October 2020

Board Meeting Highlights

October 26, 2020

Complete Meeting Packet

Board Reports

Facility Development Committee (FDC) - Mrs. Sternweiler. The Facility Development Committee met October 19th as part of the Committee of the Whole Meeting. Mr. Bultemeier updated the Board on the two village construction projects. The majority of work around Central School relating to the Central Avenue construction project has been completed. Construction continues in the downtown area. The village plans to pause work through the winter months opening Central Avenue to two-way traffic.

Mr. Bultemeier reported administration continues to be in contact with the Village and Park District regarding installation of the irrigation system under the playfields between Highcrest and the junior high. Installation will continue during the winter. The District will have access to portions of the playfields as the installation work progresses from field to field.

Mr. DeMonte updated members regarding permits that were required by the Village for the tents installed outside of each of the schools in August. Letters were required to be mailed to residents living within 250’ of school property lines to notify them of the tents.

School Finance Committee (SFC) - Mr. Cesaretti reported the Finance Committee met as part of the Committee of the Whole on October 19th. Mr. Bultemeier reported the annual tax levy process requires the District to publicly provide an estimate of the 2020 tax levy at least 20 days prior to the approval of the tax levy. The official estimation of the 2020 tax levy was presented later during this meeting, and the Board will approve the levy on November 16th.

Mr. Bultemeier explained that the District is not obligated to hold a public hearing to comply with the Truth in Taxation laws as the levy request is under 5%. However, the District traditionally chooses to remain transparent by publishing notice of a public hearing to be held prior to the regular Board meeting in November.

Mr. Bultemeier reported on the SSCIP Liability Insurance Renewal. He stated the annual liability policy runs from January 1st to December 31st. He had received an email regarding policy increase expected at 19-23%, partly due to COVID-19 as well as more common disasters such as floods, tornados, hail storms, and hurricanes. He noted the District budgeted for 10%-15% increases and the total premium last December was $218K. He said this would be a $40K increase in premium payments.

Strategy & the CRC Report - Mr. Steen reported the Strategy Committee met as part of the Committee of the Whole meeting. He stated the Community Review Committee (CRC) met on October 6th and is excited to engage and guide the District in their plans to develop a multi-year Strategic plan in coordination with the Consortium for Education (CEC). CEC is a consulting firm that was hired last spring to help develop the strategic plan, however, with the pandemic and focus on reopening schools, these plans were put on hold until second semester of the 2020-2021 school year. Dr. Cremascoli has been in contact with CEC and together they are engaging in options on how to proceed under current pandemic conditions. Discussion on ways to effectively navigate work beginning in 2021 took place and the CEC will continue to evaluate strategic planning efforts.

Liaison Reports

Community Review Committee (CRC) - noted above by Mr. Steen. The next meeting is November 10th.

Educational Foundation - Ms. Stone reported Ed Foundation held a virtual meeting on October 20th. The Foundation worked with and granted $3K toward Mr. DeMonte’s development of an Eva platform called “Sora”, to allow students to access eBooks. She noted the Foundation’s Annual Appeal is beginning and stressed that the normal fundraisers will not occur this year so the annual appeal will be the sole source of revenue for the Foundation. The Gripp Grant deadline is October 30th at 5:00 p.m. The Foundation is working to partner with fifth-eighth grade students in a campaign called “We All Live Here” in the spring of 2021 to celebrate and promote inclusion in schools. The next meeting is November 18th.

Illinois Association of School Boards - Mrs. Sternweiler reported members may register for the October 28th Virtual North Cook Fall Division meeting as well as the Virtual Summit held on November 20th. She received feedback from informed community members regarding 2020 IASB Resolutions Report and attended the first of two discussions for delegates on resolutions. She reviewed the eight new proposed resolutions and stated she would provide materials at the next Committee of the Whole meeting for members to review and reconsider.

Information Items

Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

ADL Walk Against Hate at Highcrest Middle School and Wilmette Junior High School - Dr. Cremascoli stated last weekend, students, teachers, staff, administrators and families at HMS and WJHS participated in the ADL Walk Against Hate. There was broad participation and support for this important cause.

Time Capsule Opening October 30th - Dr. Cremascoli stated Board members and the community are invited to Highcrest Middle School on October 30th at 3:00 for a time capsule opening. The 25-year-old time capsule opening will take place near the beautiful new sign at the front of the school. Several former staff members who were part of the HMS family at that time will be in attendance to support the event. The event will be live-streamed.

