DARE Program Discontinuation on Monday's Village Board Agenda
Clarendon Hills trustees will discuss a proposal to replace the DARE program in the village's public schools so that the village can focus on "core services."
The Clarendon Hills Village Board will discuss the future of the DARE program in the village's District 181 public schools at its 7 p.m. meeting Monday night at Village Hall.
A July 12 press release from the village first announced the village's "re-examining" of the DARE program in an effort to reduce costs and reduce redundancy with the district's Social Emotional Learning for Academic Success Program (SELAS).
"“The village has worked over the last several years to further focus resources on core services, including infrastructure investment and public safety,” village manager Randy Recklaus said in the release. “We are continuing to re-examine our existing programs for cost effectiveness.
"While the DARE program provides a benefit to students in the community who attend District 181 schools, it does so at a significant cost. We will be presenting an alternative to the current program that we feel meets the goals of the current program, but better reflects our current staffing and financial limitations."
District 181 schools in Clarendon Hills include Walker School, Prospect School and Clarendon Hills Middle School. There is currently no plan to re-examine the DARE program in the Hinsdale District 181 schools.
Included in Monday's agenda packet is a memo from Clarendon Hills Police Chief Ted Jenkins to village trustees in which he endorses the replacement of DARE with the expanded SELAS program.
"By integrating the two programs, the Village and District staff believe they fulfill the same goals of the DARE program while reducing the impact on instructional time and allowing the Village to focus its resources on core programs," Jenkins' memo reads. "In addition to participation with the SELAS program, the proposal would continue to have the Police Department assigning a Police Officer to be a regular liaison with the schools, in addition to his or her normal responsibilities."
In a statement sent to Patch after the village's July press release, District 181 Superintendent Dr. Renée Schuster said the district is open to the possibility of DARE being discontinued at the Clarendon Hills schools.
"We have discussed their review of the DARE program, and I am confident that if the Village Board approves a change, together we can develop a local program that will be a win-win for all, especially our students," Schuster said. "The objectives of the new program we create would be the same: equipping children with the tools to say no to drugs and alcohol, teaching children the value and importance of good decision making, and sharing the most effective ways to prevent and respond to bullying. With any new offering, we would maintain the aspects that were such positive experiences for our students and their families, including an end-of-year celebration and the strong relationships with our police officers."