuesday, Sept. 14: Taco salad, refried beans, Spanish rice, pears
Wednesday, Sept. 15: Breaded spicy chicken sandwich, oven fries, corn, pineapple
Thursday, Sept. 16: Egg casserole, tri-tater, blueberry muffin, applesauce
Friday, Sept. 17: Pepperoni pizza, carrots, celery, tossed salad, frozen yogurt, cantaloupe

PTOs strive to improve educational experience

by David Maas
KANELAND—A new school year means new experiences for students and for their moms and dads, too, if they take part in parent-teacher organizations.

Made up of students’ parents and school faculty, parent-teacher organizations give parents a way to become directly involved in their children’s educational experience by actively helping out in the school.

“As a PTO, it is our responsibility to assist the school in goals and programs to enhance the curriculum,” said Michelle Moser, co-president of the McDole Elementary PTO.

Through special events, PTOs raise funds to provide their children with programs such as educational assemblies to help students achieve their maximum potential, the McDole organization’s website states.

One of those fundraisers this year is new for the McDole PTO—a Fun Run on Oct. 15.

“Not only will it be a great time for the kids, but a way to raise money, creatively,” Moser said.

Along with hosting the Fun Run, the McDole PTO will partner with the John Shields Elementary School Parent-Teacher Network for their semi-annual Fall Clothing and Toy Sale, on Saturday, Sept. 18. The sale offers a chance for area residents to sell off some of their un-needed children’s toys and clothing, with a portion of the proceeds going to help the school of their choice.

Moser is excited to see what else this year has in store for their group.

“We are off and running, and committed to making changes for everyone involved with our school,” Moser said.

Other Kaneland schools with parent-teacher organizations are Blackberry Creek Elementary, John Stewart Elementary and Harter Middle School. Parents with children in these schools just need to attend meetings to find out how they can become involved in these groups.

Kaneland parent-teacher groups
For more information on parent-teacher organizations within Kaneland School District, visit their websites:
•, (McDole Elementary)
•, (John Shields Elementary)
•, (Blackberry Creek Elementary)
•, (John Stewart Elementary)

Kaneland lunch menus

Monday, Sept. 6: No school
Tuesday, Sept. 7: Lasagna roll-up, garlic bread, tossed salad, peas, pears, frozen yogurt
Wednesday, Sept. 8: Chicken parmesan sandwich, green beans, tater tots, pineapple
Thursday, Sept. 9: Italian beef with cheese, pretzels, corn, applesauce
Friday, Sept. 10: Barbecue chicken, carrots, celery, dip, cantaloupe

Shields, McDole PTO’s partner for clothing, toy resale

Kaneland—John Shields and McDole elementary schools will hold their semi-annual children’s clothing and toy resale on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Community House, 141 S. Main St., Sugar Grove.

Become a seller and earn 60 to 80 percent of all your sales. If you would like to sell, you will be assigned a seller number and be given tags to print and attach to each item. You set the price, drop off the items before the sale, and volunteers will do the rest.

If you volunteer the day of the sale or help set up, you can earn up to 80 percent of your sales. Volunteers will also get to pre-shop before the sale is open to the public.

Acceptable fall and winter items include:
• Clothing, including infant, children’s and boys’ through size 16, girls’ through junior size and maternity wear
• Infant and children’s shoes, fall/winter coats, pajamas and athletic apparel.
• Infant and children’s toys, games, puzzles, books, videos, jewelry and sports equipment.
Unsold items must be picked up from 3 to 3:30 p.m. the day of the sale, or items will be donated to charity. The committee is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

If you would like to become a seller, please send an e-mail to

CAC charter gets makeover

Citizens Advisory Committee charter changes approved
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board approved several changes to the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) Charter on Monday.

The School Board voted 5-0 to approve changes to several sections of the charter. The CAC recommended the changes, which Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler presented to the board.

Under the changes, all members of the CAC must reside within the district, and Kaneland administrators may not join the CAC.

In addition, the board approved a charter provision stating that no CAC member shall miss two consecutive meetings and/or three meetings within one year. And, proposed charter changes must receive approval from the majority of the CAC before the School Board votes on them.

Previously, a CAC member could serve three consecutive terms, but under another charter change, a member may serve for an additional year, subject to CAC and board approval.

The School Board established the CAC in 2002 to facilitate communications between the board, administration and the community. The committee offers opinions and advice on various School District matters, and district personnel can communicate information directly to the citizens on the committee.

Kaneland Foundation golf outing approaches

Kaneland—The annual Kaneland Foundation Golf Outing will be held Thursday, Sept. 16, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Bliss Creek Golf Course, 1 Golfview Drive, Sugar Grove.

