Board Meeting Highlights

April 27, 2021
Complete Meeting Packet

Board Reports

Facility Development Committee (FDC) - Mrs. Sternweiler
Romona and McKenzie construction projects began during spring break week. Both elementary school sites will begin foundation and masonry work next week. Work is on schedule with plans to have the enclosed additions completed by June to begin interior construction. During excavation at McKenzie school the original roadway, pavers, curbs, and tree stumps were discovered and were completely intact.

Contractors conducted field work at Wilmette Junior High for the anticipated June start of construction. Chillers and equipment orders have been completed.

Mr. Bultemeier reported on asbestos work scheduled for areas at Wilmette Junior High and McKenzie Elementary school.

School Finance Committee (SFC) - Mr. Cesaretti
Mr. Bultemeier updated the committee regarding another round of federal relief money. He noted ESSER 1 relief received last March provided $80K which was partially shared with private schools. ESSER 2 passed during winter break for $314K. He noted guidance allows flexibility for the use of those funds and the timeline to allocate the funds extends to September 2023. For District 39, the ESSER 3 preliminary allocation amount is estimated at $705K. At least 20% of this relief money is required for learning loss (about $140K). More details regarding the allocation amount and spending guidance will be provided by July 1st. The ESSER 3 relief grant has a usage end date of 2024 to allow districts to establish a spending plan. Mr. Bultemeier stated the allocation is based on the percentage of low-income families in each school district. The preliminary plan is to apply the funds to the strategic plan for sustained spending over the next three years.

Strategy - Mr. Steen
Ms. Katie Lee provided an update on the Strategic Planning Process. The District administration met with Arlana Bedlard, consultant for Consortium for Educational Change (CEC), the strategic planning firm. Actions accomplished included stakeholder awareness communications; landing webpage on the District website; meeting dates/times established; recruitment of the Strategic Planning Team members, full multi-stakeholder team of approximately 47 assembled; perception/intake surveys created and disseminated to all stakeholder groups with data collection in progress; prepared for the first meeting held on April 20th.

Liaison Reports

Community Review Committee (CRC) - Mrs. Poehling
The Community Review Committee did not meet in April. The next meeting is scheduled for May 4, 2021.

Educational Foundation - Mr. Panzica
The committee provided an interesting Gripp Grant proposal presentation about “Shoebox Tasks”, which are activity boxes for students. The group also prepared for Trivia night. The next meeting is on May 12th where they will introduce new board members.

Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) - No report

Legislative Update - Ms. Stone
Highlights from legislation included: House Bill (HB) 7 that would have forced consolidation of school districts was defeated on the House floor. Other bills that passed the House included HB 4, which allows student instruction to be delivered electronically as an e-learning day when a school is required to be used as a polling place; HB 2789 requires Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to establish metrics for school districts to determine if the district may safely conduct in-person or remote instruction; HB 3114, which creates a State Education Equity Committee to address systemic inequities and ensure each and every child is equipped to reach their fullest potential; HB 2569 extends the provision allowing retired teachers to return to teaching without penalty until June 30, 2024; and one Bill that passed the Senate includes SB 645, which would require an hour of unstructured playtime daily in K-8.

Information Items

Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent
2021-2022 Student Registration
Student registration for new and returning students is open. The District encourages all to complete the registration process as soon as possible, as student registration figures help us to plan for staffing, teaching assignments and classroom sections for the upcoming school year.

Summer School Programming
Over 400 students have signed up for the summer programming options. Registration closed last week, and at that time, 189 had registered for Academic Camp classes, 127 had registered for Review and Reinforcement classes, and 107 had registered for Extended School Year. We reached out individually to those students eligible for Review and Reinforcement to encourage enrollment, and are sending a survey to eligible students who have not registered to encourage registration and obtain additional information regarding why they might not choose to register.

