Wilmette Public Schools D. 39, Regular Board Meeting and Public Hearings on Budgets and Interfund Transfers, August 27, 2018
Note: This Report covers three meetings of the BoE that happened consecutively
Present: Board President Mark Steen; Vice President Frank Panzica; Ellen Sternweiler, Alice Schaff, Tracy Kearney, Lisa Schneider-Fabes, Jonathan Cesaretti. Staff: Superintendent Ray Lechner; Asst. Superintendent Heather Glowacki; Interim Business Manager Ellen Crispino; Administrator for Curriculum & Instruction Katie Lee; Interim Administrator for Students and Special Services Ramona DeCristofaro; Recording Secretary Nancy Potisuk.
Significant Public Comment: No public comment during Public Hearings on Budgets and Interfund Transfers. At regular meeting, two commenters applauded decision to pause new HMS grading system (see below) and encouraged district to work with parents and look to evidence-based research before implementing any new grading system.
Significant Information Items:
Finance Committee Report (Panzica): Met as Committee of Whole. Much discussion on last year’s expenditures and this year’s budgets. In ongoing effort to review expenditures and budgets, hiring an outside firm to evaluate district expenses; at next committee meeting administration will bring list of firms and cost estimates. Also at next committee meeting will do a deeper dive into appropriate reserve levels. Next committee meeting is September 17.
Facility Development Committee Report (Schaff): Three topics at latest meeting: 1) Summer 2018 HMS construction (under-budget and on schedule); 2) Kindergarten Enrichment (phase 1 planning work continuing with construction to begin summer or fall 2019 at Harper and Central for 2020-21 opening); 3) HMS phase 2 construction for next summer, including learning commons and redesign of special education classrooms--looked at initial cost estimates, more work underway on refining plans and budget. Next committee meeting is September 17.
Strategy Committee (Schaff): Met as a part of Committee of the Whole, discussed 2018-19 proposed strategic plan, which will be fine-tuned and presented at September BoE meeting. Per Dr. Lechner, this plan will have embedded in it recommendations from the CRC (see below). Next committee meeting in January 2019.
Superintendent Response to Community Review Committee (CRC) Report (Lechner). The CRC is composed of district parents, community members, teachers and administrators. Each spring the CRC generates a report to the BoE on a topic of community interest resulting in strategic recommendations supported by research, and in August the Superintendent presents a formal response. This past spring’s CRC Report was on “Differentiation and Personalized Learning.” A Differentiated Instruction initiative has been added to the strategic plan to be presented at September’s BoE meeting as a result of the CRC’s report and CRC recommendations will be embedded in the plan under “Differentiated Education and Personalized Learning” as appropriate (note: Personalized Learning had already been a continuing initiative of the district). The Superintendent’s strategic recommendations regarding this topic largely focus on professional development, resources, collaboration, and communication. To see the response: http://www.wilmette39.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_360846/File/Board%20of%20Ed/PublicPacket/2018-08-27/VI-C-Response%20to%20the%20CRC%20Report.pdf.
HMS Grading System (Lechner): Dr. Lechner acknowledged much written communication opposing new HMS grading system, and announced a pause in implementation of that grading system (Meets, Progressing or Experiencing Difficulty instead of traditional A-F) to better involve parents and students in process, acknowledging that district did not previously engage all stakeholders when planned for that system to take effect this year.
Enrollment Update (Glowacki): Slight decline in enrollment and teachers across district. See: http://www.wilmette39.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_360846/File/Board%20of%20Ed/PublicPacket/2018-08-27/VI-D-1-Enrollment_Update.pdf.
FY2018 Administrator and Teacher Salary and Benefits Report (Lechner). Annual report: http://www.wilmette39.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_360846/File/Board%20of%20Ed/PublicPacket/2018-08-27/VI-D-3-ATSB%20Report.pdf.
School Security Update (Tony DeMonte). Report with plan for phased improvements developed after examination of school security with police and fire departments and receiving input from parents and staff. See report: http://www.wilmette39.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_360846/File/Board%20of%20Ed/PublicPacket/2018-08-27/VI-D-5-School%20Security%20Update%20Final%202018-08-27.pdf.
District 39 FY2019 Annual Budget (Crispino). Board approved tentative budget in May. Since then, some revenue/expense projections changed, resulting in budget for approval tonight (was published in August). Budget calls for $3.2M deficit in all funds, due mostly to one-time capital projects, which will come out of reserves. Projecting $36.2M balance in operating fund reserves at end of FY2019, which represents 55.7% of operating fund expenditures. To view: http://www.wilmette39.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_360846/File/Board%20of%20Ed/PublicPacket/2018-08-27/VIII-B-1-D39%20FY19%20Final%20Budget%20Action.pdf. Approved unanimously.
Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA) FY2019 Annual Budget (Crispino). Revenue (special education funds from state) and expenses both at $1.2M. To view: http://www.wilmette39.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_360846/File/Board%20of%20Ed/PublicPacket/2018-08-27/VIII-B-2-FY19-WCSEA%20Annual%20Budget.pdf. Approved unanimously.
Permanent Interfund Transfer of $750k from Education Fund to Operations and Maintenance Fund (Lechner). For construction projects. To view: http://www.wilmette39.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_360846/File/Board%20of%20Ed/PublicPacket/2018-08-27/VIII-C-Permanent%20Interfund%20Transfer%20180827.pdf. Approved unanimously.
Consent Agenda--Personnel Report; Annual Review of Serious Safety Hazard Findings; Support Staff Union Letters of Agreement (eliminating fair share fees in line with Janus SCOTUS decision and allowing for stipend to those volunteering to accompany students to after-school activities); First Reading of BoE Policies re: accelerated placement and school administration; Bills for Payment. See Consent Agenda at: http://www.wilmette39.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_360846/File/Board%20of%20Ed/PublicPacket/2018-08-27.html. Nothing pulled, approved unanimously.
Observer: Mary Lawlor Length of all 3 Meetings: 1 hr. 10 minutes
Next Board Meeting: September 24, 2018