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...from the January 26, 2016 Board of Education Meeting


REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS

PMA Projections

Dr. David Moyer explained the new approach to Finance Committee meetings. “They used to be every month. Now we are doing them as needed, so sometimes they may be every other month. We’re trying to make the first full Board meeting of the month for reports and presentations, so typically that is the meeting where committee reports will be given. Everything that was covered in the most recent Finance Committee meeting is agendized in one way or another tonight and the minutes are posted.”

Doreen Linderman, a senior analytics advisor with PMA Financial Network, presented the annual projections report outlining key assumptions using the new Forecast5 Analytics software. Projections in the updated model reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 2015 (.7%) and include the financial impact of the new teachers’ contract that was finalized this fall.

Another factor affecting projections is the change in the existing Equalized Assessed Value (EAV), which has been negative for the last several years. Ms. Linderman reported that a positive EAV reassessment is expected this year, although the taxes the District receives are still limited by CPI. New EAV growth (new construction) is estimated at $35 million for 2015 and $36 million for 2016.

Looking at the 2016 revenue sources in aggregate, property taxes comprise 84.2% of the budget; other local sources are 6.2%; General State Aid (GSA) is 2.8%; other state funds comprise 3.7% and federal monies account for 3.1%. GSA was reduced to 89% in FY 13 and FY14 (from 95% in FY12) and was 87% in FY15. This year, the State has approved 92% funding for entitlement; going forward the assumption is for only 85%.

On the FY16 expenditure side, salaries and benefits will account for 78.8% of the total; 12.5% is purchased services; 5% is supplies and materials; capital outlay is .4% and other objects and expenses comprise 3.3%.

FTE (Full Time Equivalent) certified staff currently number 660.1, which should grow to 665.5 in 2020 due to enrollment increases over the next few years. Chris Whelton, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, noted that the District added FTE over the last few years to meet growing student needs, but has now achieved compliance and does not foresee the need for the assumptions to include significant additions of staff through 2021. Student enrollment district-wide is projected to increase slowly over the next four years and then drop off slightly in 2021.

Key expenditure assumptions are as follows:

Salaries

  • Current contract through FY18
  • Future years subject to negotiations
  • Projected increases tied to CPI

Benefits

  • Health benefits increased 7% per year

Other expenditures

  • Expenditures increased between 0%­-2% with the exception of:
    • Special Education Tuition Costs increased 5% per year
    • Operations & Maintenance Purchased Services increased 4% per year
    • Projected Facility & Maintenance project per the District plan
    • Projected Technology expenditures per the District plan

The change in this five-year projection report, in comparison to what was presented last year, is positive. However, these baseline projections do not including the three looming uncertainties regarding a pension cost shift for the Teachers Retirement System, a property tax freeze or implementation of school funding reform.

According to Ms. Linderman, the latest proposal out of Springfield shows a loss of $568,000 for Elmhurst District 205 with a reallocation of Special Education funding into General State Aid. A property tax freeze would reduce the 2016 levy by about $700,000 with an additional $1.2 million in the 2017 levy totaling $1.9 million per year coming off of our revenues. Pension reform and the formula for a cost shift is as yet unknown but could be up to $4 million per year. Hopefully, the pension reform would be phased in over many years.


Revenues overall are increasing 2%; expenditures continue to grow at a faster pace than revenues. As a result, the District’s fund balance is projected to decrease by 8.75% over the next five years.

Chris Blum noted that in the capital fund, we spend about $1.5M per year, which is coming from a TIF distribution. “This is another critical assumption,” he noted. “This is just keeping the place running. We engage in this exercise at this time of the year in case we need to make staff cuts, to make sure we have time if that was necessary. This is very high level; as we go through the year some of the unknowns will become knowns. This a baseline and starts out very broad about how to allocate resources based on where we are today.”

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - CONSENT

With two members missing, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the following consent agenda items:

  • Personnel Report
  • Financial Reports
  • Purchase of Disk Back-up Equipment - Dell PowerVault direct attached storage unit for file backup at a price not to exceed $15,000

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - ACTION ITEMS

With two members missing, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the following consent agenda items, each by separate vote:

  • Extra Duty Position – York High School Math Lab Tutor
  • Administration of the ACT with Writing by District 205
  • Donation – Conrad Fischer - $1,200 from a Go Fund Me account
  • Donation – Lincoln – new school sign and water bottles, not to exceed a total of $7,000

Dr. Jim Woell, Assistant Superintendent for HR, explained the York Math Lab situation as follows:

“When the new ETC bargaining agreement was settled, there was a line item which delineated the Math Lab as a different rate of pay from tutoring. In reviewing this after the contract was signed, we discovered that the duties are akin to tutoring students individually, so felt it was appropriate to use section 8.1 of the contract – which gives the Board the right to add an additional duty or responsibility/ pay. The rate will be $38.66. Any further revision will be tackled by the Elmhurst Teachers Council’s Stipend Task Force.”


