News from CCSD15 Board of Education

February 25, 2022

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February 22, 2022, BOE Special and Committee of the Whole Meeting

President Szczupaj’s Opening Remarks

President Lisa Szczupaj opened the Board meeting with her remarks around the Board’s excitement to hear the updated Moving 15 Forward plan.

5-Year Forecast and Funding Plan

Diana McCluskey, Chief School Business Official, and Elizabeth Hennessy, Managing Director at Raymond James Public Finance, presented an updated 5-year forecast and funding plan. The funding planning included information on the funding options for the Moving 15 Forward proposal.

Mrs. McCluskey presented an updated 5-year forecast using 5 Cast, an analytics tool from Frontline Forecast 5. The forecast was updated from the September 2021 Board presentation using a December 2021 Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 5% and potential savings in Transportation Fund 40 from moving to a 3-Tier bus starting time system.

The forecast included $2.5M in principal and interest payments starting in FY24 on the $36M of Debt Certificates and the additional full time kindergarten teachers in FY25. The forecast showed a possible surplus for each of the 5 years in the forecast and maintaining a fund balance ratio of at least 35%.

Elizabeth Hennessy presented the options to fund the $186 million in improvements proposed by the Moving 15 Forward plan in which the District will fund $93 million through a combination of bond issuance and capital spending prioritization. The remaining $93 million would be raised through a referendum campaign, should the Board determine they want to proceed in that direction.

To view the 5-year forecast and funding plan, click here.

Moving 15 Forward

Preview of the Moving 15 Forward Community Information Sessions

Dr. Laurie Heinz, Superintendent, Chief School Business Official Diana McCluskey, and James Kaplanes, Director of Facilities and Operations, presented a preview of the Moving 15 Forward Community Information Sessions presentation.

The team provided an update regarding the Moving 15 Forward plan. Highlighted within the plan is the addition of full-day kindergarten, a focus on students attending neighborhood or near neighborhood schools, transition from a junior high structure to a middle school model, updated learning spaces and libraries, repair and restore facilities, as well as a streamlined feeder pattern for students as they move from elementary to middle school to high school. Facility repair and improvement are also a high priority of the plan.

To view the preview of the Moving 15 Forward presentation click here.

COVID Mitigation Plan

Superintendent Heinz and members of her administrative cabinet presented updated plans related to COVID-19 mitigation following the Friday, February 18 virtual Board meeting.

The District is maintaining the following mitigations:

  • Promoting hand hygiene;

  • Continuing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols;

  • Requiring masking on transportation as required per the federal CDC guidelines;

  • Continuing SHIELD testing for those that chose to opt-in; and

  • Isolating positive cases for 5 days at home with masking for an additional 5 days upon return to school. Isolation will be 10 days if the positive individual does not want to wear a mask for days 6-10.

The District has modified the following mitigations:

  • Recommended, but not required masking;

  • Maintaining social distancing to the greatest extent possible;

  • Requiring all students to stay home until they are free of symptoms (fever, vomit, and/or diarrhea) for 24 hours without medication (per the student handbook);

  • Sharing vaccination information on the District’s website;

  • Continuing with the use bell covers for instruments; specialized masks are recommended, but not required during rehearsal; and

  • Choir and general music students will be “singing outward” vs. facing each other while maintaining the greatest amount of social distancing possible.

The Board of Education made decisions on the following mitigations:

  • Contact tracing: The District will remove contact tracing as a mitigation effort due to the inability to properly contact trace with individuals in a mixed mask environment. Removing contract tracing also removes individuals being excluded from school based on close contacts.

    Moving forward, a letter will be sent to a classroom if there is a positive case in the class. This practice is similar to what the District does if there are other serious illnesses in a classroom. We will continue to provide a similar notice if there is a positive case on a bus. Staff will receive an email at the end of each day indicating how many student and staff cases the building had that day.

  • Test To Stay: With the removal of contact tracing, there is no longer a need for the Test To Stay protocol to be used.

  • Vaccination for Staff: The District has removed the weekly testing requirements for unvaccinated staff.

Additional information:

  • District 15 continues to ask individuals to stay home when they are sick or symptomatic. Per the student handbook (pg. 49-50), students need to stay home until they are free of symptoms (fever, vomit, and/or diarrhea) for 24 hours without medication.

    Please keep in mind that these could be COVID symptoms and we strongly recommend you consider getting a PCR test before returning to school. COVID-19 symptoms include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea as identified by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to receive concurrent learning while they are out of school. Students who are home with symptoms, awaiting a test, or home with any other illness will not receive concurrent learning.

  • Information about local vaccination opportunities will continue to be available on our website for those interested.

  • Families of students with IEPs or 504s should contact their Assistant Principal (504) or Special Education Coordinator (IEP) if they have any questions or concerns.

To view the COVID mitigation plan, click here.

Action Items

  • 5.1 Approval of Board Policy 4:180 and 7:190 - approved