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2014 Highlights

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Board Highlights

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

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...from the August 12, 2014 Board of Education Meeting
 

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Prior to the public comment portion of the agenda, Board President Jim Collins again addressed the work of the Board of Education with the City of Elmhurst in regard to flood mitigation plans, reiterating the points he made in a message delivered at theJuly 15 Board of Education meeting:

An intergovernmental agreement between the City of Elmhurst and District 205 would need to include the following three parameters:

  • District 205 would retain full ownership of any land used for water detention and will retain the right to discontinue storm water detention on its property at any time.
  • District 205 would be made whole for any legal damages that may occur.
  • There would be liquidated damages paid for loss of use greater than three days per year.

Addressing those making public comments on the topic Mr. Collins said, “I ask that all of you, as well as the City, remain flexible in their thinking about what geography and what facilities will be used for storm water retention.”

SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNICATION

Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

Two FOIA requests were received since the last Board meeting. Both were regarding specific questions, which were denied.

Recap of Budget Year 2014

Chris Whelton, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, presented theRecap of Fiscal Year 2013-14 (Cash Basis and Unaudited). The auditors will present the final report to the Board in December.

Revenues for 2013-14 grew by 3.8%. Significant on the revenue side was an increase in the average tax collection rate for June taxes, as well as the timing of the State Board of Education’s quarterly payments. District 205 received five this year (including an on-time payment of the June 2014 quarterly), which is very unusual according to State Superintendent Chris Koch. As a result, only three quarterly payments from the State are budgeted in the coming year fiscal year. Favorable E-rate collections and reimbursements from the Federal National School Lunch and Breakfast programs also contributed.

Operating expenditures grew by 4.2%. Salaries came in under budget, due in part to the fact that some positions were not fully filled. An increase in natural gas and electrical expenditures last winter also contributed. Finance and Operations Committee Chairman Chris Blum pointed out that there are expenses that will simply be shifted from one fiscal year to the next, such as the purchase of a data warehouse.

Operating revenues exceeded operating expenses by over $5 million for FY14, which included $1M from a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) 2 surplus distribution.

“We have to keep in mind the size of our budget. When you talk about the unknowns, variance on the budget is probably within 2-3% - which is good. The cost of being wrong is very severe. We have about $1.5M in unfunded maintenance projects at this point that are scheduled for next summer. Having a reserve would allow us to adjust without doing grand scale budget cutting,” noted Mr. Blum.

Mr. Whelton stated that reserves are also needed to avoid short-term borrowing and make adjustments when state funding is unstable. Board Vice President Shannon Ebner added that reserves also help the District “strategize for the future.”

Senate Bill 16 Would Redistribute State Aid

Mr. Collins recently attended a workshop on Senate Bill 16 sponsored by the District’s legal firm. SB 16 redistributes State aid using a different formula. It has passed the Senate and is on its way to the House. This formula would have very little effect on Chicago Public Schools (because it is based on poverty levels), but would have a tremendous effect on the collar county school districts.

The formula does not take into account the increased cost of living in the collar counties, nor is there a calculation for school districts that have huge commercial tax bases.

As an example of the affect this would have, Barrington District 220 - a district very similar to Elmhurst - would lose 78% of its State funding. Based on that calculation, Elmhurst would lose about $6.2M (D205 currently receives about $7M from the State), or roughly 5-6% of District 205’s total budget.

“I would encourage all of our residents to contact their State representatives about this. It is another attempt at Illinois income redistribution,” said Mr. Collins. “This is on the table and headed down the legislative path.”


Tentative FY15 Budget Presentation

Mr. Whelton also gave a tentative budget summary for 2014-15, discussion of which began in January. To read an overview explaining revenues, expenditures and fund balances please click here. PMA presented five year predictions in November of 2013 and January of 2014. The Finance and Operations Committee worked on several aspects of this budget.

As with most service industries, staffing is always the biggest component. Factors contributing to an increase of staff at York High School this year include a large freshman class, increasingly diverse learner needs and the reduction of class sizes in core subject areas. As part of the Board’s decision to set aside monies for discretionary positions that would enhance innovation and increase performance, there were 4.4 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) instructional technology coaches added at the middle schools and high school, allowing the District’s Instructional Technology Coordinator, Cathy Baker, to concentrate on EC-5 classrooms.


This summer’s maintenance projects completely depleted the Life Safety and Capital Projects funds. District 205 typically spends $1.5M on maintenance each summer. Next year, this will need to be funded out of Operations & Maintenance monies. It was pointed out that there were previous excess revenues in the Capital Projects budget from monies left over from the 2006 facilities referendum. Eight years later, those monies are gone.

