PARENT 411 on 115 - 2.7.23
February 7, 2023
Dear Lake Forest District 67 and 115 School Community,
As we approach the 100th day of school this month, we have been hard at work creating a strategic plan, offering academic resources and supports to students, increasing opportunities for student athletic and extracurricular engagement, and assessing facility needs.
Our historic, 88-year-old high school is in need of fundamental improvements to the basic, aging infrastructure elements like plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, windows, and roofing.
By placing a $105.7 million referendum on the April 4, 2023 ballot, District 115 seeks to preserve and protect our historic high school by addressing the building’s most pressing capital facility needs.
We understand that our community wants to learn more about the referendum and so I invite you to join us tomorrow, February 8th, at 7:00pm for building tours followed by a LET’S TALK: D115 Referendum community educational event. A panel including Dr. Erin Lenart, the District’s architect of record, the Director of Facilities, and the District 115 Board of Education President will be discussing the financial implications, anticipated benefits, uses of the funds, and answering questions in the Little Theater, located at LFHS East Campus 1285 N. McKinley Rd.
I also had the pleasure of presenting to the Lake Forest City Council at their February 6 meeting during the Community Spotlight. I am grateful to Mayor Pandaleon and City Council for the kind invitation. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about the important work underway in our District and discuss the facility needs at Lake Forest High School. You can watch my presentation and Q&A with members of City Council below.
In addition, I’d like to share some of the most frequently asked questions that we have received about the referendum:
What is the total cost of the proposed improvements and how would the funds be allocated?
The District anticipates borrowing $105.7 million through a bond issue, with approximately half of the funds going towards infrastructure upgrades and the other half allocated to renovating science labs, classrooms, and other instructional spaces, technology upgrades, and enhanced student support services. The classrooms that would be updated were not addressed by the 2006 Referendum.
Did the District consider other proposals?
Yes. A larger proposal, totaling approximately $160 million, was considered. However, public opinion research indicated limited support for this size referendum. The Board of Education was able to reduce the request to $105.7 million by eliminating athletic-related upgrades, expansion of the cafeteria, additional improvements to the auditorium, and the addition of classrooms on the third floor.
When was the last time voters approved funding for building improvements?
It’s been 17 years since the District sought voter approval for capital improvement projects at Lake Forest High School. The improvements that would be addressed by the 2023 Referendum were not part of the previous referendum.
What is the estimated tax impact of the proposed referendum?
The estimated tax impact of the proposed 20-year, $105.7 million bond issue on a home with a fair market value of $1,000,000 is about $950 per year, or, roughly $79 per month.
Why is the District’s per-pupil funding higher than many of its peer districts if the District’s tax rate is lower than these other districts?
Our spending per pupil is higher because our school is smaller than several of our peers. The funds are distributed among a smaller number of students. We offer a greater variety of course options, giving our students more choices and a more customized learning experience.
- Some taxpayers argue that the District is top heavy. Is the number of administrators in the District growing?
- No. In fact, the District currently has the lowest amount of full-time administrators that it has had in the last five years, contributing to our balanced budget. The state of Illinois does not define how districts should classify and report on administrative positions. To be as transparent as possible, LFHS classifies Instructional Directors (department heads) as administrators, while other Districts classify them as teachers.
- How do you explain the Illinois State Report card data showing LFHS ELA SAT scores average at 61%?
- We are not satisfied with our results but they are also misunderstood by some. The 2022 Illinois State Report card offers data on the percentage of 11th graders scoring at each of the performance levels for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. In the state of Illinois, the average percentage of ELA exam scores meeting the state standard for “college readiness” is 30%. District 115’s percentage is 61%, placing LFHS in the 99th percentile, ranking 6th among all non-selective enrollment public school districts in Illinois. For Math, LFHS is in the 99th percentile, ranking 3rd among all public school districts in Illinois.
Would any of the funding from the 2023 Referendum go toward operations?
No. Proceeds of the referendum would be used specifically for capital improvements.
Would any of the bond proceeds be used for salaries or improving administrative spaces?
When will the existing bond issue from the 2006 Referendum be paid off and how much will the tax rate go down when they are paid off?
- The last payment on the District’s outstanding 2006 bond issue will be paid off in 2025. In 2026, the tax rate for a $1,000,000 home will go down by $410.
You can find more Frequently Asked Questions and additional information about the D115 referendum on our website here:
LET'S TALK | D115 Referendum
Wednesday, February 8 at 7:00PM
Building Tour at 6:00PM
Lake Forest High School - East Campus
1285 McKinley Rd., Lake Forest
Please park in the west staff parking lot by the RMA.
