Below are highlights from the District 39 Board of Education meeting on December 12, 2016.

Complete information packet


Ms. Buscemi presented the levy report. The 2016 Levy represents a 3.40% increase over last year’s extension. According to PTELL (Property Tax Extension Limiting Law) the Levy cannot increase more than the prior year CPI plus new property growth, or 5%, whichever is less. For 2016, the estimated Levy is based on CPI of 0.7% plus estimated new property growth; new property growth is estimated at $39.3 million based on a 12-year historical average, Mather Place’s reopening, and an additional $8 million for new construction in 2016. The law requires a public hearing if the levy increase is greater than 5%. However, to maximize transparency, District 39 holds a public hearing even with this lower levy increase. 


Board Committee Reports

Facilities Development – Kimberly Alcantara reported. STR provided update on summer 2017 construction projects including the roof at McKenzie, boiler at WJHS, and the learning resource center renovations at McKenzie and Romona. Bids will be collected in January for consideration by the Board in February. There was preliminary discussion regarding the Highcrest space study and a review of upcoming future capital projects for fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019. There was an update on facility rental usage after changes in rental fees. Tony DeMonte presented a review of the District’s phone system, which hasn’t been updated since 2008. Next meeting is January 9th at 8:00 am.

Community Review Committee – Alice Schaff reported. The three CRC teams continue their work. The “interpersonal relationships” team is researching current District practices including diversity and will survey students, parents, and teachers soon. The “safety” team has reached consensus on a survey and will combine it with the interpersonal relationships team. The audit team continues to review the 2012-13 CRC report and will soon interview administrators to determine how that report impacted the District. Next meeting is January 9th at 7:00 pm. 

Educational Foundation – Tracy Kearney reported. The Foundation met for its Gripp Grant committee meeting in November. The Foundation funded district-wide Breakout EDU boxes, which have locks and puzzles that require a different way to get in each time. The Foundation also funded a pilot of Chromebooks for Central 2nd and 3rd graders. Next meeting is December 14th at 7:00 pm

School Finance–  Mark Steen reported. Major discussion was on performance contracting. There was a presentation from Ingersoll Rand with options for lighting and HVAC components. Largest positive economic impact comes from savings related to LED lighting. Committee discussed what parts of the proposal can be combined or excluded, for example the District may be able to use District staff to do the MEC lighting piece of the proposal. Also considered additional costs for networking needs for smart lighting and the possibility of staggering the work. The security of the incentives was discussed because the contract hasn't’t yet been approved. Committee also discussed the levy, student fees, and long-term projections, all of which have reports later in the meeting. Next meeting is January 9th at 8:00 am

Legislative Update

Kimberly Alcantara reported. Governor Rauner and legislative leaders met in November. There was no agreement on another stop gap or permanent budget. Although the education budget adopted in June was for the full fiscal year, the rest of the budget will expire on December 31. Legislature will return on January 9th for a lame duck session and new members are sworn in January 11. Amendment to Senate Bill 1393 was defeated – this would have put extra burdens on school districts. Senate Bill 1506 was approved by both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for signature. It provides changes to the advisory council on at-risk students. Draft 2 of the Illinois plan for ESSA was released and is available on ISBE website. It provides information on accountability, assessments, and a statewide system of support. Comments on the plan are accepted until December 27th.


Announcements from the Superintendent

Building a Climate of Empathy Forum -  District 39 hosted the Building a Climate of Empathy Panel Discussion and Parent Forum on December 6th at Wilmette Junior High. The purpose was to help parents and educators as we work to develop empathy, instill respect, and promote acceptance of responsibility within our school communities. Panelists spoke about religious, racial, ethnic, learning, gender, and socioeconomic diversity. The forum was well attended with 80 attendees and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Kindergarten Registration - District 39 is preparing for 2017-2018 Kindergarten enrollment. All enrollment forms will be posted on District 39's website in January. Parents may bring enrollment and residency information to their home school on Thursday, January 19th and Friday, January 20th.

5Essentials - The District has begun administering the mandated 5Essentials survey. 5Essentials is administered every other year, and seeks to measure the quality of learning conditions in our schools. The survey is made available to students in grades 6-8, staff, and parents. The survey is open through January 16th.

WEA Letter of Agreement - This year D39 began managing the competitive portion of Science Olympiad, formerly supported by the Educational Foundation. To make this happen, we need to identify a stipend for coaches. This Letter of Agreement would provide a $3000 stipend for each of the Junior Varsity and Varsity coaches. This will be approved by the Board this evening.


Strategic Plan Updates

Assessment Systems for Student Growth – Ms. Lee – The District continues the ongoing development of a growth model and review of D39’s assessment system.  Part of this review includes Performance Series and how its features may, or may not, adequately support the development of the emerging model. D39 has begun a review of Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP). 

Annual Business

Five-Year Financial Projections – Ms. Buscemi - Each year, after the District’s audit is published, an updated five-year projection is prepared.  The latest projections indicate that overall fund balances will not drop lower than the Board established threshold of 30% of the operating fund budget through FY 2020-21. 

2017-18 Draft Student Fees – Ms. Buscemi - Except for iPad Insurance in grades 5 & 6, Instructional Materials fees remain the same. Other proposed fee increases are for optional programs and are due, in part, to the new WEA contract reflecting a slight increase in labor costs, as well as credit card processing fees. The 2017-18 Student Fees will be approved by the Board in January.

2017-18 Draft School Calendar – Dr. Lechner - This first draft included Thursday, August 31st as the first official day of school. However, during discussion, the Board asked the administration to consider starting school after Labor Day. This would more closely align with New Trier High School. The Administration will present this second option to the Board in January. 


Board Action

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:


The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday,
January 23, 2017 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.