News and Notes

District 75 School Board Meeting Notes

November 15, 2022
 

Working Cash Bonds - Board Approved

The School Board took the first step toward issuing $4.5 million in working cash bonds to help finance a new fine arts addition to Carl Sandburg School. A portion of the funding for the project would come from funds the district has previously saved with the remainder coming from the bonds.

Public Hearing on Working Cash Bonds sale - Board Approved

The School Board passed a resolution to hold a public hearing in December on its intent to sell $4.5 million in working cash bonds. The bonds will be used to help finance a new fine arts addition to Carl Sandburg School.

Adoption of Tax Levy - Board Approved

The District 75 Board of Education adopted both the tax levy resolutions and the certificate of tax levy. The estimated levy is a formal document that sets the amount of property tax dollars that can be levied by a taxing district for the operation of the school district. The 2022 levy, the total amount of taxes imposed by the district, and capped at no more than 5 percent higher than the previous calendar year, totals an estimated $19.3 million. No one commented during the Public Hearing on the 2022 levy. 

Specialized Transportation - Board Approved

The School Board agreed to purchase two mini buses and hire two drivers for specialized transportation services. Currently, the district spends $200,000 annually to a transportation company to provide three special education bus routes. While the buses and drivers will save the district an estimated $136,000 over four years.

School Calendars - Board Approved

The School Board agreed to adopt proposed school calendars for the next two years. While these initial calendars are subject to change, it does provide parameters and some key dates for future planning. Highlights for the 2023-24 calendar include a starting school on Aug. 16, winter break from Dec. 23 to Jan. 8, spring break from March 25-29 and school ending on May 23. The 2024-25 calendar includes a start day of Aug. 15, winter break from Dec. 20 to Jan. 7, spring break from March 24-28 and school ending on May 28. 

Shared Services Declaration - Board Approved

The District 75 Board reaffirmed its shared services agreement with Mundelein High School District 120 which was originally adopted in 2018 and began in 2019. The benefits of the Shared Services model include financial efficiencies and staff efficiencies. By the end of fiscal year 2023, the two districts are projected to have saved more than $9.1 million from the sharing of services. 

Teaching and Learning Update 

Administrators and teachers presented an update on the District 75 Teaching and Learning program. The District is in its third year of working with literacy consultants who are helping staff in reading, writing and foundational skills development. Staff is focused this year on small group instructional practices, consistent writing instruction and the inclusion of literacy in other areas of the district including at libraries, in the middle school social studies curriculum and by encouraging reading for the District 75 community.

District Learning Data

Staff presented a brief update on data it has been monitoring throughout the implementation of literacy and math initiatives. At this point, the data shows improvement for students in grades 3-8 compared to the learning loss during the summer of 2021.

 

Kevin Holly, President
On behalf of the District 75 Board of Education

News and Notes November 8, 2022

District 75 School Board Meeting Notes

November 8, 2022

 

Shared Services Update  

The District 75 and District 120 Boards of Education met to review their Shared Services declaration and reaffirm their support of the model that began in 2019. The benefits of the Shared Services model include financial efficiencies and staff efficiencies. The number of staff employed under the shared services model has grown from 12 in 2019 to 27 today. By the end of fiscal year 2023, the two districts are projected to have saved more than $9.1 million from the sharing of services.  Those savings continue to be reinvested back into programs that benefit students and improve student achievement.
 

Kevin Holly, Board President
On behalf of the District 75 Board of Education

 

 

News and Notes October 18, 2022

District 75 School Board Meeting Notes

October 18, 2022

Waiver Title Grant Schoolwide - Board Approved

The School Board will apply for Washington School to receive a Schoolwide Title Grant access. If approved, the waiver would allow the district to use federal funds on free and reduced services for programs that serve all students in the school. Currently Washington is limited to using Title Grant Funds to specifically targeted students. 

The title grant funds are typically used schoolwide when a school poverty rate is at 40 percent or above. Washington falls slightly below that threshold, and would need a waiver to use the funds schoolwide.

Job Descriptions - Board Approved

The Board approved the updates to seven job descriptions. The job descriptions now include a statement that applicants have the ability to fluently speak, read and write in English and Spanish (preferred). The positions descriptions include jobs for secretary, administrative assistant, receptionist and clerk. These are not new openings; the jobs are currently filled.

Tax Levy - Board Approved

The District 75 Board of Education adopted a $19.38 million tax levy. The estimated levy is a formal document that sets the amount of property tax dollars that can be levied by a taxing district for the operation of the school district. A Public Hearing on the Tax Levy will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the beginning of the Board’s monthly meeting. 

Strategic Planning 

The Board of Education discussed the next steps in creating a District 75 Strategic Plan.

Each Board member will define their own vision of the five main goals listed on the strategic plan by the end of October. The Board will then meet to discuss the points and build a consensus. The point of building common goals, Board Vice-President Ray Rose said,  is so the Board will be able to “monitor where we’re going so we keep moving in the direction we want.

“We’re building a foundation for the work we will be doing in the future,” he said.

Funding a fine arts addition

The School Board further discussed plans to finance a new fine arts addition to Carl Sandburg School. The Board last discussed the project during its Sept. 20 meeting and has since worked with various stakeholders to gather information and feedback. The cost of the addition, originally estimated at $4.5 million, is now expected to be somewhere between $5.8 m. to $6.8 m.

The district would need to borrow about $4 million in bonds to help pay for the project, about $1 million more than previously discussed. It is considering a financing option that would have the least impact on taxpayers while allowing the district to remain financially stable. To cover any unknown contingencies, the Board would consider using an additional $1 million in fund balance, if needed. A large portion of the funding for the project would come from funds the district has previously saved. 

An update and recommendation will be discussed at the Nov. 15 School Board meeting. 

