Board Meeting Highlights - August 25, 2014

Below are highlights from the District 39 Board of Education meeting on August 25, 2014.


Dr. Lechner opened the budget hearing. The District 39 tentative budget has been on publicly display since the May 2014 Board of Education meeting.  There are few changes to the draft budget. Ms. Buscemi presented theDistrict 39 Budget.

District 39 provides the Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA) budget for both D39 and Avoca School District 37.  The Illinois State Board of Education requires WCSEA to keep separate accounting records, so this budget provides a mechanism to “flow through,” and distribute, state/federal funds to both school systems. Ms. Buscemi presented the WCSEA Budget.


Board Committee Reports

  • Facility Development – Kimberly Alcantara reported. Committee received the following updates: summer construction; need to replace boilers at Romona and WJHS in next 3-5 years; some flooding issues; and learning commons. Next meeting September 11 at 9:00 am.
  • Insurance Advisory – Karen Donnan reported that the next meeting is October 21 at 4:00 pm.
  • Community Review Committee – John Flanagin reported that the CRC recommended revised bylaws. (see below). Next meeting is September 8.
  • Educational Foundation – John Flanigin reported. A new fashion show event, Attire to Inspire, will be held on September 18. Family Bingo Night is scheduled for October 10. The next meeting is September 17 at 7:00 pm.  
  • WCSEA – Cindy Levine reported that the next meeting is November 17 at 4:00 pm.
  • School Finance – Keith Dronen reported. No meeting this month. Next meeting is September 15 at 8:00 am.
  • Ad Hoc Communications Committee – Cindy Levine reported. Committee has worked on strategic policy, guidelines, and board policy - first read presented below. Committee can now disband.

Legislative update

Keith Dronen reported on two Senate bills on pension reform that are still pending – SB 16 and SB 1. He also noted a recent Supreme Court ruling that protects retiree benefits. It is unlikely that anything will change until after the November elections.

