District 75 School Board Meeting Notes
September 20, 2022
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