A staff member will be available at the RMA entrance to assist with directions to the Little Theatre.
The District 115 Board of Education is pursuing a $105.7M referendum on the April 4, 2023 Lake County election ballot. The historic, 88-year-old high school—one of our community’s most important public assets—is in need of fundamental improvements to the basic, aging infrastructure elements like plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, windows, and roofing.
Attendance Reminder From the Dean's Office
There has been a renewed commitment by the high school to enforce attendance policies. While there has been improvement from last year, we still have a long way to go!
One way you can help! If your student is going to be absent for a full day, come late, or leave early, PLEASE call or email the school (firstname.lastname@example.org) the DAY of the absence! This will avoid your student receiving a pink slip stating that they have an undetermined absence.
For more information regarding attendance policies, please refer to the Dr. Lenart's January 27, 2023 FanScout.
LFHS Talent Show
LFHS Foundation Spring Luncheon
We are excited to share that Dr. Matthew Dewar, one of our own LFHS teachers, will be our guest speaker at this year’s Spring Luncheon. We encourage you to mark your calendar and plan to join us at Knollwood Club on Friday, April 28, 2023.
We are in the process of expanding our event committee, seeking event sponsors, and soliciting items for the online auction. If you are interested in joining the event team, sponsoring the event, or contributing to the auction please reach out.
Event Chair: Heather Minger email@example.com
Sponsorship Rep: Jodi Cofer firstname.lastname@example.org and
Auction Rep: Liz Olsen email@example.com
This will be the first time in three years that our wonderful high school will be able to host prom at a traditional venue. Our LFHS Junior Class students and the APT are excitedly planning our event, which will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. The theme of this year's Prom is "Dancing in the Moonlight," inspired by the Vincent Van Gogh painting, “Starry Night.”
The LFHS Prom is completely self-sustaining and we rely solely on ticket sales - and your generosity - to fund this fabulous LFHS tradition.
Your donations will help fund a truly magical and unforgettable experience for our LFHS students and help us keep the prom ticket at last year’s price of $95 per person. With these goals in mind, we are looking to our generous community to help raise $35,000 to underwrite the costs associated with this event.
Donation levels are as follows:
Dream Team: $1500+
Memory Makers: $1000+
Light Up The Night: $500+
First Class: $250+
Scouts Honor: $50+
Any level of donation is greatly appreciated. Donors at the Memory Maker and Dream Team levels will be acknowledged on the Red Carpet.
Please use this link to make a donation by credit card. All donations are tax deductible.
If you have any questions or would like additional information about Prom 2023, please contact Ashleigh Malec, Student Activities Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your donations will help make “Starry Night” a fabulous prom for all. Thank you!
Project Safe Prom Co-Chairs
Join Us for the Next FAN Event
Sponsored by Family Action Network (FAN), in partnership with Lake Forest High School.
Zoom registration link: www.bit.ly/SARFANSponsor
Toni Boos, Psy.D. will moderate a discussion with Leslie Brankin, Psy.D. and Anna Finis, Psy.D. about school anxiety and refusal from childhood through young adulthood. This presentation will provide an overview of school anxiety and refusal and will help families gain an understanding of its various presentations, potential causes and functions of refusal behavior, and strategies for supporting youth and young adults in getting to school more consistently. They will also discuss how to best partner and collaborate with schools and community resources to create change.
Drs. Brankin, Finis, and Boos are all licensed clinical psychologists on staff at Compass Health Center (CHC). They will cover a range of topics, including 1) the relationship between anxiety and school refusal behavior; 2) the various functions of school refusal behavior; 3) the role of the family system as it relates to school anxiety and refusal, including an overview of family accommodation and how to set up plans and systems at home to improve school attendance; 4) ways families can partner with schools to support youth and young adults with school anxiety and refusal; and 5) when to seek out professional mental health support.
This event will be recorded and available later on the FAN website and our YouTube channel.
NOTE: FAN collects registration data to inform event planning.
Prom Dress Collection Drive
Prom Dress Collection Drive Now Underway at Mothers Trust Foundation and Zengeler Cleaners
Spring is just a few weeks away and for most area high schools, planning is already underway for prom season later this school year. Once again, that also means all Zengeler Cleaners stores are accepting lovingly worn donations for the annual 2023 prom dress collection drive, along with formal wear items such as shoes, purses, jewelry and other accessories. Read more about it here.