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Previous versions can be found on the Board Audio/ Highlights/Minutes page for 2011 and 2010

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...from the January 27, 2015 Board of Education Meeting


SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNICATION

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

Three FOIA requests were received:

  • One requesting union officials' compensation, which was granted.
  • One requesting copies of all copier and printer leases, which was granted.
  • One requesting invoices for legal services, which was granted.

PMA Projections

Gary Londquist presented the PMA Financial Network’s Planning Program update. Projections were run using updated assumptions, most notably for levy year 2015, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which came in at .8% in December, as opposed to the 1.6% used in the previous document.

Expenditure assumption changes include:

  • Adding 6.5 FTE, versus the 10.07 FTE previously projected
  • Adding 0 non-certified staff in 2015-16, versus the 2 projected
  • Using 1.5% as the CPI average for 2016-2020, versus the 1.8% formerly used

Operating deficits are projected for years 2016 through 2020. Going out to 2020 the operating deficit is $1.134M. The numbers are lower than projected in December and the downward slope of the line shows a gentle decline - no surprises or significant changes.

Deficits for operating funds, as well as for all funds, are projected to be as follows:

FY16 - $1.8 million, for all funds:  $1.9 million
FY17 - $1.5 million, for all funds:  $2.3 million
FY18 - $2.4 million, for all funds:  $2.9 million
FY19 - $1.0 million, for all funds:  $375,000
FY20 - $2.1 million, for all funds:  $1.2 million

Chris Whelton, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, pointed out that these projections do not take into account a pension shift or the new Senate Bill 1 (formerly SB16, the School Funding Reform Act), since both are unknowns at this point.

“For nine years we have not asked the community to raise their tax bills any more than CPI (which has averaged 2.13% over the last ten years). Because the economy is recovering and new construction has been robust, we have - through prudent decision making - been able to add to our academic program and build our reserves,” said Board President Jim Collins.

Because Finance and Operations Committee Chairman Chris Blum could not attend the meeting, his comments were delivered by Mr. Collins. “This is still a preliminary budget which is intended to help us with staffing decisions. It also assumes that expenses will continue to be tied to CPI,” noted Mr. Blum, who recommended staying the course, neither cutting nor adding discretionary positions at this time.

He also made a recommendation to change the Board policy on the District’s fund balance from a minimum of 26% to a minimum of 28% of the budgeted expenditures for the Operating Funds (Educational, Operations and Maintenance, Transportation, IMRF, and Working Cash) on July 1, which marks the beginning of the fiscal year.

“The goal is to avoid a negative balance at the lowest point of the fiscal year, which is toward the end of May. A 28% fund balance would prevent us from having to issue tax anticipation warrants, which amounts to short-term borrowing to pay our bills,” said Mr. Whelton.

“Elmhurst should never have to do that,” noted Emily Bastedo.

“Thankfully, we’re not in the same position we were in 2008 when CPI came in at .1% and led to millions in cuts in District 205,” noted Shannon Ebner. “That makes me very happy.”

John McDonough asked if the District is keeping its expenditures are in line with CPI. Mr. Whelton replied that there are some expenses beyond the District’s control, such as utilities, health care costs and out-of-district fees.

Erin’s Law Curriculum Resource

Superintendent Dave Pruneau stated that there was a parent information meeting regarding Erin’s Law on Monday, January 26; approximately 60 parents of elementary students and 20 parents of middle schoolers attended. “Feedback was very positive. Parents were appreciative that the District provided this opportunity,” he reported.

Dr. Michelle Fitzgerald, Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching, explained that the book My Body is Special and Belongs to Me! will be used to deliver the curriculum in kindergarten. First through fifth graders will receive a presentation from Imagination Theatre; sixth through eighth grade will receive a higher-level presentation from Imagination Theatre; and high school students will receive this instruction via assemblies. “These sessions will be interactive and involve role playing,” she said.

Curriculum materials will be on display for 30 days (see consent agenda item below). Parents can opt their children out of the presentation and principals will organize an alternative environment. The opt-out form is posted on the District webpage.

Mr. McDonough stated that the materials are impressive and thanked Dr. Fitzgerald for doing a good job tailoring this information for District 205 students.

Mr. Pruneau said that the counseling which will be provided as a follow-up is very important for students who have questions or need further support.

BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS

Learning and Teaching Committee

The Learning and Teaching Committee met on January 7, 2015. Minutes may be accessed by clicking here. Topics discussed included:

  • Summer School
  • ELL Update
  • Support Classes for 8th grade REACH math students

Dr. Margaret Harrell was the note taker for this meeting. She reported that Bill Riddle will once again serve as the Summer School supervisor. Summer School will begin on June 8 and end on July 16, 2015. There will be two sessions: June 8 through June 25 and June 29 through July 16, running Monday through Thursday each week with no classes on Fridays. There will not be any interruption due to the Fourth of July holiday since July 4 falls on a Saturday this year. These dates are firm and will not be changed due to further school closings for inclement weather.

