Summary of the January 24, 2022 Board Meeting at Westbrook
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 (February 15, 2022).
Board Meeting Recording
In addition, Board President Scott Nelson shared the following statement:
Last October, a lawsuit was filed seeking to remove school mandates for mask use and exclusion from in-person learning of students who are close contacts. There are 145 school districts named, including D34.
Typically we do not comment publicly on matters of pending litigation. Because a ruling in this case could potentially impact future Board action, we have decided to make this brief statement. Regardless of the final outcome of the case District 34 remains committed to our goal of keeping students in-school, in person, for as long as possible in the safest environment possible. The District will inform staff and families when there is a final ruling that may require changes to our health and safety protocols. Until any such time, masking and school exclusion remain part of those protocols.
Community members are 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.
During the first opportunity for community comments, the following people spoke:
- Amy Laurencelle, parent of D34 students, shared concerns about the response of a Board member to her when she requested that District 34 and District 225 Boards avoid conflicts in their meetings.
- Jen Patel, parent of D34 students, expressed concerns about the arguments made by the District's attorney at the January 5 hearing (referenced by Board President Scott Nelson). She said that the Board should take a vote on masks, and requested copy of the District's ESSER funds plan and an itemized list of where the funds were spent.
- Dr. Mary Carleton, parent of D34 students, shared concerns that community based instruction (CBI) for the Lifeskills program has been postponed due to COVID, about a situation that occurred at District 225, and expressed the importance of addressing student mental health.
Consent Agenda & Other Resolutions
The Board also approved the 2022-2023 school calendar. The Board discussed the school board meeting schedule, which is adopted separately from the school calendar (typically at the May or June Board meeting). Board Member Mike Korman explained that both districts strive to avoid conflicts.
The Board also approved a supplemental services agreement for English Learners, and two memoranda of understanding.
Citizens Finance Advisory Committee: Five-Year Financial Projections
- Expiration of the Glen TIF (positive impact) and completion of other nonrecurring impacts allows for a more stable projection in the operating funds then we were able to provide last year
- At the end of the five-year period, the District is likely to have a growing “structural operating deficit ”
- The structural deficits, combined with the fund balance contributions committed to the capital program, will ultimately reduce the operating fund balance to a level below the minimum recommended previously by CFAC and by Board policy
- CFAC recommends that the Board begin to investigate potential solutions as soon as possible
They showed that the District maintained a strong fund balance throughout the pandemic environment. The projected decreases are due, in part, to the District's planned contributions to the capital program (as promised to the community in the referendum). At the time that decision was made, the structural operating deficit was not projected to have the impact seen now. That structural operating deficit is being driven by greater increases in expenditures than revenues. That gap is projected at 1.0-1.5% per year from fiscal years 2025-2030.
They shared possible interventions to counteract the trend, including:
- Investigating an operating rate referendum
- Lobbying Springfield for relief on the CPI cap on property taxes
- CPI increases for fees
- Finding ways to link expense growth to revenue growth
- Consider reducing the District's capital contribution by reducing the scope of construction
CFAC will present to the Board in the spring on their secondary charge of benchmarking D34's metrics with other comparable school districts.
Phase 2/3 Construction Estimates and Bidding Discussion
Dave Torres from Nicholas Associates and Troy Kerr from FGM Architects shared an update on referendum construction, and a budget update on phases 2 and 3. All buildings were enclosed in time for the extreme weather; the interior work is progressing for an on-time completion of phase 1 construction for the start of school in August 2022.
Phase 2 and 3 costs are estimated at $70.5M. The projects are out to bid now and are due in late February; by end of February, when bids are in, we will have an idea of the actual costs. At this time, the estimate budget overage is $8M ($13M overages in construction, design and furniture costs, offset by approximately $5M in ESSER funding, remaining Phase 1 contingency funds and scope reduction).
The overages are due to the refinement of plans, as well as availability and increased costs of materials. Proper planning (pre-purchases of mechanical equipment) has allowed the projects to remain on schedule even in the environment with delays.
Troy Kerr of FGM shared a list of items that could be removed from the scope as "deductive alternates" at bid time. The items were reviewed with District administration. Items recommended to be removed were determined not to have an impact on teaching and learning. Decisions do not have to be made until bids come in.
Second Opportunity for Community Participation
- Margaret Rader, parent of D34 students, shared that Springman has issues with heat in classrooms. She also asked about the decision to move Springman to an adaptive pause before winter break.
- Elena Bezman, parent of D34 students, said that the weekly COVID case counts are high, and shared concerns about the impact of the mask mandate on children.
Glenview District 34 is governed by a seven-person Board of Education, elected by the community, that consists of the following individuals:
- Scott Nelson (President)
- John Heggie (Vice President)
- Mike Korman (Secretary)
- Jim Baumstark
- James Dolan
- Natalie Jachtorowycz
- Diane Stefani
You can contact the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.