News from CCSD15 Board of Education

November 10, 2021

School Spotlight - Thomas Jefferson School

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by a group of students from Thomas Jefferson School who were chosen for the exceptional way in which they honored our veterans. In addition, they were joined by Carl Risberg, a former member of Army Intelligence who served during the Vietnam War. Mr. Risberg is the father of one of TJ's long-term substitute teachers.

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School Board Member Day on November 15

Sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), School Board Member Day is being celebrated across Illinois on November 15. We honored our Board of Education for championing quality education through this year’s theme of Inspiration and Leadership.

District 15 would like to thank our current Board members for their leadership, collaboration, and steadfast commitment to placing the needs of our staff and students first. As a Board, they have helped guide the District through an unprecedented health crisis during which the District was required to make tough decisions to ensure staff and student safety while honoring the importance of in-person learning.

Thank you to our Board of Education (not pictured Jim Taylor and Zubair Khan).

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Winston Campus Cross Country

In the first year District 15 has participated in the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA), Winston Campus Junior High boys’ cross country team finished in 13th place out of 27 teams at the State competition. In addition, Alex K. placed 3rd place out of 234 runners in the 2-mile course, making him the 1st All State (Top 25) in school history!

The Board of Education recognized Winston’s team for their hard work and amazing accomplishments. We look forward to seeing what next year has in store for them.

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COVID-19 Update

In partnership with the Cook County Department of Public Health, the District moved Willow Bend School to an adaptive pause with students learning remotely for two weeks.

The District is working with Jewel-Osco to set up an optional vaccination clinic for 5-11 year olds on Monday, November 22 with the clinic for the second shot on Monday, December 13. The District will be sending information for this optional first vaccination clinic to families soon.

Tentative 2021 Tax Levy

Diana McCluskey, Chief School Business Officer, presented the tentative 2021 tax levy. The final levy is scheduled for adoption at the Board meeting on December 8, 2021.

The levy is “the ask” by the school district to the Cook County Clerk’s Office to extend property taxes for 2021.The District is subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) which limits the increase in the tax. In addition to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase, the final extension will include new properties that come on the tax roll for the first time. New Property includes finished construction and tax increment financing districts that have expired and both are taxed at the full rate.

Due to the value of the new construction and TIF valuations being unknown when the tax levy is filed, the District runs the risk of under-levying, or “leaving money on the table.” In order to avoid this, the tentative levy presented at the Board meeting is 4.9% greater than the 2020 extension, and just under the 5%, which is a Truth-In-Taxation requirement. Under levying has a compounding effect because the previous year’s tax extension is the base for the current year’s calculation. Once lost, previous tax dollars can not be recouped. It is the District’s fiscal responsibility to recommend a levy at a high enough rate to ensure that all funds are legally permissible. The tentative levy presented tonight is $139,929,657.

View the tentative 2021 tax levy presentation here.

Update: Property Purchase of Technology Services Department

The proposed purchase of the 310 W. Colfax building has been terminated due to its unsafe conditions as identified during the final walk through on October 7. District personnel noted a bowed wall and engaged Arcon Architects to investigate the condition of the building. The team included a roofing expert and a structural engineer. After surveying the wall and the roof, it was determined that both were in need of extensive repair. In its current state, the building is unsafe and will be costly to fix. In light of this, the District instructed their attorney at Hodges Loizzi to terminate the contract.

Another building is available at 530 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine. This building was built in 2009 and is in foreclosure. The District has visited the building with the same team from Arcon and the structure appears to be in good condition. The space is very suitable for the Technology Services department and would provide storage space for Technology and possibly Operations and Maintenance. The District is still evaluating the purchase and will update the Board in December.

DRAFT 2023-24 School Calendar

Lisa Nuss, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, presented a draft of the 2023-2024 Official School Calendar. This draft calendar is recommended by both the administration and the Classroom Teachers' Council (CTC). The District does its best to align its calendar with the proposed calendars of both High School Districts 211 and 214.

View the draft 2023-24 school calendar here.

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Mental Health Screening and Awareness Process in District 15

Dr. Swanlund presented information about the comprehensive mental health program provided to all junior high students. Erika’s Lighthouse helps students understand everyday feelings as well as overwhelming emotions that impact them both at home and at school. This program outlines different lessons customized for each grade level to help students learn to identify and manage their emotions. Erika’s Lighthouse is currently being implemented at our junior high schools and will be implemented in grades 4-6 beginning in February 2022.

View the mental health screening and awareness process here.

Committee Reports

Education Research Development (ED-RED)

Board Member Frank Annerino shared that the Illinois legislature held a veto session and signed a number of new pieces of legislation into law.

One-five Foundation Committee

Board Member James Taylor was not present but shared an update via email. The Foundation received 13 teacher Mini-Grants requests. A Mini-Grant Fund-A-Thon will be launched prior to Thanksgiving to help support the cost of the grants.

Finance Committee

Board Members Wenda Hunt and Anthony Wang shared that they met on November 4 to review the tax levy presentation and to discuss the purchase of a different technology building.

Equity Committee

Board members Samantha Ader shared that she and Zubair Khan, Board Equity Chairs, met to discuss possible next steps for the Equity Committee to consider this year. She has asked for a meeting to be scheduled with the larger group.

IASB Resolutions

Dr. Heinz stepped in for Mr. Khan to review the proposed Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB)’s 2021 Resolutions. Mr. Khan will cast District 15 votes at the upcoming conference. Mr. Khan will cast District 15 votes at the upcoming conference.

Action Items

  • 9.1 Approval of Change in Title from Multilingual Coordinator to Multilingual Assistant Director and Associated Compensation Adjustment - approved
  • 9.2 .5 Special Education FTE Increase - approved
  • 9.3 Approval of Personnel Report: Administration, Certified, and Non-Certified - approved
  • 9.4 Approval of Attendance Incentive for Bus Drivers - approved
  • 9.5 Proposed 2023-2024 Official School Calendar - approved
  • 9.6 Resolution Estimating the Aggregate Levy for the Tax Year 2021 - approved