News from CCSD15 Board of Education
November 15, 2019
Feasibility Study and Master Facility Planning presented to board
STR Partners presented its findings for converting Thomas Jefferson Elementary School into a junior high or middle school, to align with the BTF proposals. The feasibility study showed conversion of the school is possible with several modifications to the existing school site.
Also presented at the Nov. 13 meeting was an updated building capacity study from STR Partners. STR's report shows impact on capacity per building through four scenarios, which include adjustments to feeder patterns, programming and the addition of full-day kindergarten.
The Board will continue its discussion of school boundaries and programming during a future meeting.
Secure vestibules construction to be completed in 2020
The Board of Education's commitment to safer schools will continue this summer, when secure vestibules will be added to six District 15 buildings: Lincoln, Central Road, Frank C. Whiteley, Walter R. Sundling, Stuart R. Paddock and Marion Jordan.
Construction of secure vestibules was completed at five schools in the summer of 2019. The remaining eight schools had secure vestibules already in place.
A secure vestibule modifies the front entrance of a school to ensure visitors pass through the main office before gaining access to the rest of the school building.
The Board of Education will continue to discuss an expanded scope of main office construction proposed for several schools at its January meeting after bid results are received.
Strategic plan refresh update
Board approves new administrative hires
Ann Scully will join District 15 as the next Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, replacing Susan Gehring, who retires June 30. Ms. Scully comes to District 15 from Antioch District 34, where she is currently the Director of Student Services.
District receives recognition status for annual audit
Miller Cooper accounting firm completed its annual audit for District 15 for the year ending June 30, 2019.
District 15 received an “unqualified” audit opinion from Miller Cooper, which is the highest opinion an auditor can grant. Such an opinion states that the auditor feels the district followed generally accepted accounting principles appropriately and that the financial reports are an accurate representation of the District's financial condition.
The Annual Financial Report calculates an estimated Financial Profile Designation for the District. The Illinois State Board of Education calculates the final score. The estimated profile designation score is 3.90 on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0, qualifying the district for recognition status. This is the third year in a row the district has achieved this score.
Tax levy proposal discussion begins
At its Nov. 13 meeting, the Board of Education heard a presentation about the tentative tax levy, which determines how much taxpayer money the district will request in the fiscal year. Property taxes amount to 77-percent of District 15’s annual operating expenses.
The Board of Education will be considering a levy of $131,424,565, a 4.5% increase over the 2018 extension. This is sufficient to capture the five year average of new growth and the 1.9% CPI increase.
It is common practice for a school district to levy an amount in excess of what the District actually anticipates for only two reasons: To maintain the maximum tax rates the district is entitled and to capture the tax receipts on all new property (EAV).
The Board will vote to adopt the final aggregate tax levy at the December 2019 Board Meeting.
Administrative cost limitation waived by Board
Districts with per pupil expenditures in the 25th percentile and below are allowed to waive the state's 5-percent limitation following a public hearing and at least a two-thirds vote of the Board of Education. District 15 ranks 345 out of 368 elementary school districts, putting us in the lowest 25th percentile and eligible for the waiver.
The budgeted administrative costs for fiscal year 2020 are 33 percent higher than in fiscal year 2019, primarily due to six new special education positions and a new Spanish Dual Language coordinator role.
Those Who Excel winners honored by Board
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recognized each of District 15’s seven nominees with awards in its prestigious “Those Who Excel” awards program this year. The award honors outstanding teachers, administrators, student support personnel and volunteers for their exceptional contributions to schools across Illinois.
The District 15 award recipients were recognized by the Board of Education at the Nov. 13 meeting.
Ivy Fleming, Joseph M. Kiszka Educational Service Center, Award of Recognition in the Educational Service Personnel category.
Susan Gehring, Joseph M. Kiszka Educational Service Center, Award of Recognition in the School Administrator category.
Karen Hanisch, Carl Sandburg Junior High School teacher, Award of Merit in the Classroom Teacher category.
Michelle Heberling, Stuart R. Paddock Elementary School volunteer, Award of Merit in the Community Volunteer category.
Nicole Perso, John G. Conyers Learning Academy social worker, Award of Recognition in the Student Support Personnel category.
Eleanor Tixier, Carl Sandburg Junior High teacher, Award of Recognition in the Early Career Educator category.
School Board Members Day is November 15
Sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Boards, School Board Members Day is being celebrated for the seventh year across Illinois on November 15. It has been proclaimed as a special opportunity set aside each year to thank the almost 6,000 board members serving in 863 school districts for providing local, grassroots governance.