In 2019, Somonauk and Leland schools began the process of consolidation. What started as a conversation about all of the services that we already shared, quickly turned into how we could build on that positive foundation. Our first step was to hire consultants who could conduct a feasibility study to determine if consolidation was in fact something that could work for both communities. The study revealed what we suspected. Somonauk and Leland are in fact “STRONGER TOGETHER”.
Illinois has been experiencing a shortage of teachers for the past several years, and this has exacerbated with the pandemic. In order to provide more diverse course offerings for students at all age levels, combining resources is necessary. For example, at the elementary school, having more students would allow for a more tailored approach to students' needs. Combining the middle school and high school would allow for more special interest offerings such as STEM, foreign language, band, Industrial Arts, and Advanced Placement classes. A combined district would be able to offer stronger academic offerings to the students.
A goal for the new district is to enhance student involvement. A larger student body would yield more student interest in each activity to avoid canceling of seasons and create more opportunities for various clubs. Existing opportunities would be expanded upon and stronger extra-curricular programs would be the result of a combined district.
Remaining fiscally responsible is a priority for the districts. Combining the two districts would result in a larger tax base, which would help the districts to weather an economic recession or reductions in state funding. The feasibility study does predict a small reduction in the property tax rate. Additionally, incentive money from the state, totaling approximately 1.1 million dollars, would be received to facilitate the consolidation process. In turn, the combined district would be in a stronger financial position.