The Winnetka Public Schools, December 2021
Final 2021 Tax Levy
Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented information on the 2021 Final Levy. The Levy is a request for property tax income, representing over 90% of the District’s annual revenue. A public hearing to discuss the proposed tax increase, and the School Board approval of the levy was held at the Board Meeting. The District is seeking an aggregate levy increase of 1.06%. The increase is lower than CPI due to a 100% reduction in our Debt Service, with the final debt payment occuring on December 1, 2021. The operating fund request is seeking an increase of 3.90%; this request includes the capture of unknown new property growth and a 1.4% CPI tax cap for existing property owners. The average taxpayer will see a slight increase in the District 36 portion of their tax bill of approximately 1.06%. The 2021 Final Levy was approved later in the evening. To access FAQs on the 2021 Final Levy, please visit this link.
Dawn Livingston, President, recognized the incredible contributions of our students, parents, and staff for their creativity and collaboration as we have returned to a more typical day. She also thanked the Winnetka community for their support and noted that residents will soon receive a letter from the Board detailing highlights of the District’s COVID-related mitigation efforts. On behalf of the Board, she wished the school community a lovely holiday season and Happy New Year.
Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, noted that many festive school events correlate with our Portrait of a Graduate, such as serving and collecting food for others, writing original music together for Winter Sings, and other service projects and creative activities. She shared updates on the District’s February conference schedule and inclement weather days. Dr. Kocanda also wished everyone a Happy New Year.
An update on COVID-19 vaccination rates and mitigation efforts was shared. Additionally, it was discussed that The Ohio Department of Health Mask to Stay/Test to Play Option (October 25, 2021) is guidance that K-12 Ohio schools are following based on a successful pilot program detailed in this report: K-12 Quarantine Alternative Pilot Program. The District’s next steps include contacting the Governor’s Office, IDPH, and CCPDH officials advocating for a K-12 schools mitigation plan, using Ohio’s policy as reference, that accounts for current context with vaccination availability. In order to establish a pathway to reduce mitigation layers based on evolving data, the Board will continue this discussion at their January 25, 2022 School Board meeting.
The Board was provided with an update on current staffing and enrollment numbers. Enrollment and staffing data will play a critical role as planning for the 2022-2023 school year begins. In addition, the Board received a recommendation to approve an increase in the daily rate for substitute teachers in order to remain competitive with neighboring districts who recently increased their rates.
The Board received an update from the Calendar Committee, which hosted its first meeting of the year on December 9, 2021. Ultimately, it is the goal to have a final draft of the 2022-2023 calendar recommended for Board approval at the March Board meeting.
Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, gave an update on COVID expenditures for this school year. These items were built into the budget, and the District is on target to meet and remain within this budgetary allotment.
The work of the Facility and Finance Subcommittees related to the Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP) was shared including a timeline for pre-design work related to the projects being considered. This design work will be critical to advancing the EMFP, and will result in savings to the District of approximately $3.3 million versus post-referendum design work. This work will be brought to the Board for approval at its January 25 meeting.
The Board approved pre-purchase of HVAC equipment related to updates needed at Washburne. This will allow us to ensure we address supply chain issues in advance. The bid was awarded to Oak Brook Mechanical in the amount of $394,000.
The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:
Adoption of 2021 Property Tax Levy
Summer 2022 Bid Package 2 - HVAC Pre-Purchase
To view the entire Board Packet from the December 14 Meeting, click here.