Board Briefs

Highlights from the December 2, 2019 BOE meeting

Board Briefs is a newsletter-style overview of the highlights of the Board of Education's discussion and action. You can find the meeting agenda online here, and look for minutes of the meeting to be posted after they are approved at the next BOE meeting (December 16, 2019).

Community Comments

The community is encouraged to attend Board of Education meetings, and contribute during the community participation periods. In all regular Board of Education meetings, the Board follows a set agenda that include two opportunities for community participation.


In the first opportunity for input, Calliope Nicolandis, parent of current and future students, shared information with the Board about current research on sleep in the adolescent child that indicates that middle school students should not start before 8:30am.

Resolutions

The Board approved the consent agenda, which included a personnel report.

Discussion

Illinois State Report Card

Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning Dr. Matt Silverman took the Board through District 34's Illinois State Report Card. He showed the designations of all schools:


  • Attea: Commendable
  • Springman: Commendable
  • Glen Grove: Exemplary
  • Hoffman: Commendable
  • Pleasant Ridge: Commendable
  • Henking: Exemplary
  • Lyon: Exemplary
  • Westbrook: Commendable


He described the factors that contribute to the designation, including attendance and participation in the Illinois 5Essentials Survey.


Dr. Silverman said that the report card shows that District 34 is funded about $1M below the adequacy target outlined by the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) formula, or 97% of adequacy. Some local districts are funded well above the adequacy target.

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He gave credit to Springman school for its growth and improvement from last year to this year, due to great commitment from teachers and staff who attended work days over weekends, spent a great deal of time looking at student data to understand student needs, and worked with the Regional Office of Education on the school improvement plan. Board President Natalie Jachtorowycz pointed out that three schools received exemplary designations and commended the administrators and teachers for their hard work in contributing to that growth.
View the District 34 Illinois Report Card

You can find links to individual school report cards as well.

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Referendum Considerations

Superintendent Dr. Dane Delli said that when he arrived in the District in 2017, he was surprised by the physical condition of the schools. Since that time, a comprehensive facilities assessment revealed widespread deficiencies, a space utilization study showed space needs, and several reviews by the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee outlined the District's financial situation. The District commissioned a citizens task force, which reviewed input from community and staff engagement sessions, surveys and polling.


Board President Natalie Jachtorowyz explained that the Board will vote at the next meeting (December 16) on whether to place a referendum on the March 2020 ballot. This meeting is designed for the Board to look at the information they have to make their decision, and discuss options and opinions.


At the last meeting, the Building Future Task Force made a recommendation to pursue a referendum. The presentation outlines the variables in each solution they considered.


Ron Richardson and Troy Kerr of FGM Architects shared the details of what items are included in or removed from each scenario. The financial impact of the scenario recommended by the task force is shown below:

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Dave Torres from construction manager Nicholas Associates explained the process of refining the numbers through the schematic design process and in developing conceptual budgets for projects.


Board Members asked several questions of the architects and construction manager including future considerations, such as options for building now that would allow for future additions to add space, including space for full-day kindergarten (FDK). They discussed the possibility of using modular construction to bring costs down, expedite the timeline of construction and provide flexibility. The architects said that there may be some limitations to modular construction to meet the needs of District 34. With the time limitation of the March 2020 election, it may not be possible to fully investigate the modular approach.


Board members had in-depth discussions on a number of areas. Some of the comments from Board members are summarized below.


Board President Natalie Jachtorowycz asked about the cost to renovate the administration building. The recommended scenario includes moving the District warehouse space from the administration building campus to Springman and renovating the warehouse for professional development space. She expressed concern about the $1.9M cost. Executive Director for Human Resources Dr. Heather Hopkins explained that when the District uses building space for professional development during school time (such as a library or other large area), it displaces students and teaching and learning. Mrs. Jachtorowycz expressed safety concerns about the Westbrook site if the administration building remains unchanged.


Board Member Katie Jones said that about 25% of students come from low income families, and they would most benefit from attending FDK. Many of those students typically do not attend preschool and need the socialization provided by a play-based program. Children learn the best through play. She expressed concern about not having time for play in the current half-day kindergarten program.


Board Member Scott Nelson said he would like to see voters support the full needs of the District, and that the District should find a way to reduce the burden on taxpayers in that scenario. He said that he believes that this is a generational decision that impacts the community moving forward. "If we don't get full-day kindergarten now, we may not be able to provide it for another 20 years," he said.


Board Member John Heggie said that the District's fiscal responsibility will be a positive factor for voters. He said that he is concerned that there isn't any survey data to show that voters would be any more accepting of the "medium" solution than the full solution. He suggested that the Board consider waiting to place a referendum on the ballot to give time to consider other options. Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Eric Miller pointed out that the longer the District waits to repair buildings. the higher the escalation costs.


Board Member Mike Korman said that he would like to District try to reduce the amount asked of voters to pursue the full amount of work to get as much for the kids as possible for that amount. He suggested that the referendum debt be less than $120M.


Board Vice President Jim Baumstark agreed with Mr. Heggie's assessment that the probability of passing a referendum doesn't go up significantly with a "medium" ask. He would like to know how to reduce the referendum debt and still be able to build additional space for FDK.

Board Member Diane Stefani said she was concerned about a referendum not passing at all given the dire needs of the buildings. She would like to see a referendum amount below the task force's recommended scenario, that possibly includes a different scope to impact spaces and students beyond kindergarten.


Mrs. Jachtorowycz said that the Board would like to have more information before making a decision on a referendum. She asked the administration to provide a scenario to keep the initial scope, but decrease the taxpayer burden, including the possibility of increasing the fund balance contribution and decreasing contingency allotments. Dr. Delli said that the Board would have that information to help them make a decision on December 16.

Community Comments

In the second opportunity for community comment, Charles Picton, parent, asked about the option to do a two-question referendum to have full-day kindergarten as a separate referendum question, so that two questions would be on the ballot (one for critical needs and one for FDK).

Meet the Board of Education

Glenview District 34 is governed by a seven-person Board of Education, elected by the community, that consists of the following individuals:


  • Natalie Jachtorowycz (President)
  • Jim Baumstark (Vice President)
  • John Heggie
  • Katie Jones
  • Mike Korman
  • Scott Nelson
  • Diane Stefani


You can contact the Board at board@glenview34.org.