Board Meeting Highlights

May 20, 2019

Complete meeting packet
Meeting video

Superintendent Recognition – As Romona Principal Cindy Anderson came up with some preschool students to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, Board president Lisa Schneider-Fabes made a surprise announcement. Honoring Dr. Lechner’s long standing advocacy for inclusion in D39, the District’s preschool program will be renamed the Lechner Early Education Program. The other principals carried in the new sign, covered until the moment of the announcement.

Linda McKenzie, Chair of the D39 Educational Foundation presented a check for $42,000 to support the District’s strategic planning initiative to outfit innovative classrooms in all six of District 39 schools. Each elementary school will receive $6,000, and $9,000 each will be for Highcrest Middle School and Wilmette Junior High School.



  • School Finance – Jon Cesaretti reported – The committee learned about bonds and refinancing opportunities. The ongoing expense review continued and peer districts that are good comparisons were identified. Tentative budgets and budget resolutions were reviewed.
  • Facilities Development – Ellen Sternweiler reported – Committee continued review of large space air conditioning options including staff priorities.
  • WCSEA – Amy Poehling reported – Tentative budget approved and dates for next year’s meetings were set.


  • Community Review Committee – Amy Poehling reported – CRC will be presenting completed reports tonight
  • Educational Foundation – Erin Stone reported – New executive committee was elected. Fiscal year 2020 budget was approved along with the gift announced earlier. Open House for the Unframed art project is on June 4th at 3:15 at WJHS.
  • IASB – Ellen Sternweiler – IASB is currently planning for the delegate assembly in conjunction with the November Triple I conference. 

Legislative Update – Erin Stone – HB 3053 was approved in committee and is pending in the Senate – it provides for the reduction in the number of school districts by 25%. A number of bills have been approved by the Senate and are awaiting the Governor’s signature.  



Announcements from the Superintendent

Student Recognition - Kelly Jackson recognized outstanding student performances in Chess, Science Olympiad, Certamen and Writing contests.

Reflections - Reflections is the District’s annual event honoring retirees and staff longevity. On May 15th at Michigan Shores, we honored 21 five-year employees, 10 fifteen-year employees, and 4 twenty-five-year employees, and 8 retirees.  We had 200 attendees for this celebration. Staff were excited to be honored, and it was a nice “feel good” evening.

Administrators 2019-2020 Contractual Salary and Benefits - The Administrator Benefits and Contracts are ready for approval. For Fiscal Year 2020, the Board of Education has authorized aggregate salary increases tied to the Consumer Price Index, which is 2.1%.

WJHS School Safety Dog - A few weeks ago, at a school assembly, WJHS students were introduced to their school safety dog, Zeus.  During that assembly, students learned about the dog's training, how he keeps us safe, and previewed a demonstration.  Last week WJHS had its first official school safety check.  Students waved and said “hello” while Zeus went to work. It went very well and nothing was found. As indicated in previous messages, the aim of a school safety dog is to prevent contraband being brought to school.  I want to thank Tony DeMonte for spearheading all of our safety efforts, including Zeus.

Property Tax Assessment Appeals - Through a Board Resolution, D39 is authorized to intervene in property tax assessment appeals according to limits established by the Board of Education. D39 joins with NTHS, the Village of Wilmette, the Library, and our Park District to intervene with the PTAB and with Circuit Court of Cook County appeals. Property Index Numbers and estimated refunds are listed for new property tax interventions this month. 


Strategic Plan Updates

Community Review Committee Reports

  • Audit - The purpose of this audit report is to gauge whether recommendations set forth in the 2014-2015 CRC report entitled, “Cultivating Growth Minded, Resilient Students” were adopted. By and large, the district adopted the recommendations from this report. This is particularly true with the change in school start times and an increased focus on addressing issues of anxiety and stress. The CRC should continue the practice of auditing its reports three years after their production in order to gauge the extent to which its recommendations are adopted.
  • Mobile Learning - The Community Review Committee undertook a year-long study on the topic of mobile learning in grades K-4. This topic of study was requested by District 39 administrators to ensure that our District continues to meet the needs of our teachers and students. Our research shows that technology implementation on a 1:1 level can provide significant benefits to teachers and students. When used effectively, technology can transform and empower learning without taking away from traditional modes of classroom teaching. 1:1 mobile learning can give learners greater student agency, and provide them with a platform to stimulate curiosity, collaboration, and creativity. In short, consistent access to technology will help students develop skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Annual Business

  • Fiscal Year 2020 District 39 Tentative Budget – Mrs. Crispino – In order to abide by Truth in Taxation Statues, it is necessary for the Board of Education to adopt a tentative budget. The tentative budget requires public display for at least 30 days prior to adoption and holding a budget hearing prior to final adoption. Operating Funds have budgeted revenues at $63.1 million, with expenditures estimated at $61.7 million.Additional expenditures of $3.8 million support school construction costs, resulting in a planned net operating funds deficit of ($2.4 million) for Fiscal Year 2020.
  • Fiscal Year 2020 Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA) Tentative Budget– Mrs. Crispino - District 39 serves as the fiscal agent on behalf of the special education cooperative that includes D39 and Avoca School District 37. The Illinois State Board of Education requires WCSEA to keep separate accounting records and to follow the same Illinois State budget guidelines required of all Illinois school districts.
  • Budget Resolutions
    1. Fiscal Year 2020 Transfer from the Operations and Maintenance Fund to the Capital Projects Fund - This resolution authorizes the District to do accounting transfers from the O&M Fund to Capital Projects.  The transfers occur after Board approval of payments.  This approach removes expenditure spikes in the O&M fund due to one-time construction projects.
    2. Fiscal Year 2020 Interfund Loan from the Educational Fund to the Operations and Maintenance Fund - This is a short-term interfund loan from the Educational Fund to the O&M Fund to permit timely payment of construction projects.  The short-term loan maintains adequate fund balances and, if needed, will be repaid by the end of the Fiscal Year.
    3. FY 2020 Permanent Transfer of Funds from the Educational Fund to the Operations and Maintenance Fund - As reflected in the Tentative Budget, District 39 plans to permanently transfer $4,000,000 from the Education Fund to the Operations & Maintenance Fund to help finance approved construction projects.

      A Public Budget Hearing will be held, with advanced notice published in the newspaper.

  • 2019-2020 Student/Staff Planning – Dr. Lechner - This is an annual report which details anticipated changes in staffing for the upcoming school year. Student enrollment and registration are monitored by administration weekly, from the time registration began on April 17th through the start of the year.  Administration strives to adhere to the Board class size guidelines of 24 students in grades K-2, 27 students in grades 3-5 and 29 students in grade 6-8.  Note these guidelines are for “upper limits.” There has been and continues to be an increase in special education staff.  This is necessary to support the needs of students within our schools that have unique, special needs.  Finally, there is also additional support for differentiated instruction in grades K-6.  The Differentiation Support Teachers (DSTs) in grades K-4 will increase support in math.  At HMS, an additional 1.0 FTE is being recommended for a math specialist to provide more direct math support in grades 5-6.  There is less of a need in grades 7-8, as math classes are already differentiated.


The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:




The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.