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Letter: EIASE director endorses Smith

To whom it may concern;

My name is Tony Reeley. I am the Executive Director of Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education, and I am endorsing Michael N. Smith for Regional Superintendent of Schools for the ROE #11. I have worked with Mike Smith for the past 12 years, and in my opinion, Mike Smith is one of the most respected educational leaders in our area. Mr. Smith is known among his peers for being an innovative educator while at the same time being a fiscally conservative leader. During his four years as the Superintendent of Oakland schools, Mr.. Smith helped the district grow their educational fund balance from just over $300,000 to 1.1 million dollars. When Mr. Smith was hired as the Superintendent of Tuscola Schools on July 1, 2010, the district was in bad financial shape. The district was in such bad shape that the Illinois State Board of Education gave the district a financial “Watch” rating, which is the worst rating that they give. The most recent financial audit was done for fiscal year 2017 and Tuscola’s fund balance has grown significantly. They now have the highest financial rating of “Recognition”. Mr. Smith has put these schools, and therefore the communities, in a more stable position for the future.

The balance of taking care of his district’s needs while making sure that the district’s finances are in order is why he is seen as a leader among school districts in our region. As the state’s financial troubles continue to get worse, many of our local school districts’ budgets become increasingly restricted. School leaders will need a Regional Superintendent who has actually been a school principal, superintendent, and successfully managed school district finances. Given a choice between the two candidates, I believe that your local school district superintendents would say that due to Michael Smith’s vast experience as a school leader, their districts would be better supported by Mr. Smith as Regional Superintendent of Schools. If you have doubts, I would encourage you to ask them personally.

Most of the 24 school districts in ROE #11 are in small communities. It’s well known that the health and viability of small communities is directly tied to the local school district. Strong schools help make strong communities. I ask that you vote for Michael N. Smith for Regional Superintendent of Schools on March 20, 2018.

Respectfully,

Tony L. Reeley

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