Complete information packet


The Board approved the following:


  • Presentation of LevyDr. Lechner and Ms. Buscemi –

Three separate levy presentations were provided.  Dr. Lechner opened with an overview, including a PowerPoint presentation, clarifying that the District asks Cook County for a dollar amount, and not a percent increase, nor a tax rate.  There are two components that are used to determine the funds requested: CPI, which is known, and New Property Growth, which is always unknown. The percent increase that the District ultimately get is NOT the percent increase seen on tax bills. The biggest driver of change to an individual property tax bill, is that property’s value.

The voters approved a referendum in 2011. The increase in funds received were supported by the community. This established a new baseline. Since the referendum, the Board has embraced four principles: first, maintain a minimum fund balance at 30%; second, plan conservatively by embedding State of Illinois fiscal issues into projections; third, connect expenses to revenues, as all staff salary increases are now connected to CPI; and finally, maintain educational excellence while living within means, by maintaining low cost per pupil and property tax per pupil ratios.

Ms. Buscemi presented the 2017 Levy request using the District’s standard levy practice. The Cook County Clerk determines the final levy extension amount, which is anticipated to be approximately 2.84% or $1,485,976. The average taxpayer will see a 2.1% increase for the District 39 portion of their bill.  District 39’s portion is approximately 1/3 of a resident’s total tax bill. 

Ms. Buscemi presented Financial Projections. Understanding and acknowledging diversity of opinion, she provided 5-year financial projections generating several levy options for the Board to consider. The four scenarios included the District’s standard levy assumption, a levy freeze for 2017, the impact of SB 851 and levy freezes for 2018 & 2019, and levy freezes for 2017, 2018, and 2019.

REGULAR MEETING (reconvened)


  • Facility Development – Alice Schaff reported – The committee reviewed architectural drawings showing technical progress and details for Highcrest construction in preparation to solicit bids in January. Discussion about cost containment ensued. Preliminary discussion regarding Kindergarten enrichment and facility needs took place as part of the Strategic Plan. Next steps include an analysis of operating costs and surveying parents to gauge interest. Next meeting is January 8, 2018 at 8:00 am.
  • School Finance – Frank Panzica reported – Five topics were discussed: the most significant was the 2017 Levy, along with 2019 student fees, FY19 Budget Calendar, property tax assessment appeals, and excess pension payments. Next meeting is January 8, 2018 at 8:00 am.
  • CRC – Tracy Kearney reported the committee continues to focus on personalized learning and has broken into subgroups to continue research.  Next meeting is January 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm.
  • Educational Foundation – Alice Schaff reported on the November meeting - The foundation held two successful fall fundraising events; the 4th Annual Attire to Inspire Fashion Show and Family Bingo Night. Science Olympiad classes began the first week of December and run until February 9, 2018. Six Gripp Grants were approved for Fall 2017 totaling $11,134. Tracy Kearney reported on December meeting - The Annual Appeal was sent out. Trivia Night registration opens January 11th at 10:00 am. A short video highlighting the Google Chromebook pilot at Central was shown. The pilot was a huge success and all involved were grateful for the opportunity. Next meeting is January 17, 2018.


Tracy Kearney reported that the Illinois General Assembly has not been in session. They reconvene January 10, 2018.


Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

  • Kindergarten Registration for the 2018-2019 school year is scheduled for Thursday, January 18th from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm and on Friday, January 19th from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm.


Annual Business

  • 2018-2019 Draft School Calendar – Dr. Lechner – The draft calendar for 2018-2019 was presented. The final 2018-2019 calendar will be approved at the January 22, 2018 Board meeting.
  • Fiscal Year 2019 Student Fees – Ms. Buscemi –Instructional materials fees would not increase for the 2018-2019 school year except for a $10 increase for 7th grade Instructional Materials Fee to cover the cost of iPad insurance. She noted a change in District practice for bus registrations would include an extension to July 13th to sign up for transportation. Any students registered after that date would incur a late fee and not be assigned to a bus route until September 15th, provided there is space on the bus. She noted this would not apply to new families moving to Wilmette.
  • Clarifying D39 Teacher Pension Obligations – Dr. Lechner – This topic is addressed in response to community questions concerning pension obligations. A Powerpoint Presentation was shared. Historically, the State assumed responsibility for district contributions to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) though in recent years the State has tried to shift its pension obligations to school districts. This includes a requirement to contribute more when salary increases exceed 6%. District 39 teacher contracts tie salary increases to CPI and include a retirement incentive of 5% to keep pension related costs down. Cases in which the District would have to pay Excess Salary Payments to TRS were shown. 
  • Property Tax Assessment Appeal Resolutions – Ms. Buscemi –  The District, along with other local government entities, received two tax assessment appeal resolutions for tax year 2016 - one residential appeal for property located on Sheridan Road and one commercial appeal for property located on Poplar Drive. 


The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Mrs. Kearney requested both property tax assessment appeal resolutions be pulled from the Consent Agenda; they were approved separately.

The Board adopted the 2017 Levy.


The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday,
January 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm at the Mikaelian Education Center.