District 39 Board Meeting Highlights - October 27, 2014

Below are highlights from the District 39 Board of Education meeting on October 27, 2014. 

Board Committee Reports

  • Facility Development – Alice Schaff reported. The committee met on October 23. The completed summer construction projects were reviewed. Space issues involving the Early Childhood Program at Romona were discussed, noting that needs will be greater in 2015-16. The District’s architect has developed plans for an addition at Romona. Other topics discussed included: water issues at Central, Romona boilers, roof repairs at Highcrest, large space HVAC at Central, and congestion at Highcrest drop off. Capital projects for next year were discussed, including funding options. Next meeting is November 13 at 9:00 am. 
  • Insurance Advisory – Karen Donnan reported that the next meeting is February 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm.
  • CRC – John Flanagin reported. The last meeting was on October 6th. CRC heard a presentation about the importance of non–cognitive skills in college and career readiness and common core expectations. The next meeting is November 3 at 7:00 pm.  
  • Educational Foundation – John Flanagin reported. Last meeting was on October 8. Bingo night had more than 200 kids and parents participating and raised more than $4000 for the Gripp Grant Program. Taste of Wilmette raised additional funds. Science Olympiad registration is underway. Rack-it project is underway with all six schools participating. The next meeting is November 5. 
  • WCSEA – Cindy Levine reported that the next meeting is November 17 at 4:00 pm. 
  • School Finance – Keith Dronen reported. Committee met on October 10. Summer Enrichment Program fee structure was reviewed and only transportation fees are recommended to increase. Financing of long term capital projects was reviewed. The estimated cost for learning commons in each building is $600,000; this will be spread over 6 years, with only one worked on each year. Elizabeth Hennessy from William Blair talked about five year projections and reviewed the outstanding debt, property taxes, and the levy, which will be adopted at the December Board meeting. CPI for 2013 was 1.5%. The next meeting is November 10 at 8:00 am.

Legislative update

Keith Dronen reported. No progress on SB 16. There is talk that the house may go back to the drawing board.  

Information items

  • Written communication received by the Board was reviewed.
  • Announcements from the Superintendent
    • As recommended by the CRC, D39 is embarking on visioning as part of the development of a strategic plan for technology. First step are selecting a consultant and auditing the technology curriculum, equipment, and infrastructure. Feedback will be solicited from stakeholders including parents, staff, and students and the plan will be developed during the 2015-16 school year. Adam Denenberg will have an update at the December Board meeting.
    • The composting pilot at Highcrest continues to go very well. Harper will start a composting trial in November.
    • D39 is conducting review that could lead to an upgrade in the keyboarding program at the elementary level. This could involve using new tools for instruction and possibly adding a home component. Adam Denenberg will have an update for the December Board meeting.
    • The District will be conducting a complete review of all Board personnel policies in the coming months.
    • TED-Ed is a WJHS Club started last year that gives students an opportunity to discuss topics of interest and present their ideas in a TED TalkWHJS 8th grader Matt Dekker is currently featured on the TED-ed Blog for his talk entitled, "The Paradox of Hyperspace."
    • Parent Events:
      • Last week was a Math Curriculum Night for 6-8 grade parents. The focus was on changes in math materials, as well as important mathematical practices, learner habits, and ways that parents can best support their children's math learning at home. The K-5 parent night is scheduled November 4th at 7 PM at WJHS.
      • Last Saturday New Trier Township districts co-hosted a technology boot camp for parents that provided 25 sessions to help parents better understand the technology kids are using. More than 500 parents participated. 
    • Last week ISBE informed superintendents that 5Essentials is back. Two years ago ISBE introduced 5 Essentials as a mandated a survey of learning environments. Dr. Palzet will have a full report next month on D39 implementation.
    • The District received four FOIA requests this month.
  • Dr. Thrasher presented the Fall Housing Report, showing the enrollment data that is submitted annually to the state.
  • Dr. Clauson presented the Student Growth: Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) report, providing information on D39’s teacher evaluation system, student growth requirements, and the next steps toward implementing student growth by fall 2016.
  • Dr. Palzet presented the New Trier High School Freshmen Survey report, which examines the level of preparedness of WJHS students as they enter New Trier. 
  • Dr. Palzet presented the WJHS Computer Science Courses Pilot report, highlighting a coding class that would be a related arts offering for 8th graders. 
  • Mrs. Horowitz, Dr. Thrasher, and Mrs. Fleming presented the Assessment Update: Spring 2014 ISAT/Performance Series Results. Test results were reviewed, along with information on the Illinois Report Card and updates on PARCC. 
  • Dr. Lechner presented the 2014-2015 Superintendent/District Goals. Based directly on the D39 CONNECTED Strategic Plan, these goals promote educational quality and include deliverables and measures. 
  • Ms. Buscemi presented the Estimate of the 2014 Levy. The proposed Levy represents a total increase for all funds of 2.71% over last years levy. The Public Hearing is scheduled for Dec 15th.  
  • Dr. Lechner presented the Resolution Providing for the Issue of General Obligation Limited Tax Refunding Bonds, Series 2014, for Refunding Purposes. The District has an opportunity to save taxpayers approximately $118,000 by refinancing the remaining Series 2004 Limited Tax Bonds at lower interest rates. 
  • Dr. Lechner presented the 2015-2016 Construction Projects - not to exceed $3,005,000 for Non-Life Safety projects. This would include an addition at Romona School for increased early childhood space, HVAC in the Central Cafeteria, roof work at WJHS, and boiler replacements at Romona. With Board approval, bids will be solicited for these Summer 2015 projects.
  • Dr. Thrasher presented the Summer Enrichment Program Fee Schedule. The recommendation is for the Summer Enrichment Program fee to remain the same, with only transportation fee increasing to $120 from $105.
  • Dr. Clauson presented the following Board Policy Updates:
    • Second and Final Read Revised Personnel Policy 5:185 Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).
    • First Read of Revised Students Policy 7:180 Preventing Bullying, Intimidation, and Harassment (renamed Preventing Bullying and Other Aggressive Behavior).

Board Action

  • Approved the Personnel Report dated October 27, 2014.
  • Approved the Resolution Regarding Estimated Amounts to be Levied for the Tax Year 2014 and Publication of Public Hearing.
  • Approved the 2015-2016 Construction Projects and Solicitation of Bids.
  • Approved the 2014-2015 Superintendent/District Goals.
  • Approved the 2015 Summer Enrichment Program Fee Schedule.
  • Approved as Second and Final Read Revised Personnel Policy 5:185 Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).
  • Approved as First Read Revised Students Policy 7:180 Preventing Bullying, Intimidation, and Harassment (renamed Preventing Bullying and Other Aggressive Behavior).
  • Approved the Release of Executive Session Minutes.
  • Approved the Disposal of Executive Session Audio Recordings.
  • Adopted the Resolution Providing for the Issue of Not to Exceed $2,100,000 General Obligation Limited Tax Refunding Bonds for the Purpose of Refunding Certain Outstanding Bonds of the School District, and for the Levy of a Direct Annual Tax to Pay the Principal and Interest on Said Bonds.