Included in the event will be various mini-events, such as the annual challenge hole, a putting contest, annual betting holes, beat the pro, 50/50 drawing, a Jell-O shot hole, mulligans and “gimme strings”.

The event is a four-person scramble with two divisions, Mens or Mixed. Sponsorship opportunities are available until Tuesday, Aug. 31.

For information, contact Chuck Liss at (630) 774-8574 or Beth Sterkel (630) 365-8295.

The mission for the Kaneland Foundation is to provide financial resources to enhance the quality of education for all Kaneland district students. Visit the organization’s website,

Kaneland fails to meet learning standards

by David Maas and Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—In 2009-10, Kaneland School District did not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward meeting state learning standards under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

“This is the first time the district has not met the standards,” Erika Schlichter, Kaneland’s director of educational services, told the School Board on Monday.

The district’s AYP failure was because three subgroups within the district—Hispanic students, students with disabilities and economically disadvantage students—did not meet state standards in reading and math, Schlichter said.

Annual achievement test scores determine whether students are meeting state learning standards. For 2009-10, the state required that 77.5 of students within the School District, and within each subgroup with 45 or more students, to meet state learning standards for the district to make AYP.

Overall, 84.8 percent of district students met state standards in reading, and 88.1 percent met state standards in math. However, within Kaneland’s subgroups, 54.9 percent of students with disabilities met state standards in reading and 63.7 percent in math; 69.2 percent of Hispanic students met state standards in reading and 63.7 percent in math; and 69.8 percent of economically disadvantaged students met state standards in reading and 74.3 percent in math.

Kaneland High School (KHS) did not meet state standards in reading and math, either. Sixty-one percent of 11th graders met reading standards and 51.6 percent met math standards, according to their Prairie State Achievement Exam scores. KHS test scores were not the reason that the district did not make AYP, Schlichter said.

Despite Kaneland’s failure to make AYP because of the subgroups’ test scores, the state has not identified the district for improvement status. The reason the district still is in good standing with the state is because grades three through eight met the learning standards, Schlichter said.

However, Schlichter said she is looking forward to talking with Kaneland officials about the steps the district will take to continue to improve its AYP standings.

In September, she will present the School Board with in-depth data regarding elementary, middle and high school AYP statistics for the district. District officials also will discuss school improvement plans.

Board member Ken Carter said he is particularly interested in seeing the findings for KHS.

“I’d like to see why exactly the (high school) standards weren’t met,” Carter said.

Kaneland lunch menus for Aug. 26- Sept. 3

Kaneland Harter Middle School
Thursday, Aug. 26: Corn dog, tri-tater, carrots, gelatin
Friday, Aug. 27: Cheese pizza, tossed salad with dressing, yogurt parfait, green peas
Monday, Aug. 30: Chicken nuggets, broccoli with cheese sauce, frozen yogurt
Tuesday, Aug. 31: Barbecue rib sandwich, oven fries, carrots
Wednesday, Sept. 1: Sloppy Joe, tri-tater, green beans
Thursday, Sept. 2: Turkey sandwich, cheesy potatoes, mixed vegetables
Friday, Sept. 3: Bean and cheese burrito, Spanish rice, corn

Kaneland High School
Thursday, Aug. 26: Corn dog, tri-tater, carrots, applesauce, Jell-O
Friday, Aug. 27: Cheese pizza, tossed salad, peas, yogurt parfait, cantalope
Monday, Aug. 30: Chicken nuggets, broccoli with cheese, peaches, frozen yogurt
Tuesday, Aug. 31: Barbecue rib sandwich, oven fries, carrots, pears
Wednesday, Sept. 1: Sloppy Joe, tri-tater, green beans, pineapple
Thursday, Sept. 2: Turkey sandwich, cheesy potatoes, mixed vegetables, applesauce
Friday, Sept. 3: Bean and cheese burrito, Spanish rice, corn, cantalope

Preschool screening set for September

Kaneland—Kaneland School District will offer a preschool screening for district students who may qualify for special education services on Friday, Sept. 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The screening will be held at Morning Star Community Church, 8S101 Barnes Road, Aurora.

Children ages 3 to 5 that are suspected of having any delays in developmental milestones are encouraged to attend. The milestones will be checked, which include speech, hearing and vision.

To schedule an appointment, call (630) 365-5111, ext. 158.

Please note that this is not a kindergarten screening.

D-302 enrollment increases

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Kaneland School District 302’s enrollment is up 49 students—a 1 percent increase from the 2009-10 school year, Superintendent Jeff Schuler told the School Board on Monday.

