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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 November 11, 2014 Board of Education Meeting

SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNICATION


Board of Education Appreciation

November 15, 2014, is designated as School Board Members Day in Illinois. Elmhurst District 205 joins other districts across the state in thanking these community volunteers for their commitment and contributions to our public schools.

“Our school board members serve without monetary compensation to make public education and District 205 the best it can be for every child,” said Superintendent Dave Pruneau. “During these fiscal times, they develop policies and make tough decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect the entire community and the lives of individual students. They bear responsibility and oversight for an overall annual budget of $120 million; 8,350 students from Early Childhood through 12th grade; nearly 1,000 employees; and 15 buildings that sit on 125 acres.”

Preparing today’s students to be productive citizens and the leaders in a global economy is a tremendous task. As elected officials, school board members are the voice of their communities, serving first and foremost in the best interest of our schoolchildren.

“Often we take for granted the service that these education advocates provide. Taking time out to say ‘thank you’ is the least we can do, as they provide vision and leadership for student achievement, academic programs, district funding and school facilities. Their service ensures that decisions about Elmhurst public schools are made locally by those most familiar with the needs of our community
.”

Freedom of Information Act Requests

 
Mr. Pruneau reported that one FOIA request was received regarding a specific bid and was granted.

Preliminary Tax Levy Presentation

Christopher Whelton, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, presented the Estimated 2014 Tax Levy report. Public notice will be given through the newspaper (Elmhurst Suburban Life) on December 5; the hearing and adoption will take place on December 16. “For the sake of transparency, we will comply with those dictates, even though we will not be asking for a levy in excess of 105%, which prompts those requirements.”

The final EAV comes from the county in late March/early April. The tax cap limits our levy to 5% or the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less. Last year’s CPI was 1.5%, which is applied in calculating the estimated tax levy for 2014.

Two unknown factors at the time of the estimated levy are EAV for 2014 (which will be determined in December) and the amount of new construction. At this time, District 205 is estimating new construction EAV at $28 million. Based on this we are predicting a 3 percent increase on the capped operating tax extension.

“EAV (Equalized Assessed Value) is estimated at a 2% decrease over the previous year (there was 6% decrease the year before). The CPI (Consumer Price Index) for this levy is 1.5%. We’re estimating new construction at $28 million. Our levy for 2014 represents a 3% overall increase above the 2013 extension,” said Mr. Whelton. “However, based on the current estimates for new construction, in reality, the 2014 extension is estimated overall to be 3.59%. Most taxpayers with existing property will see an increase closer to 2.24%.” This translates to a $118 increase on a $300,000 home.

The tax levy is a request,” he emphasized. “It is a placeholder until the County calculates the final EAV, rates, new construction and the 2014 tax extension. The operating extension is limited by the tax cap to an increase of CPI, which has averaged 2.08% over the past five years. The two factors that fall outside of that cap (known at the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law or PTELL) are debt service and new construction. Regardless of the levy amount, the District will only receive what is allowed under the property tax extension limitation.”

School Report Card Overview

Superintendent Dave Pruneau presented this year’s Illinois School Report Cards to the Board of Education. The cards are posted on the District 205 website under District -> State School Report Cards or are available through the Illinois Report Card website at http://illinoisreportcard.com.

New measurements contained in the card (which was revamped by the Illinois State Board of Education last year) aim to provide a more complete picture of how a school is performing, as well as the school’s climate. For the first time, the State School Report Card includes the number of former high school students who are enrolled in two- or four-year colleges within 12-16 months of graduating. It also shows how many freshmen are ending their ninth grade year on track to graduate. The new report card reflects a state and national move toward monitoring school districts based on multiple measures of growth and performance, as opposed to a single test score at one point in time.

Review of Board Norms

Mr. Pruneau mentioned that Board Norms that have been updated, with the main change being the emphasis on a more approachable Board of Education.

“We want to talk with people in open dialogue, with an effort to continually improve relationships in order to have the best school district we possibly can,” said Board President Jim Collins. This document is posted on the District website under
BoardDocs and will be disseminated to employees through the next edition of iNews, the monthly e-newsletter for District 205 employees.

BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS

Finance and Operations Committee of the Whole

The Finance and Operations Committee of the Whole met on October 27, 2014. Minutes may be accessed by clicking here. Topics discussed included:

  • September 2014 Monthly Financial Reports
  • Term Sheet for Storm Water Project
  • Updates

Chairman Chris Blum said the meat of the meeting was spent on storm water. “Hopefully, this gave our (City/Park/Schools) representatives, John McDonough and Shannon Ebner, a better handle on where the Board stands on this topic. There is no document yet developed, but parameters were discussed that will help create that document,” he said.

