Board Highlights

The Winnetka Public Schools, September 2022

Budget Hearing

FY 2023 Final Budget

Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, provided the Final Fiscal Year 2023 budget.

The District is addressing the final year of the 3-Year Capital Improvement Plan through the utilization of fund balance in the amount of $6.7 million in FY23. This addresses urgent facilities needs such as domestic water issues, and Health/Life Safety projects. This year’s budget is projected to have an operating fund surplus of $2.4 million, with a planned overall budget deficit of $6.6 million related to the Capital Improvement Plan. The budget has a cost-per-pupil estimate of 2.8%, meeting the financial philosophy guidelines of 3.0%. The Board voted to approve the final budget.

Regular Board Meeting

Emily Rose, President, welcomed all in attendance. She reiteraterated the District’s Mission and Vision and noted that the evening’s presentation would be focused on Dr. Tess’s Entry Plan, which corresponds with the District's Strategic Plan. Ms. Rose also highlighted two memos that would be shared: the Safe, Secure, Healthly Schools Resolution (adopted by the Board later in the evening), as well as an update regarding Comprehensive Health Education. Ms. Rose noted that the Board would NOT be adopting a Comprehensive Health Education in K-6 and 8th grade; rather, the Board will maintain the 7th grade Sexual Education unit which aligns with the National Sex Education standards and complies with the requirements in the state of IL in relation to SB 818.

Finally, she reminded the community that the Board and Administration continues to host informational sessions regarding the 2022 Downsized Capital Improvement Plan: Referendum.

Dr. Kelly Tess, Superintendent, noted that prior to Board meetings this year, students will share highlights of learning activities taking place at our schools. Fifth and sixth grade students showcased the process they underwent to develop the music and lyrics of a new school song for The Skokie School, as well as debuted the new song to the Board. Additionally, students in Ms. Hoyt’s class shared how they created a Charter for their class using the RULER method (see photo below).

Dr. Tess also mentioned that the Central Office Team received seven INSPRA Awards from the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association, in the areas of Marketing, Writing, and Financial Reporting.


Superintendent Entry Plan & Annual Goals

Dr. Kelly Tess, Superintendent, shared her Entry Plan and corresponding recommendations, including the results of a Superintendent Survey conducted in summer 2022. Goals connected to the Annual Plan 2022-2023 were shared by Department Administrators. The Board will receive quarterly updates on the Entry Plan, and School and District Improvement Plans will be shared at the October Board Meeting. A mid-year report on progress toward the Annual Plan will be provided in January, with an end-of-the-year report in June. To view the video of the presentation, click here.

Informational Items

2022 Downsized Capital Improvement Plan: Referendum, Communications Update

An update was provided on communication and outreach efforts, including recent touch points with the community at school events, the launch of a fall series of Informational Sessions and tours, and new digital and print materials. The Board and Administration will continue to meet with community leaders and organizations and provide timely communication via printed materials, email, and social media.

Superintendent Entry Plan

Superintendent, Dr. Kelly Tess, presented the findings from a summer survey and findings from the Caucus survey as a means to introduce some initial recommendations for an entry plan, as well as a preview of the annual goals for the 2022/2023 school year.

Safe, Secure and Healthy Schools Resolution

The School Board presented and approved a resolution promoting safe and secure schools with the following action items contained within it:

  • Updating the school handbook to include information about the legal obligation of any parent who is a gun owner to comply with state law regarding secure storage of firearms

  • Providing a third party mechanism for community members to report concerns related to the safety of district schools

  • Implement operational and behavior policies within the schools as are appropriate

  • Continue to work with local law enforcement agencies, health agencies, and non-profits in a collaborative manner

Comprehensive Health Education

Upon review of the state’s recommended materials and further review of policy, District Administration recommends that the Board make no change in existing policy and maintain the instructional programming for sexual health education already in place in seventh grade. Current sexual health education provided at the seventh grade level is in compliance with state law. District administration does not recommend adopting policy that would include the addition of comprehensive health and sexual health education curriculum in grades K-6 and 8. As there is no recommended change, there is no additional action required by the Board. The District will seek feedback from staff, parents and students as new topics of instruction are explored in any future curriculum review. Parents have the opportunity to preview any and all materials within the sexual health education unit, and may exempt their child from this unit if they so choose.