Schuler expects enrollment to be slightly higher by Aug. 25.

“The numbers shared last night will likely change before the start of school with last-minute registrations,” he said. “At the next meeting, I will also do an enrollment report with our first-day numbers.”

The largest increase occurred in the high school’s enrollment, which is up 2.7 percent from 2009-10.

“This was expected as the freshman class is much larger than the graduation class from last year,” Schuler said.

The incoming freshmen class has 352 students, and the 2009-10 senior class had 303.

Kaneland Middle School enrollment is currently up 1.6 percent, or 17 students, from last year’s first-day totals, while enrollment numbers for both John Stewart and John Shields Elementary School are currently down 1.3 and 4.8 percent—8 and 31 students, respectively.

The district, which cut its teaching staff by 10.5 percent at the end of the 2009-10 school year, does not plan to hire more teachers despite the enrollment increase, Schuler said.

The numbers
Kaneland enrollment estimates:
High School 1,314
Middle School 1,112
Blackberry Elementary 459
John Stewart Elementary 611
John Shields Elementary 610
McDole Elementary 614

KHS announces beginning-of-year info

Kaneland—Kaneland High School released the following information to help students and parents plan for the beginning of the school year.

School fees: Fees must be paid or postmarked by Monday, Aug. 16. Office hours on Aug. 16 are 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 3 p.m. Checks should be made payable to Kaneland District No. 302. Call (630) 365-5100, ext. 206, if you need to arrange a payment plan.

Freshman orientation: Orientation is on Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. You will have an opportunity to pre-pay for lunch, log onto the computer network, purchase PE uniforms and locks, find lockers, and run through a practice schedule.

Start of school: Kaneland High School will begin a full day of classes on Wednesday, Aug. 25. The school day begins at 7:40 a.m. Students should have paper and pen/pencils with them on the first day of school. Teachers will instruct students what the school supply requirements will be for that particular class. Hot lunch and a la carte items will be served.

Student parking: All students who drive should park in the north parking lot. Enter the lot from Keslinger Road, not Meredith Road. Parking fees for the 2010-11 school year will be $150. Forms can be downloaded from the Kaneland website beginning in August, or are available in the high school office.

Schedules: Student schedules will only be available online beginning in August. The student’s locker number and combination will be on that schedule.

Lunch accounts: KHS has a computerized debit payment system that allows the school to accomplish several things that are of benefit to parents and students. Time in line at lunch is reduced, and all purchases are logged so parents can inquire what food items their child has purchased. You may pay by cash or check. Make checks payable to Kaneland District No. 302. Students may make deposits to their account to Mrs. Van Bogaert in the office during STEN (7:40 to 8:10 a.m.) only, or pay the cashier at checkout. Checks for multiple students must be given to Van Bogaert in the office. Remember to indicate how much should be credited to each student’s account. Students will need to enter their ID number at the cash register/checkout counter. Your child can find his/her ID number on his/her class schedule. Cashiers will let students know when their balances are getting low.

Picture days: Picture days at the high school will be Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, for underclassmen. Picture forms will be handed out to students on Monday or Tuesday before picture days. Seniors will be photographed for their ID cards. Seniors should call Root Studios at 1-800-433-1766 if they have not yet scheduled their senior portrait sitting for the yearbook.

Open house: The faculty and staff of Kaneland High School invite all parents to attend the open house program on Wednesday, Sept. 8. The purpose of the program is to provide parents with the opportunity to meet their child’s first semester teachers and become familiar with the curriculum by following an abbreviated version of their child’s schedule. The program will begin at 7 p.m., with a general welcome meeting in the auditorium. Students will be asked to complete a copy of their daily schedule, which will be taken home to parents prior to the open house.

Voter registration: All parents and residents of the Kaneland School District are encouraged to register to vote. You can register at any of the schools in the district on school days. The high school office hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Newsletter: Kaneland High School publishes a bi-monthly parent newsletter that is posted and available on the high school website. If you do not have Internet access and would like to receive the newsletter by mail, contact Mrs. Cesario at (630) 365-5100, ext. 204.

Kaneland School Board reviews strategic plan

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday reviewed annual goals for both the superintendent and district, outlining areas such as teaching and learning, finance, human resources, staff and community relations, and maintaining a safe and healthy environment.

During the board meeting, Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler presented the district’s strategic plan and said the district will monitor progress on its goals throughout the year.

Roof project delays could mean hot school days

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday assessed the progress of District 302’s summer construction projects, including a new roof for the high school, whose construction has been delayed because of frequent rain.