Jim Collins stated “I wanted to personally thank you, Jim, for working through this complicated solution. The York Math Lab goes back to the 1970s and is one of the reasons we can teach such a rigorous curriculum. I want to thank you for keeping it open after school, which is a very critical time for kids to learn.”

Earlier this year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) engaged in a bid process that resulted in a three-year contract with SAT as the new preferred college entrance exam taken by high school juniors, rather than the ACT, which has been in place for decades in Illinois. Like other suburban school districts, the D205 Board has held discussions regarding the implications of continuing to offer the ACT by funding the test itself.

As Charles Sprandel, Director of Research and Assessment for the District, reported at the January 12, 2016 Board of Education meeting, the most likely scenario is that the state will not fund either ACT or SAT for this year’s juniors. District 205 has been working to keep the option open to administer the ACT. Although the final deadline is in March, families need time to plan. Therefore, the D205 Administration recommended that the District fund the ACT for the Class of 2017 this year.

Superintendent Moyer noted that at the last Learning and Teaching Committee meeting, ISBE’s lack of financial support for the ACT was discussed, as were testing timelines, the $35,934 cost to the District and parent notification procedures.

John McDonough offered congratulations to the full administration for their proactive and responsive approach to filling this gap. “Thanks for being very nimble,” he said.

Mr. Collins noted that this test is critical for our longitudinal data. “I personally think we should fund the ACT for our juniors every year. It gives kids an opportunity to pursue higher education. This is the first time this rewritten SAT will be given. The kids in Illinois will be the nation’s guinea pigs.”

Dr. Margaret Harrell also thought it was important to fund the ACT this year “since our kids took the EXPLORE and PLAN tests (part of the ACT series). It is too soon to talk about what we might do in the future. We need to stay flexible for what the new process might be,” she said.

Related to the Conrad Fischer donation, each year the first graders of Fischer School write letters to Santa. These letters then make their way to Santa's helpers who are 6th graders at Churchville. This year the Churchville teachers were touched by how basic some of the Christmas wishes were. Churchville Principal Gina Pogue Reeder contacted Fischer Principal Jane Bailey to express concern and offer help. In doing so, the community responded and donations of coats, hats, gloves and mittens came in.

Mrs. Bailey's own family got involved and started a Go Fund Me account to offer support for on-going basic student needs at Fischer. A total of $1,200 was collected and presented to Mrs. Bailey. She is now generously donating this money to the school to be put in an account as a means for funding future basic needs for Fischer students.

Dr. Harrell thanked all who made this donation possible, saying “We talk about how we are one district and if any students in our unit district have needs, we all have needs. We came together to address those needs.”

Mr. McDonough thanked the Lincoln School PTA for their donation, support and for working to improve their school facility.

SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNICATION

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests


One FOIA request was received regarding information on the gifted program, which was granted.

Field Instructional Classroom Follow-up

Dr. Moyer delivered the following memo to the Board of Education:

In November the administration notified the parents of students in the instructional program at Field School of its plan to move the program to Emerson School due to space issues at Field. Since that time, several parents have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the move. School and district administrators met with individual parents on multiple occasions, and on Monday, January 11, Administration held a group meeting with these parents to further discuss the matter. At the December 15 and January 12 Board meetings, parents also expressed their concerns about moving the program and have asked the District to consider a phased transition approach in which students entering grades 3-5 for the 2016-17 school year would be allowed to continue at Field until they enter middle school.

The Board of Education has authorized the administration to commit the necessary staffing for the next three years to accommodate this request. Space at Field will continue to be an issue, but the commitment to allocate the necessary staff to accommodate the upper grade level instructional students will allow for these students to finish elementary school at Field.

On Monday, January 25, the administration hosted a meeting at Field for the parents of students in the instructional program entering grades 3-5 to explain that their children will remain at Field. It then called the parents of students currently in the instructional program in grades 1-2 to reinforce that their children will attend Emerson beginning Fall 2016. In addition, the Field principal will host an informational meeting for all Field parents to discuss capacity issues and tentative plans to manage space and programming needs.

“The thing to remember is that some of this is fluid; we are projecting right now. We anticipate that space issues will continue as they currently exist; but we will make that work, based on the Board’s support of a phased-in plan,” said Dr. Moyer.

BOARD COMMUNICATIONS

Illinois Association of School Board Conference Recap

Mrs. Ebner noted that this annual conference was held in November, but the public report has been delayed several times for various reasons. Karen Stuefen wanted to discuss the topic, but was ill this evening and not in attendance. In deference to her, the Board tabled this topic until next month.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

January 29 – District-wide Institute Day – No School for Students

February 3 – District-wide Student Late Arrival Day

February 9 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center

February 11 – Learning and Teaching Committee Meeting – 7:00 PM – District 205 Center

February 15 – Presidents Day Holiday, No School

February 23 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center

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).