February 2018

Complete information packet

Board president Mark Steen opened the meeting with remarks and a moment of silence related the recent school shootings and all those that have come before.


  • Facility Development – Alice Schaff reported – Committee reviewed bids for HMS construction, which will be presented tonight. Bids came in under budget, so administration looked at alternative bids in addition to the base bid for the addition of four classrooms and a secure entrance: boiler pumps, upgraded electrical panel, and new or improved auditorium seating. This is in addition to asbestos abatement and a sprinkler/fire alarm system. Work will begin in June and will be completed before school begins in August, except for the four-classroom addition. Next meeting is March 12th at 8 am.
  • School Finance – Frank Panzica reported – The committee took a deeper dive into expenditures - three areas were reviewed. The focus was on defining the level of detail appropriate for the committee - a consistent format for future reports was defined. Discussed fund balances and reserves, looking at various scenarios, noting this must be considered along with expenditure analysis to determine how much risk must be covered by reserves. Next meeting is March 12 at 8 am.
  • Strategy – Alice Schaff reported – Three topics were discussed: 1)Instrumental Music - Survey results were reviewed by the consultant. Scope of the survey was to see who preferred before school as opposed to using a related arts period. The scope also included exploration of sectionals – both students and parents felt sectionals were very important, but did not like them interrupting academic classes. Cost and other barriers to participation were explored. Committee will continue to explore scheduling options. 2) Kindergarten Enrichment - Space needs and operating costs have been reviewed. Parents have been surveyed to determine interest and the level they would be willing to pay. 70% of respondents said they would participate, and 69% said they would be willing to pay tuition $6500 for program to be offered in home school. The committee asked that the broader community be surveyed. Committee asked for three options to be developed – free full day kindergarten as soon as possible, building a paid enrichment program that reverts to free full day kindergarten in 5 years, and building a paid enrichment program that reverts to free full day kindergarten in 10 years. 3)student growth – Report is later on the agenda. Next meeting is March 12 at 8 am
  • Insurance Advisory – Lisa Schneider Fabes reported – Discussed transition to Cooperative 90’s, which began last fall. Renewal rates have been determined for upcoming year - no plan changes and only slight rate changes. Open enrollment is in April ahead of the June plan year. Flu shots will be offered next year, but not wellness screening due to lack of interest. There is consideration of moving from an Insurance Committee format to a Board Liaison format.
  • Educational Foundation – Jon Cesaretti reported - Trivia night was very successful and raised $14,000. Next event is a showing of Princess Bride tentatively scheduled for April 15. Pub Crawl is May 17. Next round of Gripp Grants due March 9. Next meeting is March 20 at 7:00 pm.

Tracy Kearney reported. The Governor gave his budget address where he proposed shifting all normal TRS costs from the state to local districts, phasing this in 25% each year for 4 years. If adopted, state would save more than $490 million in just first year. He also said he would give school districts tools to offset the costs. There did not appear to be support for this proposal on either side of the aisle.


Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

Satisfaction Survey Results -District 39, in conjunction with other Wilmette government bodies, participated in a community survey, conducted by Fallon Research. We are proud of our high marks and are happy to share< class="apple-converted-space"> the results, which are posted on our website. It is worth noting that 89% of community members surveyed rate the education we provide as excellent or good, including those who do not have children in our schools. It is rewarding to know the community values the important work we do.

Summer Enrichment Program - Registration is open until March 9th for the 2018 Summer Enrichment Program. Some of the popular classes such as Kids in the Kitchen, Sculpture & Ceramics, and Coding are reaching maximum limits.

Angel Fund – Angel Fund is a District 39 resource that offers assistance to families in need. Angel Fund is supported entirely through private donations, and 100% of every dollar goes directly to D39 students. The Valley Lodge Tavern is proud to support District 39’s Angel Fund by donating 15% of every purchase (dine in or take-out) on Thursday, March 8th from 11:00 am – Midnight. Flyers are available online. You have to show the flyer, either electronically or printed, in order to participate.

New Trier Township Innovation and Tech Expo - New Trier Township schools are hosting an Innovation & Tech Expo for parents and teachers on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at New Trier Winnetka Campus from 8:30 am to noon. This will be a conference style experience where attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for three breakout sessions.

Superintendent News – Finally, I wanted our community to know that I informed the Board of Education about my intent to retire on June 30, 2019.  After 20 years in District 39, it will be hard to leave. The most rewarding part of my 33-year career involves the last 12 years as your superintendent. I’ve had the pleasure to work in a community steadfastly focused on the betterment of students. This includes numerous dedicated Boards of Education, committed staff, top-notch administrators, and exceptional parents. Collectively, we drive our schools to excellence. I look forward to working with the next D39 leader to ensure a smooth transition.


Strategic Plan Updates

  • Personalized Learning – Ms. Lee - This brief update shares that District 39 administration is studying Personalized Learning through research, discussions, and site visits. This is a new initiative.
  • Student Growth- Ms. Lee - This report provides an update on District 39’s progress in developing a student growth model.

Annual Business

  • Summer 2018 Construction Project Bids Ms. Buscemi - The planned construction projects are for the 4-classroom addition and secure entrance at HMS address. The need for extra space was prioritized over a new Learning Commons at HMS. The bids came in under budget and alternates to add boiler pumps and upgraded electric panel have been included within the scope of the project.


Board president Mark Steen pulled Board of Education Policy 6:190 from the Consent Agenda.

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Board of Education Policy 6:190 was approved as Second Read and will be presented as Third and Final Read at the March 2018 Board of Education Meeting.


The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday,
March 19, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.



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