The State of Illinois Constitution in Article X, Section 1 states;
GOAL - FREE SCHOOLS
A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the educational development of all persons to the limits of their capacities. The State shall provide for an efficient system of high-quality public educational institutions and services. Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free.
The Board of Education at Galesburg CUSD #205 has taken the Illinois Constitution to heart and has embarked on a 2-year process to eliminate all fees for students and families in the District. This commitment was made to eliminate any and all barriers to a high-quality education that may exist for students and their families.
The District eliminated all registration fees and participation fees two years ago. Last year, the District applied for district-wide Community Eligibility Status (CEP) for the federal breakfast and lunch program which provides free breakfast and lunch for all
This year, the Board of Education has made the commitment to provide all school supplies to students. The only expense a parent could incur during a child’s PK-12 experience at District #205 would be for the behind-the-wheel portion of Drivers Education (the classroom portion is free) and an annual $25 student parking fee at the high school for students who drive to school. There are even programs to assist families with the behind-the-wheel driver’s education fees if a family’s income meets certain federal guidelines. CUSD #205 Board of Education President, Rod Scherpe states, “By eliminating registration fees, I hope to see parents registering their children for school earlier. The benefits of participating in extracurricular activities and athletics are well documented. With the elimination of these fees, I hope to see increased participation numbers.”
In addition to eliminating all fees, Galesburg CUSD #205 has embarked on a 3-year capital improvement project in all of its buildings and expanding mental health services to students. The renovated and expanded facilities provide for new curriculum opportunities, including a state-of-the-art vocational center opening in the Fall of 2021, and a new Pre-K learning center that will open in 2022. A partnership with the Knox County 708 Board has allowed the District to expand mental health services to district students through grant funds used to hire three Bridgeway Mental Health Therapists. The District has also expanded Outreach and SEL services to further support students and staff.
Dr. John Asplund, Superintendent of Galesburg Schools says “The District 205 Board of Education is to be commended for its unwavering commitment to the families of our educational community. We have been able to remove financial barriers and to provide equitable educational opportunities regardless of a child’s address within District 205.” “These achievements are even more impressive when you also consider that the District has been able to run a balanced budget and maintain the same property tax rate, so as not to burden current or future taxpayers while achieving these far-reaching goals.”