The majority of the meeting centered on an English Language Learners (ELL) update given by Ariana Leonard. She will present this to the full Board in the near future. Myth versus realities about the ELL community; the type of grants available; recognition of teachers and staff; information about changes in related District KPIs; and information about the Bilingual Parent Advisory Council.

There are 55 languages spoken within our community, the most common of which are Spanish, Polish, two Indian dialects and Tagalog (a dialect of the Philippines). Social and economic diversity also exists among this group of students. The discussion also covered the ELL audit; the focus on student growth; and the Seal of Biliteracy, an award of recognition for students who have studied and are proficient in two or more languages by high school graduation.

Dr. Harrell reported that there has been a logistical change in support for 8th grade REACH math students. The face-to-face support is going well, while the online support has been sparsely attended and thus will end.

Finance and Operations Committee

The Finance and Operations Committee met on January 20, 2015. Minutes may be accessed by clicking here. Topics discussed included:

  • Presentation by Patrick Kneib of School Bus Consultants
  • Facility Rentals
  • December Monthly Financial Report
  • Updates

Karen Stuefen reported on behalf of Chairman Chris Blum. The transportation contract is up at the end of this school year, so District 205 is looking at options and will be issuing an RFP that will come to the full Board.

Fees will increased 1.5%, which is consistent with the former rate of CPI. To try and avoid a pileup of the online process for reserving facilities, the District plans to call a meeting of its partner groups the week of July 13-17, 2015 to try and work out scheduling conflicts. This will be a new approach.

Budget at a Glance was updated and contains even more useful information than in previous years. Mrs. Stuefen stated that this resource will be even more effective in assisting the community with understanding education funding and the budget planning process.

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - CONSENT

The Board voted 6-0 to approve the following consent agenda items:

  • Personnel Report
  • Financial Reports
  • Display of New Instructional Materials
  • Revised Policy #7:190 - Student Discipline (Second Reading and Adoption)

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - ACTION ITEMS

The Board voted 6-0 to approve the following consent agenda items, each by separate vote:

  • Donation to Hawthorne Elementary School - Hawthorne PTA offered to donate 25 full size laptops and two shelving/storage units, not to exceed $22,500
  • Donation to Edison Elementary School - Edison PTA offered to donate $959.60 toward 40 atomic wall clocks, keeping everyone on the same time and maximizing instructional time

The Board thanked the PTAs for these gifts to the District.

BOARD COMMUNICATIONS

Karen Stuefen updated the Board on the Feb. 23 PTA Legislative Forum at Bryan Middle School. She commended the PTA Council for working so collaboratively to create this forum. Entitled “The Cost of Free Public Education…Under the New Reality” the Forum will be held on Monday, February 23, from 7 to 9 PM at Bryan Middle School, 111 W. Butterfield Road. This event is free and open to the public. To access the flyer, please click here.

John McDonough reported that in order to move the storm water plan forward, the District has agreed to work on an intergovernmental agreement (the City will pay related attorney fees), while the concept and plan review process is taking place. The City would like the Board to lay out some specifications related to the Madison School site. “We will need an engineering firm to guide us,” he said.

“The Park District has done some engineering work that overlaps with the Madison property,” said Mrs. Ebner. “Some of the solutions they have developed will affect the Madison project. We need to work collaboratively with them to be efficient.”

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

February 2 – Learning & Teaching Committee – 7:00 PM – District 205 Center
February 3 – York Jazz Ensemble Concert – 7:30 PM – York Commons

February 5 – Special Meeting of the Board of Education – 6:30 PM – D205 Center
February 5-8 – York Winter Drama Festival: Dog Fight – Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 PM and Sunday, February 8, 2 PM – York’s Baker Auditorium
February 10 – District 205 Middle School Orchestra Festival – 7:30 PM – Bryan Middle School
February 10 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
February 12 – Bryan Middle School Variety Show, Expressions – 7:00 PM – Bryan Auditorium
February 12 – York Winter Choral Concert – 7:30 PM – York’s Baker Auditorium
February 16 – Presidents’ Day Holiday – No School
February 19 – York Winter Orchestra Concert –7:30 PM - York’s Baker Auditorium
February 23 – PTA Council Legislative Forum – 7:00 PM – Bryan MS Auditorium
February 24 – District 205 Middle School Choral Festival – 7:30 PM – York’s Campbell Gym
February 25 – Finance and Operations Committee meeting – 6:30 PM – District 205 Center
February 26 – York Winter Band Concert – 7:30 PM – York’s Baker Auditorium
February 27 – Institute Day – No School for Students
February 27-28 – Sandburg Drama – Cinderella Junior, by Rogers and Hammerstein – Friday at 7:00 PM and Saturday at 10:00 AM and 3:30 PM – Sandburg Middle School Auditorium

NOTE: Video footage of all Board of Education regular meetings are posted on 205TV within 48 hours. Audio is posted within 24 hours at http://www.elmhurst205.org/Audio (please click on appropriate meeting date).