January 2020

Board Meeting Highlights

January 27, 2020

Complete Meeting Packet

Board Reports

1. Facilities Development Committee – Mrs. Sternweiler noted that the Facilities Development Committee met on Jan. 13 along with other board committees during the Board’s Committee of the Whole meeting. During the meeting, the Facilities Development Committee reviewed construction projects, planning and progress for Highcrest and Central Schools.  In addition to celebrating the completion of the district’s final Learning Commons, the FDC reviewed the Highcrest Phase III costs, which are currently tracking close to projections. The Committee also discussed the coordination of some of the larger Health/Life Safety projects that were included in the District’s budget for this year.

The Committee also discussed at length a proposal from the Wilmette Park District to redevelop some of the after-school recreation and enrichment programs, with the goal of increasing after school child care options for families using our school sites. The Committee discussed piloting some of the new after school Park District proposed programming at Romona and Highcrest schools and asked the administration to carefully consider the logistics for this kind of space utilization and its impact on school functioning, cleaning and projects before proceeding. 

2. Finance Committee – Mr. Cesaretti noted that the Finance Committee met along with the other committees as part of the Jan. 13 Committee of the Whole meeting. The Committee reviewed the District’s progress in considering, evaluating and interviewing audit firms. The Committee also reviewed the district’s fiscal year 2021 budget calendar. Mrs. Crispino demonstrated an option for a more interactive district financial dashboard, including Forecast5 functionality that will allow the public to interact with dashboard charts as well as sort and navigate through the data behind the charts. 

3. Strategy Committee – Mr. Steen noted that the Strategy Committee met along with other committees as part of the Jan. 13 Committee of the Whole meeting. The Committee received a brief update regarding the District’s process and plans for future strategic planning.  Requests for information were sent in early January to each of the identified strategic plan consulting firms reviewed by the Board in December. Each firm will be evaluated then interviewed on Feb. 10 after the Board’s Committee of the Whole meeting for the month.

4. Liaison Updates – Dr. Cremascoli attended the most recent meeting of the D39 Educational Foundation and provided the Foundation with an update on strategic planning efforts and school district happenings. The Foundation discussed their upcoming Gripp Grant application process available to district teachers and use of funds from the Ray of Light Fund to help co-sponsor “We All Live Here” on our 5-8 campus with the school PTOs.  “We All Live Here” is a program designed to celebrate and honor our diversity while incorporating student voice, collaboration, ownership, leadership and creativity. The Ed Foundation will host Trivia Night this Saturday. Ms. Stone, in giving a legislative update, noted that Illinois legislators are considering revisions to code related to the use of physical restraint and seclusion in schools.

Informational Items

1. Recognition of the League of Woman Voters Student and Government Leaders Program – Board of Education members were interviewed by students from the League of Woman Voters Student and Government Leaders program prior to the board meeting. Dr. Cremascoli acknowledged students and League of Women Voters leaders for taking the time to learn more about civic engagement and becoming actively involved as leaders within their community. 

2. Future Strategic Planning Efforts – Dr. Cremascoli noted that the District is in the process of accepting information from consulting firms who may be able to support the District in future strategic planning efforts, which will begin in early spring. The Administrative Team will review and evaluate information provided by consulting firms before selecting 2-4 firms for the Board to interview on Feb. 10. 

3. Enrichment and After School Recreation Planning – District 39 will explore options with the Park District for expanding after school care programming within D39 schools. Administrators have scheduled a follow-up meeting with Park District representatives and will provide a progress update to the Board in February.

4. Planning and Registration for the 2020-2021 School Year – Dr. Cremascoli noted that planning efforts for next school year are underway. Dr. Cremascoli noted that kindergarten enrollment has opened for the 2020-2021 school year, including enrollment for the District’s new kindergarten enrichment and enhancement program, KEEP39. Dr. Cremascoli noted that the community’s response to KEEP39 has been overwhelmingly positive with approximately 82% of incoming kindergarten families at Central and Harper enrolling in the optional program. Dr. Cremascoli said she expects enrollment in academic kindergarten and the KEEP39 program to continue to grow during the remaining enrollment period.