The roof is 60 percent complete and is set to be finished by Monday, Aug. 19, Kaneland Assistant Superintendent for Business Julie-Ann Fuchs said. Construction on the roof has been delayed at times this summer because of excessive rainfall.

The air conditioning in Kaneland High School is projected to be fully operating again about a week after the roof is completed, which also is when school is set to start.

“It’s going to be close (to when classes resume),” Fuchs said. “If, for some reason, we get another couple of rain days here, that delays the progress of the roof, so we all need to be prepared for the first week of school, (because the air) may or may not actually be working.”

The significant rainfall from last weekend also caused the roof to leak, damaging some of the high school carpeting to the extent that it may need to be replaced.

“It seems like sometimes our rains are just pretty hard lately, and with a new roof like that, it’s tough,” Fuchs said.

The high school’s air conditioning will not be functional for Kaneland freshman orientation on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Kaneland registration information

Kaneland—The Kaneland School District will begin the new school year on Wednesday, Aug. 25, with a full day of classes. Full bus service to all schools and full hot lunch service at the middle school and high school will be provided the first day of school.

If you are in the process of moving into the Kaneland School District, please register as soon as possible. Contact the appropriate school building to be certain that you meet the state residency criteria to attend the district’s schools. You are encouraged to visit the building before school starts. Each school will have an open house for new students. Please check a school’s website via to locate this information.

Also, please note that if a student is not registered by Aug. 1, bus service cannot be guaranteed for the first two weeks of school, depending on locations and other factors. If your child will be transported to or from an approved child care facility, please make sure you have filled out the necessary paperwork included in your registration packet by Aug. 1.

Additional information about the Kaneland School District, as well as information about the district’s registration deadline on Aug. 15, will be available in the Elburn Herald’s Kaneland Back to School Guide, which will publish Aug. 5.

International exchange students need local homes

Kaneland—A local nonprofit exchange program is inviting local families to host international exchange students for the 2010-11 school year.

The teenage students come from more than 30 countries and attend local high schools. The students have their own spending money and insurance.

Host families are responsible for meals, a place to sleep and a nurturing environment. STS Foundation has a local coordinator that will supervise the student and support the family throughout the school year.

For information, call or e-mail David Keating at 1-800-522-4678 or

‘The Music Man’

Kaneland arts festival’s first summer show
by Paula Coughlan
KANELAND—Kaneland will turn into River City when the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival presents “The Music Man.”

“The Music Man” will be the first summer-stock musical for the festival, which has presented adult and youth art shows and individual performers since 1998.

Performances will take place Friday through Sunday, July 16, 17, and 18, at the Kaneland High School auditorium.

The show’s director, Diane McFarlin, Kaneland High School assistant principal, has enjoyed live theater—acting and directing—locally and in New York for 30 years.

“I love to work with actors and character development,” she said.

Led by Kaneland alumnus Matt Scharlau as “The Music Man” character Harold Hill. The performance features actors aged 8 through 77.

The actors rehearsed last week for their “trouble” and “train” scenes, with McFarlin drumming her hand on the table to set the cadence for Harold Hill’s oration. Meanwhile, technicians tested backdrops, and choreographer Maggie McCord moved dancers through their paces for a library scene.

Linda Miller, who plays Mrs. Paroo in the show, sings a solo in the production. She became involved in theater when her son started acting at the community college level, she said.

Maria Dripps-Paulson, director of the Fine Arts Festival, has worked with McFarlin before, when they both taught in the Kaneland district.

“This is our first collaboration in several years,” Dripps-Paulson said, “and we’re really hoping it’ll be a success.”

McFarlin said she is grateful to the Kaneland School District for providing a venue for the production. She added that the sound system in the auditorium is top-notch.

For a list of cast and crew members (more volunteers are needed), visit

Show times and tickets

7 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17;
and at 2 p.m.
Sunday, July 18.

$10 each, $8 for students
and senior citizens (age 65-plus),
$23 for a family ticket (household).
Reservations are required.
Purchase online at

Photo: Cast members practice a song for the upcoming performance of “The Music Man,” set to premier Friday, July 16. Photo by Paula Coughlan

Tower to enhance fire-science program

Local fire departments will have access to facility
by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board has set aside land on the high school’s campus for a new training tower for the Fox Valley Career Center (FVCC) fire-science program.

The tower, which officials hope will be finished by this fall, will be 30 feet high, 40 feet long and 25 feet wide, constructed out of recycled overseas shipping containers, and funded through grants the FVCC obtained.

“I don’t know that an actual cost has yet to be determined, but it would not be a direct cost to the Kaneland School District,” Superintendent Jeff Schuler said. “Any money required beyond what is received in the grant (FVCC received to build the training facility) would need to be funded through the career center budget.”