Dr. Tess also shared the following points with the Board at the meeting:

  • The District revised its Sexual Health Education (delivered in a two week unit in seventh grade) curriculum during the 2020/2021 school year following a revised edition of standards in November 2020.

  • Based on those changes, implemented for the first time in Spring 2021, the District’s Sexual Health Education programming was then and remains now in compliance with state law.

  • Illinois since adopted the National Sex Ed Standards, applying comprehensive health and sexual education programming in grades K-8.

  • We will not be adding comprehensive health and sexual health education in grades K-6 or 8, but rather will continue with our compliant sexual health education in grade seven only.

  • There is language being circulated in the community about the District’s need to “opt in or out” of the National Sex Ed Standards, and that if this is not done by November 1, then the District is automatically opted in. This is factually incorrect. The policy as adopted in February 2021 indicates that we are compliant with the law in our offering of sexual health education (delivered in grade seven) as it has been delivered since February 2021, and the District will not be making any changes. There is no “opt out or in” option for Districts to be making, but rather the adoption of policy that indicates whether you are compliant with standards or not. If it helps people to commonly understand that we are not adding instruction based on the National Sex Ed standards in grades K-6 or 8 as opting out, that is fine; however, that is not how it is referenced for school districts as they make these decisions.

August 2022 Opening Day and Institutes

The District opened the 2022-23 school year with 2.5 institute days including a kickoff with keynote speaker Dr. Floyd Cobb (Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity) and all staff welcome from Dr. Tess along with other activities interspersed (articulation time, policy discussion, team meetings CHARTER/SEL time). Professional learning will focus on the areas of a clear, researched based definition of Progressive Education to help guide all staff and telling the story of our students. Feedback was collected from all staff for the opening days and were included in the board memo to show high percentages of alignment with staff’s own professional development along with engagement.

Staffing and Enrollment Update for 2022/2023 School Year

The board of education was updated with the most current 2022-2023 staffing plan. District 36 has shown a 4.7% student increase from last year at this time along with a 1.7% instructional staffing increase. Enrollment was broken out by buildings to show increases in student population in all buildings (highest growth at Greeley School up 10.7%) with the exception being Washburne School which remained stable from last year.

Annual Transfers In/Out Report 2022-2023

The Board of Education was provided with the most current data regarding the number of students who have transferred into the District and those who have graduated and transferred out of the District. This memo also contains details regarding the location of the schools they attended before transferring into the district and what schools exiting students are now attending. In addition, historical data has been provided showing transfers in and out of the district in previous years.

Summer Curriculum Work

Teachers and teams worked over the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year through a variety of activities including professional learning, curriculum development, materials organization, and assessment planning. Highlights include the Summer Institute sessions featuring the Science of Reading and Project-Based Learning and social emotional support planning for both students and staff.

WPSF Annual Plan

The Winnetka Public School Foundation approved the district’s request for $106,000. These funds will be used to support artist-in-residence projects, teacher grants, professional learning, and family engagement. The Department of Innovation, Teaching, and Learning has begun to work with staff to utilize funds.

Telgian Engineering & Consulting, LLC Proposal

The Board approved contracting with Telgian Engineering & Consulting, LLC for security work at the schools as part of the Educational Master Facility Plan. Telgian will provide integration of systems to ensure the buildings are updated to meet best practice guidelines. They will ensure interoperability between systems. The Board approved this contract.

School Maintenance Grant Fiscal Year 2023

The Board approved a $50,000 matching grant from the State of Illinois for a chimney cap project for Skokie that is planned for next summer.

The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:

  1. FY2023 Final Budget
  2. Resolution Directing The School Treasurer to Permanently Transfer Moneys From The Education Fund To The Operations And Maintenance Fund
  3. Resolution To Transfer Funds From The Operations And Maintenance Fund To The Capital Projects Fund
  4. Telgian Engineering & Consulting, LLC
  5. School Board Maintenance Grant Application
  6. Safe, Secure and Healthy Schools Resolution
  7. Annual Goals 2022-2023
  8. Settlement Agreement

To view the entire Board Packet from the September 20, 2022 Meeting, click here.

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