Welcome to the 2012-13 school year! by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools Rockford Public Schools Dear Rockford community and RPS staff: Now that we have all survived the hottest summer in recent history, it is probably appropriate to begin thinking about the beginning of a new school year. At least we know the days and nights must eventually become cooler! As our children enter through the school doors in September, we pledge to you that Rockford Public Schools will continue to build on the tradition of excellence and continuous improvement, providing students with an exemplary education. Our greatest, most important resource is people: our students, our employees, our parents, and our community. Without you, Rockford Public Schools would be just one of the 550 school districts statewide. With you, we can transcend the norm and become exceptional. Thank you! Even though current state funding per child ($6,996) is much less than it was in 2008-2009 ($7,316 per child), we are able to maintain most of our programs and retain most of our staff; even with the unfortunate state legislation requiring full-day, every day kindergarten to receive full funding. Why? In part because our employees have accepted four years of wage and salary freezes, coupled with paying the highest health insurance co-pays in Kent County. Thank you! As I begin my 24th year as Rockford’s superintendent, I promise we will do our best to provide an exemplary education for your children. We will also continue to work hard to encourage our state lawmakers to provide adequate funding for our children’s education. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact me at (616) 863-6557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.