Still recovering from cuts that were made over a period of three years (2009-2012), it was projected that 20 new non-discretionary certified staff would be necessary across the District; 25 new FTE were budgeted, including the following discretionary staff: the 4.4 instructional technology coaches previously mentioned and 2.0 class size reduction positions.

At the elementary level, 4.7 FTE were added; at the middle school level, 4.8 FTE were added; and at the high school 12.5 FTE - based on enrollment, Special Education and English Language Learner needs. There are another 3.0 contingency FTE positions in the budget, in case adjustments have to be made once school begins, again, based on enrollment needs.

Additionally, a secretary to the ELL program was added at York. one new administrator was added at the District level: a REACH/Professional Growth Coordinator.

Looking ahead, the first substantial TIF 1 payment from the City of Elmhurst will be in January of 2016. A much smaller payment will come in early in 2015. “This is from an intergovernmental agreement signed in 2004, so it’s not a gift. TIF monies are an opportunity to plug the capital projects gap without hurting the classroom,” said Mr. Blum.


Summer Projects Update

Superintendent Dave Pruneau, Director of Facilities Frank Schuh and Chris Whelton did a walk-through of the summer projects, escorted by the head custodians and building principals.

“We have some talented people and were able to do a lot of work in-house. We are being very frugal with the money we have. The buildings are ready to go right now,” noted Mr. Pruneau. Projects proceeded as expected and have been finished on time and within budget. The list is comprised of both capital and operating and maintenance projects. To view it, 
click here.

Major renovation of the Bryan and Sandburg Middle School building envelope (masonry restoration, window and door seals, etc.) was completed, as was a new roof on the Sandburg gym. Churchville’s two gyms received updated, eco-friendly lighting fixtures that have improved brightness and will save energy and money. In addition, asphalt patching was done in the Churchville parking lot, as well as repairs to the canopy at its main entrance.

Two Media:scape lab stations were installed in the York Learning Commons, courtesy of the District 205 Foundation. The Band Boosters donated a storage building located at Charles D. East Stadium; solar panels were installed on the roof of the Aquatic Center (thanks to a “green” grant written by the York Eco Club); and 138 new lockers were added. More importantly, York now has a safety vestibule at its main entrance, with locking doors and card controlled access.


Projects were also completed at Madison, Emerson and Lincoln. In addition, a district-wide door project has been substantially finished.

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA – CONSENT

The Board voted unanimously to approve the following consent agenda items:

  • Personnel Report
  • Financial Reports
  • Acceptance and Posting of FY15 Tentative Budget
  • Approval of Bid #15-01 - School Activity Bus

The tentative budget will be on display for 30 days at the District 205 Center, 162 S. York, and posted on the website at www.elmhurst205.org. A public hearing will be held at the September 23 Board of Education meeting, which begins at 7:30 PM at the District 205 Center.

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA – ACTION ITEMS

The Board voted unanimously to approve the following action item:

  • Approval of Study Skills Instructional Program Stipends - up to $23,000 to fund staff

John McDonough thanked the Foundation for funding this successful program. He also asked if this is a program that the District should fund going forward.

ACTION ON CLOSED SESSION ITEM

The Board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Paraprofessional and School Related Personnel (PSRP) which allows the District to more fairly compensate these staff members when they are working extra duty outside of their regular work day. This agreement provides a more equitable pay scale between certified and non-certified staff under such circumstances.

BOARD COMMUNICATIONS

Emily Bastedo thanked Director of Technology David Smith and Cathy Baker for inviting her to a technology conference at East Leyden on July 31. There were about a dozen people from District 205 in attendance. “It was very informative to learn how other schools are using technology to enhance the learning. Their Tech Support Internship provides certifications and hands-on experience for those students interested in continuing with an IT career.”

Karen Stuefen reminded fellow Board members of the LEND “Coffee With Our Elected Officials” breakfast which will cover SB 16, discipline and pensions and is set for 7 AM on September 26 at Marquardt School District 15.

Mr. Collins explained that legislation pending in Springfield may severely limit, if not eliminate, a local school board’s ability to expel a student for disciplinary reasons. The accommodations that would need to be made in those cases could prove very expensive to school districts.

Mr. McDonough reported that there will be another intergovernmental meeting soon regarding storm water mitigation. “Unfortunately, with the focus on storm water, we’ve gotten away from the City/Park/School Committee concept. We don’t want to lose sight of those other common issues,” he said.


UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

August 15 – First Day of School for York High School Students
August 20 – First Day of School for Students in Grades K-8
August 20 – Finance and Operations Committee Meeting – 6:30 PM – District 205 Center
August 27 – Committee of the Whole Board Improvement Meeting – 7:00 PM – District 205 Center
September 3 – Curriculum and Instruction Committee Meeting – 7:00 PM – District 205 Center
September 9 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
September 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).