Metrics Reopening Advisory Team Update - Dr. Cremascoli stated the Metrics Reopening Advisory Team met last Friday. In short, the team is on alert based on the community spread metrics. Of note, the COVID-19 Positivity Rates as well as the New Cases per 100,000 within the community and neighboring communities have been high and the team continues to monitor these metrics closely. In addition, cases within schools and staff absences are also metrics that are closely monitored. Dynamic graphs of these data have been published to the Metrics Reopening Advisory Team website. Dr. Cremascoli reviewed and explained the data presented on various graphs on the website.

COVID-19 Testing Update - Dr. Cremascoli stated the District has successfully launched a new testing access partnership for faculty and staff. District 39 partnered with Ambry Genetics to provide all employees access to PCR testing immediately, with results provided quickly. Employees can access testing through this partnership or through other testing sites at any time if they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. This partnership provides one more option for our employees that is both easily accessible and reliable.

eBook Platform and Public Library Partnership - Mr. DeMonte reported a new partnership with the Wilmette Public Library was developed for students to access eBooks. As access to learning commons is limited and public library visits may not happen as often as before the pandemic, it was important to ensure students have an easy way to access books. A single, district-wide ebook platform named Sora of OverDrive was developed. Anthony Auston, Director of the Wilmette Public Library, issued a statement expressing his excitement in partnering with District 39 to allow students and the community to access the wide digital resources through one easy to use digital platform.

Community Review Committee (CRC) Members-at-Large - Dr. Cremascoli stated in accordance with the CRC Bylaws, Darshana Lele, Emily Paris and Virgina Reising are presented for approval as Members-at-Large to serve on the 2020-2021 CRC.

Diversity and Inclusion Executive Board Member of PTA/PTO - Dr. Cremascoli meets monthly with the Presidents’ Council of District 39. This group comprises the PTA presidents from each of the six schools. The committee discussed the District’s community-wide effort to support diversity and inclusion and considered the opportunity to coordinate efforts district-wide. Ideally, each PTA would identify an Executive Board level position to lead diversity and inclusion.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Strategic Plan Updates

    Future Strategic Planning Update
    Dr. Cremascoli stated ongoing planning and considerations are underway related to future strategic planning. The Consortium for Educational Change (CEC) has started to implement its Strategic Planning processes through a hybrid approach to team meetings, with some in-person and some remote engagement opportunities. Dr. Cremascoli was briefed on these opportunities and some successes they are having in other districts and was able to provide the D39 CRC with an update on Strategic Planning at the recent meeting. The CRC team will hear more from the CEC at next week’s meeting and consider approaches as well as timing for future planning efforts.

    Enhanced Remote Learning Program Review Update
    Dr. Cremascoli stated October marks two months of school and signals a time to conduct a program review of enhanced remote learning model: strengths, areas for improvement, student/family and teacher needs. A program review began with collection of data.The report provided the initial data collected through the District 39 administered surveys to teachers, parents, and students.

    2020-2021 Superintendent/District Goals
    The 2020 - 2021 Superintendent/District Goals outlines goals to support district initiatives and was submitted for Board of Education approval.


Annual Business

    Review the Tax Year 2020 Estimate of Levy
    Mr. Bultemeier presented the official 2020 tax levy estimate along with other key information such as the tax levy calendar and general background information regarding the importance of property taxes to the D39 budget. Historical information going back ten years for CPI, new growth, and EAV was also reviewed. The limiting tax rate calculation highlights that existing property owners should expect a 2.3% increase on their District 39 portion of the property tax bill. The last portion of the presentation detailed the importance of CPI and new property growth, and estimate of the 2020 tax levy by fund.

    Approve Public Hearing Date
    District 39 has traditionally held a public hearing to approve the tax levy each year in the spirit of transparency. The District is not required to hold a public hearing since the tax levy request is below 5%. The hearing date is scheduled for November 16, 2020 prior to the regular Board of Education meeting.

    Establishment of Sick Banks for Employees in Non-Union Postions
    The approval and creation of a “regular” sick bank and COVID sick bank for employees in “non-union” positions allows for all D39 employees to have the same benefits. The provisions outlined for employees in non-union positions very closely mirrors the provisions for WEA. There are approximately 30 employees who could benefit from this provision. As with the WEA and SSU, COVID sick bank participation is optional.



The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:


The Public Hearing on the 2020 Tax Levy and Regular Board of Education Meeting will be held on Monday, November 16, 2020 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.

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