The Winnetka Public Schools, December 2022
The Board received an overview from District partner ECRA Group, on how they will be supporting data analysis and reporting to help pinpoint areas for student improvement and growth.
Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented information on the 2022 Final Levy. The Levy is a request for property tax income, representing over 90% of the District’s annual revenue. The District is seeking an aggregate levy increase of 6.50%. The increase includes 5% for CPI, and an additional 1.5% to ensure the capture of new property growth.The 2022 Final Levy was approved later in the evening. To access FAQs on the 2022 Final Levy, please visit this link.
Regular Board Meeting
Emily Rose, President, shared an update on Board efforts over the past month. She noted that the monthly Board Meeting location will change to Carleton Washburne School in January 2023. She also recognized the efforts in all five school communities to prepare for the upcoming winter break with celebrations and many service projects to help those in need.
Additionally, Ms. Rose wished everyone a restful and joyful winter break and thanked all who make our Winnetka Public Schools communities such wonderful places to work and learn.
Dr. Kelly Tess, Superintendent, noted that the evening’s presentation would focus on the District’s Fine Arts Curriculum, referencing her own positive experiences in the Fine Arts program as a student at New Trier. She thanked the Fine Arts staff for their dedication to fostering robust learning experiences for our students.
Highlighting Progressive Education in Action: Crow Island School
Crow Island fourth graders shared their experience serving as Recess Leaders for younger students. The Recess Leaders applied and interviewed for their positions and help foster positive behavior and social engagement on the playground during recess daily.
Dr. Becky Mathison, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, along with the Fine Arts curriculum chairs Jude Bamshad (Hubbard Woods-Art), Alex Novello (Skokie-Music), and Amy Markos (Washburne-Drama) team presented updated Fine Arts curriculum and the projected impact on the student learning experience. The team shared examples of the many ways the fine arts enhance the experiential learning experience. The curriculum review process originally initiated in 2019 but was delayed due to the pandemic.
The Board and Administration are working closely with Pepper Construction and Perkins & Will Architects to plan for the details of the construction project scope, with construction slated to begin at Greeley and Hubbard Woods in Summer 2023. Despite the recommendation for the Board to rebid the remaining vendor packages associated with construction and renovation in Summers 2023 and 2024 (see memo below), there is currently no needed change to the construction and renovation timeline.
This recurring memo will be shared with the Board as means to provide timely and succinct updates on the initiatives underway in the District. This month’s memo includes updates on the work with the District’s Data Analytics Partner, ECRA Group; the English Language Program Review and Literacy Curriculum Review; RULER implementation; Panorama Staff and Student Data, Professional DevelopmentL Functional Behavior Assessments; Profile an Educator and the Educational Master Facility Plan.
An overview of the Committee of the Whole was shared with the Board. This included discussion of the bond sale process, a review of the 5-year projections as well as the long-term maintenance plan through 2032. The Board also discussed the debt service extension base, and will continue to discuss the impact this has on the long-term maintenance plan going forward. Finally, there was discussion regarding the proposed levy, and it was determined that the proposal made at the tentative levy would not be altered during the final levy hearing.
The Administration shared the process utilized to prepare for the bond sale for the referendum bonds. This included the rating presentation with Moody’s Investor Services, which determined the District received a rating of Aaa, the highest rating available. The District went to bid for the first tranche of bonds, with the bid being awarded to Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. The District is expecting to close on the sale of these bonds prior to the end of December.
The Administration recommended rejection of several bid packages that will be rebid for the summer of 2023 and 2024 for Hubbard Woods and Greeley. These proposals will be rebid over the next few months.
The latest version of the staffing report shows an overall decrease of 2 students from September to December 2022 and an increase of 1 staff member during this timeframe. The district has also recommended the increase of 1.0 FTE for a Skokie School Math Interventionist based on student need.
The district calendar committee had an initial meeting on November 14, 2022 to adhere to state guidelines as well as collect relevant feedback from the Winnetka 36 staff for the creation of a 2023-2024 school calendar. An additional meeting on December 12, 2022 will narrow down options for staff consideration to then allow for an official recommendation to bring to the Superintendent/Board of Education prior to February 2023.
The Board approved an increase of 3% to the salaries for both classified and certified staff for the Adventures in Learning and Extended School Year staff. These programs occur outside the negotiated contract, and salaries were frozen between 2015 and 2021, with a 3% increase in place last year. The District is focused on maintaining these high quality programs for our community, and attracting qualified staff is a key to this.
The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:
Adoption of 2022 Property Tax Levy
Bid Recommendation 2023-2024
Adventures in Learning/Extended School Year Salary Increases
To view the entire Board Packet from the December 13, 2022 Meeting, click here.