Board Meeting Highlights

December 13, 2021

Complete Meeting Packet

Board Reports

Facility Development Committee (FDC) - Mr. Panzica
During the Committee of the Whole Meeting on December 6th, the following was discussed.

Harper Project Bid Opening Results
Mr. Papanicholas reported that the bid opening was held on November 23rd. The Harper project was broken into three bid packages; General Trades, HVAC and Electrical. The total cost for construction is $2,837,900 which includes a 4% contingency of approximately $120K.

Romona & McKenzie Projects Budget Updates
Mr. Papanicholas reported McKenzie projects are at 60% construction document assessment. Project estimates are just above $2.1M. The estimate is higher than preliminary budget estimates due to removal and replacement of existing structure; the project is generating extensive structural reinforcements and acoustic treatments for the chiller. The bid opening will be held in January with approval at the January 24th Board meeting.

Mr. Papanicholas reported they have completed the 50% CD budget assessment for Romona Elementary. Budget estimates are just above $2.1M for the window replacement project. Romona’s bid opening will also be held in January for approval at the January 24th Board meeting.

Summer Projects Update Beyond 2022
Mr. Bultemeier reviewed the five-year plan for construction projects. He is working with Nicholas and Associates and STR Architects to identify scope and cost estimates for the projects and timeline as part of the strategic plan process. There will be debt certificate refunding in Fiscal Year 2023 presenting $4.5M in new money to consider for these pending construction projects.

School Finance Committee (SFC) - Mr. Cesaretti
During the Committee of the Whole Meeting on December 6th, the following was discussed.

Presentation on Debt Certificates and Existing Debt Structure
Elizabeth Hennessy of Raymond James presented debt structure and financial planning for the next five years.

Fiscal Year 2021 Audit Presentation
Nick Cavaliere of Baker Tilly provided the audit presentations for District 39 and Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA).

Annual Five-Year Financial Projections
Mr. Bultemeier reviewed the District’s annual five-year financial projections. The presentation summarized the primary assumptions used in the projections, projections by individual funds and operating funds, and one alternate scenario. The alternate scenario incorporated the impact of Senate Bill of 508, which is law. If the last few years of property tax refunds holds steady, then SB 508 would be worth an extra million dollars per year to District 39.

Strategy - Mrs. Schneider-Fabes
During the Committee of the Whole Meeting on December 6th, the following was discussed.

District Strategic Advisory Team Update
The DSAT team held its first meeting on November 18th. During this meeting the team reviewed their charge, discussed team norms, reviewed the focus of their work for the year and established sub-committee assignments. Each team member was assigned homework to complete prior to the team’s next meeting on December 9th.

Mr. Panzica is serving on the Goal 1 Subcommittee. Ms. Stone is serving on the Goal 3 Subcommittee. Both members requested any input and ideas be sent to them regarding these goals.

Liaison Reports

Community Review Committee (CRC) - President Poehling
CRC met on December 7th. The CRC topic of focus is Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The committee discussed anticipated timeline to present the final report to the Board in May. They broke into their subgroups. Group 1 is researching community understanding of SEL and drafted a survey to send out in mid-January; Group 2 is looking at surrounding areas engagement of parents in SEL and are finding websites don’t have much in parent resources so they are searching for districts that have SEL as part of their strategic plan; Group 3 is researching national trends and how to evaluate effectiveness of SEL; Group 4 is the audit group reviewing the CRC report from 2014-2015, Cultivating Growth Minded, Resilient Students.

Educational Foundation - Meeting to be held on December 15, 2021.

Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) - Mrs. Kim
At its November 18, 2021 meeting the IASB Board of Directors voted to end the Association’s membership in the National School Boards Association.

According to the IASB, this decision follows repeated attempts by representatives of IASB and other state associations to bring about changes in governance, transparency, and financial oversight necessary to ensure the viability of the national organization and IASB’s membership in it. The IASB Board previously suspended membership as of next year, but after the NSBA’s September 29 letter to President Biden (seeking federal help in countering threats, harassment and violence targeting school officials and saying that some of the actions could be classified as “domestic terrorism.”), it decided to terminate membership effective immediately.

The Illinois Association of School Boards held its 2021 Delegate Assembly in conjunction with the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago. Representatives from IASB member school boards considered a total of 23 resolutions and positions at the Delegate Assembly. For the third time, member boards of education voted against a proposed resolution for IASB to support legislation allowing school districts to set school safety and student protection policies that would allow trained, armed school teachers and staff. The member boards voted against the resolution 202-181.

Among the proposed resolutions approved by the membership were indigenous people curriculum inclusion, cannabis sales tax revenues for public schools, timing of the reorganization of the board of education after an election, virtual open board of education meetings, expansion of broadband access, federal funding for landscaping, and pre-service teacher education in literacy.

District Strategic Advisory Team (DSAT) - Mr. Panzica/Ms. Stone
Mr. Panzica noted the Goal 1 Academic Performance group had a productive meeting and would meet again in January to finalize their work in preparation of the February formal meeting. Ms. Stone stated Group 3 met in November as part of the general committee and in December in subgroups. Goal 3 Subgroup’s initial steps are to come up with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They had a productive and collaborative meeting and are establishing submeeting times prior to the general DSAT meeting on February 17, 2022.

