Board Meeting Highlights - April 2016

Below are highlights from the District 39 Board of Education meeting on April 25, 2016.

Complete information packet

Board Committee Reports

  • Board Retreat – Alice Schaff reported – The Board met for a second self-evaluation workshop led by Barbara Toney of the Illinois Association of School Boards. Primary topics were a review of goals from the November meeting including evaluation and progress; better ways to communicate with the community; and the possible formation of a Board strategy committee to review and prioritize strategic goals and demands on District resources. 
  • School Finance – John Flanagin reported – Committee focused primarily on the FY17 Operating Funds Tentative Budget (see information items below). The committee also endorsed a change in its practice for investment options. Currently the District buys FDIC insured CDs. On the recommendation of the portfolio manager, short-term US Treasury securities known as T-Bills will also be included. The committee did not follow an additional recommendation to add agency debt such as Fanny Mae. Next meeting is Monday, May 9 at 8:00 am. 
  • Community Review Committee – Frank Panzica reported – CRC is finalizing its report, which will include a template for future CRC reports. Next meeting is May 2 at 7:00 PM
  • Educational Foundation – Alice Schaff reported – The Foundation awarded more than $12,000 in Gripp Grants. 

Legislative Update - Tracy Kearney reported

Budget impasse continues. There are two major pieces of legislation related to education. One is a funding reform bill, similar to last year’s Senate Bill 1, which maintains the idea of redistribution of funds. This bill has passed the House and will be introduced in the Senate. The second is House Bill 696, which includes a property tax freeze. The House voted in favor of this bill that would freeze the extension at 0% beginning in the 2015 levy year. (Previously, a similar House Bill 695 failed.) HB 696 will have to be approved by the Senate and signed by Governor before becoming law. Governor Rauner reportedly opposes this bill because it doesn’t include structural reforms such as collective bargaining, prevailing wages, and workers compensation that would have provided local expense relief.


Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

  • D39 Alum Keating Crown was honored during the Foundation’s annual Distinguished Citizen event.
  • The D39 PTA/O’s have generously supported Learning Commons. A Gripp Grant from the Educational Foundation inspired the pilot at Central School that set the stage for the development of Learning Commons at all schools. Educational Foundation President Tracy Peacock and Foundation members presented the District with a $40,000 check to go towards Learning Commons in D39 schools.
  • The Board of Education annually approves its calendar of meetings. For 2016-17 the practice of holding Board meetings on the 4th Monday of each month continues. Additionally, the July meeting is scheduled as “tentative,” as there may be no business.
  • Several facility projects were completed over spring break: roof drain repair and asbestos removal at Harper in preparation for summer construction; resurfaced gym floors at Highcrest, Harper, and Romona; and replaced filters in every unit vent in all buildings. 
  • There are approximately 35 students qualifying for New Trier Math - 22 boys and 13 girls. Over the last several years we have seen the number of D39 kids qualifying nearly quadruple. New Trier High School (NTHS) is hosting one section each of Algebra and Geometry at two locations for 2016-2017 - New Trier and WJHS. Students who participate in band or orchestra will have priority for classes held at WJHS.
  • Annual Student Registration for the 2016-17 school year began April 7th. Nearly half of D39 families have registered already. The remaining families are encouraged to register soon, as it helps plan the number of classroom sections needed.

FOIA requests

Strategic Plan Updates 

  • Ms. Buscemi – Sustainability Consultant Report - The District contracted with WOLD Architects & Engineers to provide an independent sustainability assessment to track Green Schools efforts that were initiated in 2009. This audit provides benchmark progress and creates goals for future sustainability achievements. 
  • Mrs. Horowitz – English Language Arts Workshop Approach - A two-year incremental launch of revised ELA curriculum was announced last month. The report is a follow-up, describing the workshop approach to writing and reading. The workshop format is recommended in the Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study. 
  • Student Growth
    • Mrs. Horowitz and Mrs. Flemming – Developing a Performance Series Growth Model - This report updates the Board on the use of Performance Series data for student performance. It includes looking at overall attainment as well as a new growth component.
    • Mrs. Horowitz – Monitoring the Revised Math Curriculum - This is a follow-up to a Board question about the new math curriculum. The report details feedback collected from teachers following first year implementation. The report includes some ”lessons learned,” as well as a focus on authentic problem-solving situations. 
  • Mrs. Goldin, Mr. DeMonte, and Dr. Glowacki – Social Media - The District has been exploring social media over the last year and is ready to begin utilizing some new platforms. In addition, practices for building and staff use were reviewed and new guidelines have been drafted for implementation in 2016-2017.

Annual Business

  • Ms. Buscemi – Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Funds Tentative Budget – The Operating Funds represent 95% of the total budget of the district. This tentative budget was reviewed with the School Finance Committee.
  • Dr. Glowacki – Enrollment Projections - This report is provided each spring as registration for the new school year begins. Projections for 2016-2017 are included, indicating stable enrollment. Additionally, this report identifies staffing needs to support projections.

Board Action

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

  • Personnel Report dated April 25, 2016. 
  • Non-Reemployment of Part-Time/Partial Year Support Personnel Employees.
  • First Reading Revised School District Policies 1:10; 1:20; 1:30; Revised Personnel Policy 5:125; Revised Student Policy 7:200; Proposed New Board of Education Policies 2:240 and 2:250; Delete Board of Education Policies 2:251; 2:270; 2:275; 2:280; 2:285; 2:290; 2:400.
  • Release of Executive Session Minutes of November 7, 2015.

Other Board Action

  • Approve the 2016-2017 Board of Education calendar as amended: August meeting date was changed from August 22nd to August 29th.
  • Second and Final Reading Revised Board of Education Policies 2:150; 2:151; 2:200; 2:220 and 2:230 - as amended: Policy 2:150 changed a word on page 1 under Special Board Committees from “problems” to “issues.”
  • Nominations for Vice President were solicited. John Flanagin nominated Mark Steen. There were no other nominations and Mark Steen was approved as Vice President by acclamation. 

The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday,
May 23, 2016 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.