Previous versions can be found on the Board Audio/ Highlights/Minutes page for 2011 and 2010
...from the December 1, 2014 Board of Education Meeting
Discussion on Resolutions Approving Advisory Stormwater Referendum
Superintendent Dave Pruneau noted that this meeting was originally scheduled as a closed session to deal with discipline hearings and the Board took advantage of the opportunity to also have a public discussion of stormwater issues.
Board President Jim Collins commented further on the rationale for the special December 1 meeting. “State law provides a very tight timeline for taking action on student discipline. When I discussed with our District attorneys the possibility of putting advisory referenda questions on the [April 2015] ballot, I learned the deadline to do so was . Therefore, it was necessary to [piggyback on the closed session meeting and] have the discussion of that possibility tonight.
“The idea of an advisory referendum was first brought up at a recent City Council meeting, so this is not just the arena of the Board of Education any more than the City or the Park District. We are attempting to govern consciously and discuss the best way to get feedback from our community on this topic,” said Mr. Collins. Each governmental agency is allowed to put up to three questions on a given ballot.
The first question the Board had to answer was whether or not it wanted to do that. Mr. Collins explained that State law requires school districts to put a referendum on the ballot any time they buy land to build a school or plan to sell a school. “So that’s the intellectual case for why to put questions on the ballot,” he said, “since the City is asking us to reallocate school district property.”
John McDonough, who, along with Shannon Ebner, serves as a representative to the City/Park/Schools Committee, reported that two weeks ago, the term sheet endorsed by the Board of Education at its November 11 meeting - related to stormwater abatement using school property - was delivered to the City.
“We need technical advice from an architect or engineer regarding the impact, and we need advice from an attorney on how to word an official memorandum,” said Mr. McDonough. The Board has expressed that the City of Elmhurst should pick up these costs in order to prevent the diversion of education dollars, since the City is asking for free use of school district property. We’re a tax capped entity, so every dollar that is diverted comes out of teachers’ salaries and educational programs for our students. We’re trustees of the resources for the kids.”
Shannon Ebner expressed that she thought the Board should move forward with the plan Mr. McDonough outlined. She did not feel that a referendum was the way to go. “This is a multi-faceted and complex issue; asking people who don’t know all of the details to vote yes or no could just be confusing. We’re working well with the City right now, and I think we should continue in that direction,” she said.
“I have heard the anger, the exhaustion and the frustration expressed by those whose homes are flooded,” said Margaret Harrell. “I also recognize that this is not a clear-cut choice or an easy decision to be made. There are people who are very passionate on both sides of this question. We need to continue to move forward in working with the City as partners.” Dr. Harrell did not support placing questions on the ballot.
“I don’t support the referendum question idea because I don’t want to wait until April,” noted Chris Blum. “The desire is to reach out and understand some of the public direction on reallocation of these public resources. Can we do a survey?” Further discussion indicated that to conduct a scientific survey would take time and could be costly.
“Why can’t we hold open houses in conjunction with the Park District and City - work together to learn the will of the community?” asked Mr. Blum. “One of the things I’m nervous about is the $20 million facilities hole we have to fill right now, with [the rebuilding of] Lincoln School representing another $20 million. We have to talk about the taxpayers’ pockets as a whole.”
Superintendent Pruneau stated his concern that there might be a safety issue related to using the site at Madison School. “I think we have to get an answer to that. Some 300 three and four-year olds are walking on that site every day. We need to be comfortable that the Madison [Early Childhood Center] property can safely be used for stormwater detention.”
There was discussion of possibly holding a community meeting at Madison as a good way to get community feedback from parents, staff and residents. “But first we need to have more details, something more definitive than a concept drawing,” said Mrs. Ebner.
Emily Bastedo serves as the Board liaison to Madison School and offered to assist in any way she could. “We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing - moving forward,” she added.
Mr. Blum made note that the Board has been engaging various community representatives for the past year, through the PTAs, the Superintendent’s monthly coffees and other venues.
The Board reached consensus on no advisory referendum and agreed that the next step is for a lawyer to fold the term sheet items into an intergovernmental agreement that covers all of its concerns.
Karen Stuefen emphasized the importance of making sure all of the Board’s conditions will be represented. Revisions to the term sheet were discussed in detail at the Committee of the Whole Finance meeting.
Topics of concern at that time included: the development of a general agreement, protecting the district for future needs, the planning process, cancellation clauses and terms, site development and performance standards, indemnification, relocation of use cost reimbursement, maintenance expectations, ADA playground development, professional fees and hiring an engineer.
ACTION ON CLOSED SESSION ITEMS
Emily Bastedo moved to uphold the York Administration’s recommendation for the expulsion of student C for the remainder of this year and for all of next school year. The Board voted 7-0 in support of that motion. Mrs. Bastedo also moved to uphold the administrative recommendation for the expulsion of student D for the remainder of this year and for the entire 2015-16 school year. Five Board members voted yes and two voted no.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
– York High School Holiday Band Concert – – Baker Auditorium
– Bryan Middle School Choir Winter Concert – – BMS Auditorium
– Finance & Operations Committee – – District 205 Center
– Sandburg Middle School Choir Winter Concert – – SMS Auditorium
– All District Student Late Arrival Day
– Sandburg Middle School Elementary Orchestra Concert – – SMS Auditorium
– York High School Winter Art Show – – York Commons
– Churchville Middle School Band/Orchestra Winter Concert – – CMS Gym
– York High School Holiday Choral Concert – – Baker Auditorium
– Bryan Middle School Elementary Band Concert – – BMS Auditorium
– Bryan Middle School Elementary Orchestra Concert – – BMS Auditorium
– Board of Education Meeting – – District 205 Center
– Churchville Middle School Choir Winter Concert – – CMS Gymnasium
– Winter Break begins at the end of the School Day