The tower will allow fire-science instructors to simulate firefighting conditions more accurately during class sessions.

“The tower provides a structure in which we can now throw ladders against, move charged hose lines through, fill with artificial smoke (and practice) other skills we have not been able to do as well as we should have before,” FVCC fire-rescue instructor Gary Baum said.

The tower will benefit not only the FVCC fire-science program, but the community as a whole, because fire departments also will have access to the facility as long as their training does not interfere with school functions.

“It is the goal of the Fox Valley Career Center to train future firefighters and EMTs to serve their communities, and in turn provide a facility to allow those already serving a place to continue their training,” he said.

Tentative Kaneland budget has $2.5M shortfall

District hit by higher costs
by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board adopted a tentative 2010-11 District 302 operating budget on Monday that has a $2.5 million shortfall, despite drastic cost-cutting measures taken this spring.

The tentative operating budget includes revenue of $44.1 million and expenditures of $46.6 million.

Comparatively, 2009-10 operating revenue was $46 million and expenditures totaled $45.7 million.

The main reasons for the projected drop in district revenue were the lack of local new property growth, the expected decrease in state-mandated categorical grants and the state property tax cap, Kaneland Assistant Superintendent for Business Julie-Ann Fuchs said.

Fuchs also cited two reasons projected 2010-11 expenditures are higher than expenses last year, despite the School Board having reduced costs by $4.3 this spring through cuts in staff, supplies and substitute-teacher pay.

“Our (employee) health insurance came in nearly 20 percent ($1 million) higher, and projected special education program tuition and transportation costs are $1 million more,” Fuchs said. “Not only are the (special education) costs going up, but we continue to have more kids that need special placement.”

The district will use existing funds to cover the budget deficit.

The budget is available for the public to examine at the district office through Sept. 13. On that date, the district will hold a public hearing and approve the final budget.

Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said district officials expect some changes to the budget before the board approves it, but none that will be significant on the expenditure side.

“The vast majority of our costs are in personnel, and our staffing plan has been established for next school year,” Schuler said.

District officials are hopeful but uncertain that the revenue picture will improve by September.

“In our tentative budget, we were very conservative in our projections for state revenue given that we still don’t have specific information regarding how much money we will receive from the state this year,” Schuler said.

The state of Illinois is $3.2 million behind in categorical grant payments it owes the district, which significantly affected the transportation and education funds, Schuler said.

Kaneland Assistant Superintendent for Business Julie-Ann Fuchs said the district will continue to obtain information and updates from the state throughout the summer.

Teacher sues Kaneland for discrimination

updated July 2, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.
by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—McDole Elementary School teacher Richard Scott and his wife, Debi Thomas, are suing the Kaneland School District and three of its administrators for discrimination.

In the complaint they filed in U.S. District Court on June 22, Scott and Thomas allege that the School District, former superintendent Charles McCormick, and former assistant superintendent Jeff Schuler (now superintendent), discriminated against Scott because of his gender and his disability.

Scott, a fifth-grade teacher at McDole in Montgomery, is the only male teacher at the school. He has been a teacher in the Kaneland School District for 14 years. His complaint states that he has been diagnosed with severe attention deficit disorder and major depression.

The complaint alleges that Scott consistently received excellent performance evaluations until three years ago, when Martne McCoy became assistant principal at McDole and began lowering his performance evaluations. According to the complaint, she continued to lower them and severely criticize his teaching after she became principal in 2008.

Scott’s complaint alleges that McCoy scrutinized his performance more rigorously than the performance of female teachers at McDole. The complaint also alleges that the School District did not provide reasonable accommodations for his disability, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Specifically, Scott alleges that the district denied his requests to transfer him from McDole to the junior high school as a way to accommodate his disability.

The district’s denial of his requests caused him to become so depressed that he required an in-patient hospitalization, continuing treatment and multiple leaves of absences from work, the complaint states.

The couple is seeking a judgment in excess of $75,000 plus court costs and attorney’s fees.

In the complaint, Scott’s wife alleges that the School District’s refusal to accommodate her husband’s requests caused his depression to become so severe that it impaired her marital relationship.

“The district is aware that the lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court,” Schuler said in a statement released Monday. “Because Mr. Scott has brought this into litigation, the district will not make specific comment on the issue, other than to say that the allegations are false. The district remains committed to the fair treatment of our employees and to providing a quality education for our students. This has been, and will continue to be, a core value supported by the work of our administrative team.”

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Steven Glink, has yet to respond to messages from the Elburn Herald seeking comment.