Information items

  • Written communication received by the Board was reviewed. 
  • Announcements from the Superintendent
    • Summer construction projects were reviewed. A multi-year HVAC project was completed and entrances at WJHS, Romona, McKenzie and HMS were modified to incorporate a “double buzz.”
    • HMS will pilot a lunchtime composting program through Waste Management.   In addition to reducing food waste in landfills, kids will learn how to be good stewards of the planet.
    • Last week, new staff was welcomed to the District with the annual New Teacher Talks and orientation sessions. All staff came together on August 25th with a variety of workshops related to technology, CPR, numerous curricula, data analysis, behavioral assessment, and more. Staff had a few more days to prepare with more workshops. The August 25th session ended with an ice bucket challenge from HMS and WJHS to each of the other D39 buildings.
    • Romona’s enrollment continues to climb. As a result two new classroom sections were added at Romona this summer, as well as an Assistant Principal. Andy Pohl is the new AP. He comes to District 39 from a private school on the Near North side of Chicago, where he was a member of the school’s administrative team for the past three years.  
    • Each 4-5 years, ISBE audits all Illinois schools to ensure compliance with every state regulation and school code. This is a comprehensive review including all departments: Special Education, Curriculum & Instruction, business/accounting/auditing, Operations & Maintenance, Human Resources, Board policy, administrative procedures, school safety, technology, communication, and more. After the audit is complete, a written report is provided indicating areas that need adjustment. Even among the very best school systems there are always areas that need compliance improvements. For the first time, D39 had no areas for improvement. 
  • Dr. Lechner presented the Community Review Committee’s (CRC) revised bylaws for Board approval. This is done periodically by CRC. Once approved, the revised bylaws are immediately in effect.
  • Dr. Lechner noted a Commercial Property Tax Assessment Appeal for Commercial (No. 1408-01) Property Tax Assessment Appeal Resolution.
  • FOIA requests received the month were reviewed.
  • Dr. Lechner introduced the report on D39’s Participation in the Illinois Healthy and High Performing Schools Symposium. D39’s school gardens continue to gain recognition and they were featured at this symposium. Parent gardener Sabrina McBride and HMS teacher Brenda Raccuglia presented the report.
  • Dr. Lechner presented the annual response to CRC’s report. District 39’s tradition is to follow a cycle for strategic planning in which the CRC report and recommendations play a significant role. 
    • The Strategic Planning Cycle begins each May when CRC presents its annual report and recommendations for the next Strategic Plan.
    • In June, the administration provides the Board of Education with a strategic plan update. This report gives feedback on the progress made on annual goals and strategic initiatives.
    • The Superintendent and Administrative Team review both reports over the summer, setting the stage for the annual strategic plan development.
    • In August, the Superintendent presents a formal response to the recent CRC report. This gives the Board of Education, and other stakeholders opportunity to provide additional input prior to the District’s Strategic Plan adoption in September.
    • In October, the Superintendent presents the Superintendent’s Goals, based on the Strategic Plan. Subsequent implementation of these goals will be evident in the individual school improvement plans that are presented in November and December.
    • The CRC response focuses on several recommendations in the 2014-15 CRC Report, "Developing a 21st Century Infrastructure." The recommendations are embedded into the four existing CONNECTED goal areas (Core Subject & Content, Learning, Structural Platform, and Communication).
    • These recommendations include technology visioning and a multi-year plan, continued development of Learning Commons spaces in each school, including specified student learning outcomes, and continued development and communication of the 1:1 Learning Environment.
  • Ms. Buscemi presented an update on student transportation routing. At the recommendation of North Shore Transit, D39 has reduced in the number of stops per route to improve timeliness. In addition, the District now has permanent neighborhood stops that will remain consistent year to year.
  • Dr. Clauson presented the enrollment update. All class sections fall within established Board guidelines. Because of late breaking sections at Romona, two Early Childhood classes are being housed at Harper.
  • Mrs. Horowitz, Dr. Thrasher, and Mrs. Flemming presented a proposed Revised Assessment Calendar. With the change from ISAT to PARCC, it is important to ensure an appropriate balance between instructional time and testing. Specifically, in spring, the two PARCC assessments conflict with the final Performance Series testing window.  There was significant Board discussion and there will be a follow up report at an upcoming Board meeting.
  • Policies
    • Ms. Goldin presented the First Read of Proposed Policy 8:70 Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities: Revised Policy 4:150 Rental of Buildings: Revised Community Relations Policies: 8:10, 8:25, 8:30, 8:95, 8:100: Delete Policies: 8:15, 8:22, 8:40, 8:50, 8:105, and 8:110.
    • Dr. Clauson presented First Read of Proposed Policy 5:125 Personal Technology and Social Media: Usage and Conduct: Revised Policies: 5:190 Use of District Computer Facilities; 6:235 Access to Electronic Networks.
  • Dr. Lechner presented the FY14 Administrator and Teacher Salary and Benefits Report (ATSB). This is an annual requirement for Illinois schools.  Each September, administrator and teacher salaries and benefits are presented and posted in a single document.

Board Action

  • Approved the Personnel Report dated August 25, 2014.
  • Adopted the FY15 District 39 Annual Budget.
  • Adopted the FY15 WCSEA Annual Budget.
  • Approved as First Read Proposed Policy 8:70 Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities: Revised Policy 4:150 Rental of Buildings: Revised Community Relations Policies: 8:10, 8:25, 8:30, 8:95, 8:100: Delete Policies: 8:15, 8:22, 8:40, 8:50, 8:105, 8:110.
  • Approved as First Read Proposed Policy 5:125 Personal Technology and Social Media: Usage and Conduct: Revised Policies: 5:190 Use of District Computer Facilities; 6:235 Access to Electronic Networks.
  • Approved the Community Review Committee (CRC) Bylaws Revision.
  • Approved Commercial (No. 1408-01) Property Tax Assessment Appeal Resolution.