October 2017

Below are highlights from the District 39 Board of Education meeting on October 23, 2017.

Complete packet

Board Assignment Reports

  • Strategy – Alice SchaffReviewing the strategic plan was focus of the meeting.
  • Facility Development – Alice SchaffDiscussed HMS construction, primarily phase 1, which includes the addition of four classrooms, relocation of school offices, and security improvements. There was brief discussion of phase 2, which includes the learning commons, currently scheduled for summer 2019. There was an update on McKenzie air handler and related noise issues. Planned summer 2018 projects were reviewed, which are primarily life safety projects
  • School Finance – Frank PanzicaElizabeth Hennessey from Raymond James attended and discussed options for refinancing bond issues, however the Board decided against refinancing at this time. Committee discussed 2017 tentative tax levy, covered in a later report. Long term financial projection assumptions were reviewed. Committee took time to discuss balance between being fiscally conservative in assumptions without being too conservative in long range projections. Some student fees were reviewed.
  • Insurance Advisory – Lisa Schneider FabesCommittee met earlier today. Reviewed status of all benefit plans. There were some issues transitioning to new plans, but all have been resolved. Low participation in wellness program so committee will review this and there will be a report at the January meeting. Next meeting Jan 29th at 4:30
  • CRC – Dr. Lechner - continue to work on personalized learning and subcommittees are being formed. Next meeting is November 6th at 7:00 pm.
  • Educational Foundation – Frank PanzicaFashion show was very successful. Bingo night happened last Friday. Fall Gripp Grant deadline is October 28th. Science Olympiad in in sign up phase. Next meeting is November 14th at 7:00 pm.

Legislative Update

Tracy Kearney reported. Legislature hasn’t been in session since the Education Funding Bill passed. Dr. Lechner continues to lobby the state to get rid of PARCC and use MAP.

Information items 

Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

  • Hurricane Harvey Relief - I am very proud of our collective effort to help Pasadena ISD, Texas school district hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. This district has 56,000 students, and nearly 77% are economically disadvantaged. Our District raised $19,700 with a combination of online donations, collection jars in school lobbies and homerooms, and lemonade and bake sales. Our students and staff sent letters and created art to help the community recover. The Pasadena superintendent shared her district’s gratitude for our efforts. 
  • Romona National Blue Ribbon Award - We received the official news in late September that Romona has been named a National Blue-Ribbon School for 2017. This is the second time Romona received this award, a true testament to their excellence. I will be traveling to Washington DC in November to receive the award along with Romona Principal Cindy Anderson and first grade teacher Susan Imburgia. There will be a celebration when we return.
  • FOIA  

Strategic Plan Updates

  • 2017-2018 District 39 Strategic PlanDr. Lechner, Dr. Thrasher, Mr. DeMonte, Ms. Jackson - This detailed report outlines new and continuing initiatives as well as annual business for Board of Education approval.  The three new initiatives are Kindergarten Enrichment, Instrumental Music Program, and Personalized Learning.  The District continues its work regarding School Climate, Student Growth, School Attendance, and the Learning Commons.  Each initiative has been additionally categorized by year and phase of implementation.
  • 2017-2018 Superintendent/District Goals Dr. Lechner - These goals reflect the initiatives in the Strategic Plan. 

Annual Business

  • Highcrest Proposed Construction Update  - Dr. Lechner, Ms Buscemi - Highcrest has had a history of growth. In each of the last three years enrollment has exceeded 850. TIP programs have been added, along with an increase in students receiving special services. Teachers have been asked to share classrooms, teach on a cart, and give up space for planning meetings and small group instruction. The principal has sometimes had to surrender her office to help meet the needs of students and staff. Last year, teacher meetings were held to prioritize HMS space needs. Based on this input, a multi-phase plan is being developed.  Colby Lewis from STR Partners is presented details on Phase One, which includes a four-classroom addition along with small office and group work spaces, an office addition, and secure entrance to the building.
  • Review the Tax Year 2017 Estimate of Levy and Approve Public HearingMs. Buscemi -The proposed levy is tied to the tax cap.  The formula begins with CPI at 2.1%. Any additional increase is for new construction in Wilmette.  There continues to be a significant uptick of new construction in Wilmette. The estimated levy for 2017-18 gets approved in December.
  • Fall Housing Report Dr. Thrasher - Annually, District 39 reports the number of students attending District 39's schools. This includes enrollment on Sept. 30. This year, there are 3,594 students being educated in D39 buildings. This is a slight decrease from last year, mostly seen in grades K-4. The District also examines the number of students they are responsible to educate. This number is higher than Fall Housing as it includes Early Childhood students receiving itinerant speech at the MEC, students outplaced at therapeutic settings, and students receiving special education services at St. Francis and St. Joseph's. Our Fall enrollment number is 3,627 students.
  • Transportation Update Ms. Buscemi - The start of the school year was “bumpy” on a few of the bus routes.  First, the later start times meant more congested traffic in neighborhoods compared to earlier start times last year.  In addition, there were several construction projects throughout the Village impacting bus routes. Routes are settling down and the school arrival and drop off times are working.
  • Select Student Fees – Ms. Buscemi - Each year at this time, the District begins to review of student fees. Connecting Kids tuition, 2018 Summer Enrichment Program fees, and FY19 Science Olympiad come first. No fee increases are recommended for these select programs.

Board Action

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

This following item was pulled from the consent agenda and approved separately.

This following item was pulled from the consent agenda, amended, and approved.




The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday,
November 13, 2017 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.

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