Performance Management Committee

The Performance Management Committee met on October 30, 2014. Minutes may be accessed by clicking here. Topics discussed included:

  • District Performance Indicators (DPIs)
  • Employee Attraction, Development and Retention
  • Superintendent’s Goals and Evaluation Timeline

Chairman Karen Stuefen added that Mr. Pruneau will work with his Cabinet to further discuss the larger management framework and put more refinement around the three-year strategic plan.

“We also talked about ways to continue reporting progress on items of concern gathered from the brown bag lunches by meeting with our employees again this year and through the school liaison program,” she noted.


SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - CONSENT

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

  • Personnel Report
  • Financial Reports
  • Acceptance of School Report Cards
  • Approval of New/Modified York High School Courses

Mr. Blum removed the item on York course approvals for further discussion, especially related to the new Advanced Strength Training class being proposed for athletes currently not taking PE classes (due to waiver status). Dr. Michelle Fitzgerald, Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching, said that the attempt was to introduce a class that might interest athletes. She promised that the Board’s concerns would be addressed.

The Board expressed that it wants to make sure families have a choice and that coaches are not pushing athletes into taking this class. Consensus was that this needs to be larger discussion about balance and meaningful parental/student choice. Ultimately, the Board decided to approve the new PE class for one year, with the expectation that these concerns would be addressed. It also approved the proposed amended Enriched Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry Honors math class.

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - ACTION ITEMS

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

  • Approval of Resolution Regarding the Estimated Amounts Necessary to be Levied for the Year 2014
  • Approval of Gifts Designated for York Distinguished Alumni Program by the District 205 Foundation - $1,700 raised by the YDAP Committee in support of the Dukes of Distinction

Mr. Collins thanked the Foundation and the York Distinguished Alumni Program Committee for supporting this great program, now in its second year, which honors outstanding alumni. Director of Communications Melea Smith pointed out that nominations are now open for the 2015 Dukes of Distinction. Mr. Pruneau thanked Glen Liljeberg, of Sunrise Communications, for taping the November 6 ceremony free of charge as a gift to the community. Video from the event will be posted on the District website in the very near future.

BOARD COMMUNICATION

Karen Stuefen, the Board’s legislative representative, reported that she is working with a committee of the PTA Council to create a community legislative forum in late January. Discussion will center around public education funding reform, including an update on Senate Bill 16, as well as advice on how residents can advocate for their local schools. Included as part of this forum would be a representative from the Legislative Education Network of DuPage (LEND), the League of Women Voters, state legislators and the PTA legislative chair.

There is a public hearing on Senate Bill 16 (the School Funding Reform Act) taking place Nov. 18 at 3 PM in Springfield. This hearing will likely reveal proposed amendments to the bill, which have been discussed in closed-door meetings hosted by House Speaker Mike Madigan over the past few months. There is no word on whether or not a vote will be called. However, Representative Barbara Wheeler recently stated that, "The fact that the hearing has been scheduled now rather than waiting until the new General Assembly is seated in January suggests that we may see movement of this bill during the lame duck session, when outgoing lawmakers are enticed to make unpopular votes." For more information, click here.

Dr. Margaret Harrell shared that she (as well as Shannon Ebner and Jim Collins) attended the Elmhurst Commission on Youth’s very informative Heroin Awareness Forum on November 10 and encouraged the Board to keep this important conversation on their radar screen. She and Mr. Collins also attended the York High School Veterans’ Day assembly, staying afterward to interact with students and staff. “it was a great day!” she said.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

November 18 – Finance & Operations Committee – 6:30 PM – District 205 Center
November 20 – York High School Holiday Orchestra Concert – 7:30 PM – Baker Auditorium
November 24 – Parent-Teacher Conferences – 4:30 to 8:30 PM
November 25 – Parent-Teacher Conferences – 12:00 to 8:00 PM – No School
November 25 – CANCELLED: Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
November 26-28 – Thanksgiving Holiday – No School
December 4 – York High School Holiday Band Concert – 7:30 PM – Baker Auditorium
December 8 – Bryan Middle School Choir Winter Concert – 7:00 PM – BMS Auditorium
December 9 – Finance & Operations Committee – 6:30 PM – District 205 Center
December 9 – Sandburg Middle School Choir Winter Concert – 7:00 PM – SMS Auditorium
December 10 – All District Student Late Arrival Day
December 10 – Sandburg Middle School Elementary Orchestra Concert – 7:00 PM – SMS Auditorium
December 11 – York High School Winter Art Show – 6:00 PM – York Commons
December 11 – Churchville Middle School Band/Orchestra Winter Concert – 7:00 PM – CMS Gym
December 11 – York High School Holiday Choral Concert – 7:30 PM – Baker Auditorium
December 15 – Bryan Middle School Elementary Band Concert – 7:00 PM – BMS Auditorium
December 16 – Bryan Middle School Elementary Orchestra Concert – 7:00 PM – BMS Auditorium
December 16 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
December 18 – Churchville Middle School Choir Winter Concert – 7:00 PM – CMS Gymnasium
December 19 – Winter Break begins at the end of the School Day

 

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).