Dr. Cremascoli provided a recommendation to the Board to expand the roles and responsibilities of D39 building leaders, including adjusting elementary assistant principal assignments to be full-time at each school and adding a full-time principal to the 5-8 campus. Dr. Cremascoli noted that this recommendation is based upon feedback gathered from D39 staff during listening sessions, the needs of district schools, the growth in responsibilities of our building leaders, a review of the district’s current administrative structure, the district budget and a comparative analysis with other school districts. Board members endorsed the recommendation and directed administrators to proceed with staffing.

Dr. Cremascoli recommended the Board remove the interim title from Interim Principal Dana Nasiakos’ title and make her the full-time principal of McKenzie Elementary School. Dr. Cremascoli commended Mrs. Nasiakos’ performance and thanked her for leadership.

5. Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) – Dr. Cremascoli noted that the District filled a FOIA Request related to disciplinary actions resulting in expulsions, suspensions, or transfers including the number of incidents for various categories from January 1, 2017 to present. The District also received a commercial FOIA from Bethany Simpson of SmartProcure requesting any/all purchasing records from June 26, 2019 to present.

6. Strategic Plan Updates – Ms. Katie Lee, along with District Administrators, provided a mid-year progress update on the strategic plan indicators for the 2019-2020 school year. Updates on the continuing and new strategic initiatives will be presented in February and March, respectively.

7. 2021 Fiscal Year Budget Calendar and Resolution – Mrs. Crispino provided a report which included a tentative budget calendar and a resolution authorizing the District to prepare the tentative FY21 budget.

8. January Special Education Child Count – Dr. Swanson provided a report detailing the number of students with disabilities being served by the district, demographic details and historical trend data.

9. Proposed 2020-2021 School Calendar – Dr. Cremascoli provided a tentative final draft of the 2020-2021 School Calendar. The draft calendar, which was reviewed by the Board in December, aligns with New Trier Township holiday schedules.

10. 2020-2021 Board of Education Meeting Calendar – The Board of Education meeting calendar for the upcoming school year aligns was presented for review and approval.

11. Financial Auditing Firm Contract – District 39 contracted auditing firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause for auditing services for fiscal years 2020-2022.

12. School Maintenance Project Grant – The Administration recommends approval of a $50,000 matching grant from the State awarded for the purpose of maintenance or upkeep of educational buildings. 

13. Board Policy Review – The Board conducted a first reading of Board of Education Policies 4:190, 5:50, 5:220, 5:230, 5:245, 5:260, 5:270, 5:285, 5:290, 5:310, 7:290. Board members discussed language posted to the policies page which states the Board’s desire to prioritize the reduction of pronoun use in board policies in an effort to respect each person’s unique identity and bring greater clarity to board policies.

Action Items

1. Consent Agenda – The Consent Agenda was approved including the following items:

Approve the Personnel Report
Approve the 2021 Fiscal Year Budget Calendar and Resolution
Approve the Financial Auditing Firm Contract
Approve the 2020-2021 School Calendar
Approve the 2020-2021 Board of Education Meeting Calendar
Approve the School Maintenance Project Grant
Approve as First Reading Board of Education Policies 4:190, 5:50, 5:220, 5:230, 5:245, 5:260, 5:270, 5:285, 5:290, 5:310, 7:290
Approve the Bills for Payment including Accounts Payable for January 2020 and Manual Checks for January 2020


Conference Items

1. Old Business – None

2. New Business – Mr. Cesaretti raised the topic of capacity at Wilmette Junior High School, particularly with regard to hallways during passing periods. Dr. Cremascoli noted that the District conducts regular inspections of spaces. 

3. Good and Welfare – Several board members expressed appreciation to the League of Women voters for the work that has been done through the organization’s Student and Government Leaders Program.

The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 24, 2020 in the Mikaelian Education Center.

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