News from CCSD15 Board of Education

February 11, 2022

Dear District 15 Staff and Community,

Virtual Board Meeting

As you know, we rescheduled the February 9 Board of Education meeting to a virtual setting on Friday, February 11, 2022. As we do with each Board meeting, the meeting was live-streamed to the District’s YouTube channel. You can view the Board meeting here.

To open the meeting, President Lisa Szczupaj read remarks sharing the reasons for moving the meeting to a virtual setting. President Szczupaj also shared the work that had been done by the Board and administration leading up to the meeting. Szczupaj asked for the time for our team to work together to determine what an “off-ramp” to our COVID strategies could include taking into consideration the social and emotional impacts, and also ensuring we are leading with education, understanding, and empathy toward one another. She reminded everyone that the Board has its authority and that their work is non-partisan.

Overview of Sangamon County Case

Attorneys from Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLC, Michelle Todd and Pam Simaga, provided a brief overview of the Sangamon County case and temporary restraining order issued on February 4. They provided background information on the case to ensure our Board had the same working understanding of the temporary ruling’s impact on named districts as well as non-named districts. It is important to be aware that District 15 is not named in this suit.

Counsel shared that the Board has a legal basis to continue to follow the state mandates when it comes to required masking, exclusion due to close contacts, and vaccination/testing mandates for staff.

COVID Mitigations

Dr. Heinz provided the Board with a brief recap as to how District 15 has navigated the pandemic over the last two years. Assistant Superintendent Ann Scully and Chief Communication Officer Rebecca Latham presented an overview of COVID mitigations as well as considerations if there are changes to mitigation.

Dr. Heinz then presented possible options for the Board to consider moving forward. Options included:

  1. Maintain current mask required guidance and safety mitigation measures;

  2. Align practices with CDC guidelines and go to mask recommended but not required and leave additional mitigations in place; or

  3. Align practices with CDC guidelines and go to mask recommended but not required and remove additional mitigations in place.

Public Comment

A special digital Public Comment form was generated for members of the community who wished to share their opinions with the Board. The Board received 117 public comments, of which 105 were read-aloud for roughly 2.5 hours. All public comments submitted prior to the meeting have been posted in BoardDocs.

After Board discussion, the administration was directed to develop a draft roadmap to safely move to a Mask Recommended, but not Required teaching and learning environment. The administration is working on a plan this week and it will be presented to the Board of Education at its upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, February 22 at 6:00 pm.

We will communicate with families again following the February 22 meeting to ensure everyone is informed as to how we will proceed.

Action Items

  • 9.1 Approval of Personnel Report: Administration, Certified, and Non-Certified - approved
  • 9.2 Adoption of FY22 Amended Budget - approved
  • 9.3 Nonpublic Facility Contract-Alexander Graham Bell Mont. INT (1 student) - approved
  • 9.4 Nonpublic Facility Placement Contract - Jeanine Schultz School (1 student) - approved
  • 9.5 Nonpublic Facility Contract-Menta Midway Intensive (1 student) - approved

February 22 Committee of the Whole

The Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, February 22, will begin with Diana McCluskey, CSBO, and Elizabeth Hennessy, Managing Director with Raymond James, sharing the updated 5-year forecast and funding plan as well as the FY22 amended budget. The Board will also hear the updated Moving 15 Forward presentation which Dr. Heinz will share at the upcoming community information sessions.

Community Information Session dates have been postponed and will be shared with the community once they are updated.