Metrics Team Update
The D39 Metrics Dashboard and the full report are available online. The team received and discussed updates regarding the District’s bi-monthly Operations Survey, the Testing Subcommittee’s review and recommendation, and supports for quarantined students. In addition, COVID-19 metrics and the District’s own operational metrics were reviewed. As administration continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metrics Team reiterates the critical importance is everyone’s adherence to healthy habits. Stay home if you are sick, experiencing symptoms, have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, have traveled and/or are awaiting PCR test results. If you experience symptoms or potential exposure of any kind, PCR testing is a critical step in identifying and isolating cases. Please do your part to help keep our schools and communities safe.

SafeGuard Screening
Upon review of experience data as well as Covid-19 metrics throughout the region and the local community, the Testing Subcommittee of the Metrics Team recommended continuing the SafeGuard Screening Program through the end of the school year. The team carefully considered the costs of operating the program, including the district’s and families’ investment of time, resources, human capital, funding, etc. as well as the benefits and drawbacks of doing so. The recommendation to continue the program through the end of the school year is informed by considerations such as cases identified and isolated through the program, community spread rates and new cases peer 100,000 have not declined as expected, as restrictions are loosened the community has the opportunity to engage in activities that may potentially cause exposure, only recently has eligibility become available to the general public including individuals 16 years of age and older. Additionally, SafeGuard should only be considered for use as an additional layer of protection within the District’s mitigation efforts. Other important mitigation efforts must be carefully maintained and closely adhered to by all in-person participants. Continuing to practice safe habits, such as consistent mask wearing in all public places, watching distancing, washing hands, following isolation and quarantine orders, daily personal symptom checks, staying home when symptoms are present, isolating/quarantining following any potential exposure event, and PCR testing to evaluate symptoms, are critically important mitigation efforts to maintaining a safe in-person school environment.

The SafeGuard Screening program has direct costs to the district of $11 per test, plus resources for logistical management and oversight of the program. The District has covered the costs of operating the screening program for students and staff, and has offered parents the opportunity to contribute to the cost of screening for their child, if they wish. The District estimates that approximately 1350 samples to be processed weekly through the end of the year at a direct cost of approximately $14,850 weekly.

The District plans to continue its weekly SafeGuard Program through the end of the 2020-2021 school year following Board approval on the Consent Agenda. Partnering with New Trier drop off samples on Sundays at New Trier campus helps to identify cases before students attend school on Monday.

Strategic Planning Update
The District 39 Strategic Planning Team launched its work last week with its first Orientation Meeting. Agenda and supporting materials for this meeting are posted on the D39 Strategic Planning webpage. The District also completed the Perceptions Surveys and is processing results in preparation for the first of three Data Retreats that will begin this week. All information and presentation materials will be posted online. Lisa Schnieder-Fabes and Amy Poehling, as the Board’s representatives, will have the opportunity to provide a brief update to the Board regarding the first Orientation Meeting.

Administrators’ 2021-2022 Contractual Salary and Benefits
In keeping with the Board’s philosophy of matching revenues to expenditures, the Board of Education has authorized the superintendent to increase aggregate administrator salaries indexed to Consumer Price Index (CPI), with an aggregate merit raise of 1%.

Freedom of Information (FOIA)

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Outgoing Board Members Recognized

Outgoing Board members Ellen Sterweiler and Mark Steen were recognized for their service to the community. Each was presented with framed artwork created by a D39 student. These pieces will hang at the MEC.


  • Newly elected Board members Anne Hart and Bonnie Kim, and returning Board members Jonathan Cesaretti and Lisa Schneider-Fabes, were sworn in.
  • Board officers were elected: Amy Poehling as president and Erin Stone as vice president.

Board Action Items

  • 2020-2021 Board Calendar - The Board needs to approve its calendar of meetings for the coming year.
  • Board Policy Approval - Each newly seated Board needs to approve the Policy manual. This is a way of reaffirming to the community that establishment of policy that governs the District.

The next Board of Education Meeting will be held on Monday, May 24, 2021 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.