Wilmette Village Intergovernmental Cooperation Working Group - Mrs. Kim/Mr. Cesaretti
Mrs. Kim noted there were no updates but reminded that members previously agreed as a Board to support the Village’s commitment to discuss sustainability and mental health issues. Mr. Cesaretti added that they would share highlights of the District 39 Strategic Plan.

Legislative Update - Mrs. Kim
Soon after the November Board meeting, Governor Pritzker signed SB 1169 into law. The new act limits the scope of the Healthcare Right of Conscience Act (which prohibits discrimination against anyone for their conscientious refusal to participate in a particular form of health care services contrary to his or her conscience). The amendment clarifies that HCRCA does not allow school employees to opt-out of COVID-19 testing. The new law will go into effect June 1, 2022.

Also, while not technically Legislative, this item was included in the Legislative Report from IASB: The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory on the youth mental health crisis that has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before COVID-19, one in five U.S. children between the ages of three and 17 was experiencing a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder. Additionally, one in three high school students reported a persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness, 19% of high school students considered attempting suicide, while 16% admitted to having a suicide plan which contributed to 6,600 suicide deaths in 2020 among youths aged 10 to 24 years of age. Early studies have indicated that depression and anxiety symptoms among youths have doubled during the pandemic. The U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory outlines a national and multi-jurisdictional framework, including what educators and school districts can do to help solve this growing crisis.

Information Items

Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent
COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocol Review
The District continues to closely monitor health and safety protocols, COVID-19 cases reported at school as well as community transmission rate metrics, vaccination rates for staff and students, and recommended adjustments to protocol. Additional updates are anticipated for January, and a review of any adjustments to school health and safety protocols will take place at that time.

Second Semester Planning
Administration is preparing for second semester. Significant shifts in scheduling or educational models are not expected after winter break. Plans continue for full in-person instruction for all students, with the only exceptions being for short-term quarantines as directed by the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH). At this time, there are no anticipated adjustments to these plans and anticipate only considering a pivot to remote instruction if directed by the CCDPH.

SHIELD Testing
The District continues to offer free PCR COVID-19 testing on a weekly and intermittent basis to all registered students and staff members. Testing is offered on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons as well as Saturday mornings, and will continue through January. As vaccination rates increase, a decline in participation rates may occur for regular weekly testing. As a result, the testing schedule may need to be adjusted, however, it is hoped that testing will continue to be available for free through SHIELD for those choosing to test on a weekly basis. In addition, testing will be available during winter break on Tuesdays from 3:30-6:30 at WJHS.

Vaccine Clinics and Submissions
The District continues to monitor updated guidance, and request that students and staff submit proof of vaccination to the District once vaccinations are complete. This will help to prepare for future opportunities and adjustments to protocol as well as to plan for exceptions to quarantines based on vaccination status. By January, anyone five years of age and older will have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. A review of health and safety protocols will take place thereafter.

Winter Weather Preparations
The administration has prepared for and communicated plans related to winter weather. If severe weather causes a need for school cancellation for health and safety reasons, the first day would function as a typical non-instructional “snow day.” If a second emergency day is required, it is likely remote e-learning days will be implemented to continue instruction. These plans have been communicated to staff and families, and additional information can be found on the weather-related school closures preparedness website.

2022-2023 Registration Planning
Administration is already planning for the upcoming school year. Registration for new students, returning students, kindergarten students and those interested in the KEEP39 kindergarten enrichment program will all begin in late January. Information and registration instructions will be sent to families after the new year.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
The District received a commercial FOIA request from SmartProcure request any/all purchasing records from April 13, 2021 to the present; FOIA request from Angel Tormis of SteepSteel,LLC requesting all active leases/licenses for cell towers, rooftop antennas or other wireless installationson District 39 school property along with 24 months of payment histories.

Annual Business

  1. Long Term Enrollment Projections - Mr. DeMonte
    Over the next 5 years, District 39 elementary schools and Highcrest Middle School enrollments are projected to increase. This is due in part to higher birth rates than seen in previous years. Wilmette Junior High School enrollment is projected to slightly decline but then stabilize.
  2. Fiscal Year 2021 Financial Audit
    The Board will be asked to accept the fiscal year 2021 financial audit completed by Baker Tilly. The audit report was presented by Nick Cavaliere from Baker Tilly at the December 6th Committee of the Whole meeting.
  3. Harper Bid Results for Summer 2022 Construction
    District 39 held a bid opening for the Harper summer 2022 construction on November 23rd and received several competitive bids from qualified contractors. The District received some really positive news as the bids came in below the most recent budgetary estimate for the project. Administration is recommended the Board approve the base bid and alternate #1.
  4. Five-Year Financial Projections
    A review of the five-year financial projections was presented to the Board covering fiscal years 2023 to 2027. The projections incorporate the most recently available information in the key assumptions. The projections show the District has the capacity to continue to address some of the future capital projects while maintaining a fund balance of 40% or higher in all fiscal years. The presentation included a base projection scenario and then an alternate that shows the potential impact of Senate Bill 508.

Board Policy Review - Dr. Cremascoli
Third and Final Reading of Board of Education Policies 2:40, 2:50 and 2:60
Policy 2:60 was revised based upon the Board discussion at Committee of the Whole on December 6, 2021. The proposed language was sent to the Board’s attorney for legal review. The attorney offered a slight revision and it was included in the version for consideration by the Board.

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Approve Bids for Summer 2022 Work at Harper Elementary School

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education Meeting will be held on Monday, January 24, 2022 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.