Resolutions Committee - Board Approved

The Board of Education discussed and voted to direct Board Secretary Kristie Fingerhut, the District 75 delegate to the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), to vote on resolutions on behalf of the Board. The IASB delegate committee will meet during the Triple I Conference in November. 
 

Ray Rose, Board Vice-President
On behalf of the District 75 Board of Education

 

News and Notes September 20, 2022

District 75 School Board Meeting Notes

September 20, 2022

 

Tax Levy

The District 75 Board of Education on Tuesday discussed an estimated $19.38 million tax levy, in preparation for adopting it in October. The estimated levy is a formal document that sets the amount of property tax dollars that can be levied by a taxing district for the operation of the school district. The Board will consider adoption of the estimated tax levy at the  October 18th meeting. 

Funding a fine arts addition

The School Board discussed plans to finance a new $4.5 million fine arts addition to Carl Sandburg School on Tuesday night, supporting an option that would have the least impact on taxpayers while allowing the district to remain financially stable. Board members called it a win-win plan that would help the community with minimal impact to taxpayers.

While the District would borrow $2.5 million in bonds to help pay for the project, it would make interest-only payments for the first two years. The structuring would be purposely configured to have the most minimal impact on the taxpayers as possible. It would also provide the District with the flexibility to fund other long-term projects such as life and safety improvements in the future and District 75 would retain its stable financial rating. About 40 percent of the funding for the project would come from funds the district has previously saved. 

Dual Language Program Improves

The Board received positive news on the progress being made toward goals in the District’s Linguistic Department. Ryan Zak, Director of Linguistic Programs, told the School Board that we are on the pathway to becoming a premiere dual language district.

This year the District started its roll-up of the 90:10 model where students would begin by working 90 percent of their lessons in Spanish and gradually reducing that by 10 percent per year. Other enhancements included professional development for bilingual program staff and co-teaching models for English learners. Bilingual Program teachers told the Board they are excited about their students’ progress and the collaboration among staff members from all three schools.

Paraprofessional Compensation Increase - Board Approved

The District 75 School Board on Tuesday increased the compensation for paraprofessionals $1.50 per hour and added a retention and attendance bonus for the 2023-24 school year. The District currently has seven paraprofessional openings and continually struggles to fill the vacancies. Since October 2020, the District has had one or more openings for paraprofessionals with as many as 11 openings at one time during the past 18 months. Compensation continues to be the most common reason for resignations.

The pay for paraprofessionals will increase from a starting rate of $15 per hour to between $16.50 and $18.75 per hour depending on the applicant’s level of experience, education and other skills. A retention bonus of $750 would be added in October 2023 for those hired prior to March 30, 2023 as long as they meet attendance requirements.

Superintendent Evaluation program - Board Approved

The Board of Education agreed to purchase one-half the cost of a $2,195 superintendent evaluation program called SuperEval. The web-based program is considered an effective and efficient tool for evaluating the work of the superintendent. The one-time cost would be split between Districts 75 and 120. The Board will be able to reassess the program after one year to determine if it wants to renew the program.

IASB Delegate - Board Approved

The District 75 School Board on Tuesday voted to make Board Secretary Kristie Fingerhut its delegate to the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB). The delegate would attend the IASB Delegate Assembly on Nov. 18 to vote on resolutions, hear from IASB officials and vote on officers.
 

Kevin Holly, Board President
On behalf of the District 75 Board of Education

 


 

News and Notes August 26, 2022

District 75 School Board Meeting Notes

August 26, 2022
 

Equity Policy - Board Approved

This year the district accomplished many of its equity goals resulting in a more welcoming and inclusive experience for our students and families. On Aug. 23, the School Board approved the second and final reading for the new equity policy, officially making it part of the School Board Policy.

The committee considered resolutions and policies from other school districts, including Mundelein High School District 120. The District will continue to deepen its equity work to further the goals, impact and vision of the District 75 Racial and Ethnic Equity Policy.

Many thanks go out to the parents and staff members who served on the Equity Committee. The number of people and the diversity of people involved in creating the new policy is reflective in the policy itself, in that we want to do what’s best for all of our students.

Maintenance/Facilities

The Maintenance and Facilities Department oversaw a busy summer of construction, upgrades and repairs to our District 75 buildings. Director Dave Zaremba reported to the Board on Aug. 23, reviewing projects at all four school buildings and the East District Office. The projects include:

  • East District Office - The addition of 10 new offices and two conference rooms.
  • Carl Sandburg Middle School - New kitchen serving equipment; and a new sensory room (coming soon).
  • Mechanics Grove School - A new mobile unit at Mechanics Grove School to be used for music and robotics programs as well as a teacher’s room; a newly renovated front office  as well as expanded nurses room, copy and mail room; and new outdoor lights in front of the school.
  • Washington School - New administrative offices at Washington School; A chair lift at the Washington School Library, adding more space and providing more independence to handicapped students by adding a button so they can operate the lift themselves; Resurfacing of the playground and the installation of accessible ramps with financial support from a Safety First grant; and new outdoor lights in front of the school.
  • Lincoln School - Repair of brick and structural integrity following a car accident in the front of the school earlier in the summer.

Shared Services meeting Nov. 8

The District 75 School Board will meet with the Mundelein High School District 120 School Board on Tuesday, Nov. 8 to review the purposes of the Shared Services Program. Both School Boards have experienced some turnover since the Shared Services Program began in 2019, so it’s important to continue reviewing the purpose of shared services work. The meeting is open to the public.

School Board Conference - Board Approved

The School Board approved the expenditure of up to $6,900 for seven board members to attend the Illinois Association of School Boards Annual Joint Conference in Chicago. The conference, held from Nov. 18-20, is the premier training event for school board members, administrators and business officials.