2020 Highlights

Board Meeting Highlights

November 16, 2020
Complete Meeting Packet

LEVY HEARING

Fiscal Year 2020 Financial Audit - Mr. Bultemeier reported Baker Tilly, the District’s audit firm, completed the D39 fiscal year 2020 audit. District 39 received an audit opinion with the highest level of assurance that Baker Tilly can issue. Each year, Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) as part of the Annual Financial Report (AFR) assigns a financial profile score to each school district. District 39 has once again received financial stability with a weighted score of 4.0 out of 4.0 .

2020 Levy - Mr. Bultemeier stated District 39 is required by law to estimate at a public board meeting the 2020 tax levy at least 20 days prior to Board adoption of the tax levy. This estimation was presented at the October 26th Board meeting. The total tax levy request, exclusive of debt service, is for $57,671,648. The County Clerk extends the taxes, which will be against the actual 2020 Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) plus new property growth, which is estimated at $14.2M. The CPI factor is 2.3%. Additional property taxes for new construction are paid only by property tax owners who have the new construction.Therefore, the projected increase for District 39 portion is 2.3% of the total tax bill.

Board Reports

Facility Development Committee (FDC) - Mrs. Sternweiler reported at the November 9th Committee of the Whole meeting Colby Lewis of STR Architects provided construction plan details for McKenzie and Romona KEEP39 classrooms. Mr. Papanicholas of Nicholas and Associates stated his second round estimates for McKenzie base bid at this time is estimated at $4.6M and Romona base bid is just over $3M. He stated there would be two more rounds of budget refinements.

The fiscal year 2021 budget for the Capital Projects Fund included money for the addition of air conditioning to the second floor classrooms at the junior high. Mr. Bultemeier suggested the Board direct STR Architects begin to prepare architectural drawings to go out to bid and at that time they could decide whether to pursue the project.

School Finance Committee (SFC) - Mr. Cesaretti reported at the Committee of the Whole meeting, Mr. Bultemeier introduced Nick Cavaliere, CPA, CFE of Baker Tilly LLC (virtually) to present the audit for District 39 and Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA).The District is proud to report that it received an unmodified “clean” opinion for 2020.

Mr. Bultemeier shared a document highlighting the differences in budgets to actuals for the Operating Funds, which included variances due to COVID-19. The FY20 Operating Fund balance ended at 70%. The Fiscal Year 2021 budget is projected to have just over 47% in Operating Fund balance at year end.

Strategy - Mr. Steen reported at the Committee of the Whole meeting Katie Lee and Kelly Jackson shared an update to the Enhance Remote Learning Program Review. Miss Lee and Mrs. Jackson also conducted an In-Person Learning Program Review presented later during this Board meeting. Dr. Cremascoli and the administration have been working on second semester enrollment commitment process. Dr. Cremascoli reported the Metrics Advisory Team meetings have been more critical as data begins to fall more in the range of substantial. More information was provided in the Superintendent’s report on Metrics Team Reopening Update.

Liaison Reports

Community Review Committee (CRC) - Mr. Steen reported the CRC met with Consortium for Education Change (CEC), the consulting firm hired to help with development of a multi-year strategic plan. CEC previewed elements in the development process, which included collecting information from stakeholders and discussion of goals. The strategy review work will begin in January 2021.

Educational Foundation - The Educational Foundation continues to work on the Fall Annual Appeal. Normal fundraisers will not be held so the annual appeal will be the sole source of revenue for the Foundation.

Illinois Association of School Boards - Mrs. Sternweiler represented the Board at the recent Illinois Association of School Board Members (IASB) Delegate Assembly. Representatives voted on proposed resolutions and results were provided. She noted the IASB Virtual Summit will be held on November 20th.

Information Items

Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

School Board Members Day - Dr. Cremascoli - November 15th was designated as School Board Members Day in Illinois. She thanked Board members for their commitment as elected officials in providing a local governance voice for public schools. She commended the Board for their leadership and countless hours of volunteer work.

Parent Teacher Conferences - Dr. Cremascoli - District 39’s Parent Teacher conferences were held last week. Teachers reported having productive and connected conversations with parents, even in the remote environment.

Metrics Team and Reopening Update - Dr. Cremascoli - The Metrics Team discussed action steps agreed upon at the last meeting, which included preemptive substitute staffing, a close review of operational issues, and consideration of COVID testing options. The team reviewed external metrics related to community spread of COVID-19 and also focused on internal operational metrics, which review mitigation procedures and their impact on schools as well as staffing, student attendance, COVID-19 cases and quarantines. There remains a very real risk that increasing community spread will impact school operations. The numbers of students and staff on quarantine due to exposure outside of school has risen, as have the number and length of unfilled staff absences. Unfortunately, school districts are not being given clear guidance from the Governor’s office or the CCDPH regarding school closures, stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions and related quarantine orders. Therefore, the Board expressed support for an adaptive pause to in-person instruction for the week following Thanksgiving Break. Additional consideration of mitigation procedures, COVID testing and staffing needs continue to be reviewed.

COVID-19 Testing Considerations - Dr. Cremascoli - Administration explored options for COVID testing offerings in District 39 for staff and students. The District has had very good experience with RT-PCR testing that was made available to staff. Therefore, a contract was negotiated with Ambry Genetics to expand testing access to students and to household members of staff. In each case, testing will be available to individuals who are symptomatic and/or exposed. Families who wish to access this testing for their symptomatic or potentially exposed child will be able to access testing for a $20 fee. Administration is also exploring a variety of options for screening or surveillance testing of students and staff to help identify asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals during periods when community spread metrics are high. The hope is to pilot a surveillance or screening program in December with a more broad launch date the first week of January.

Second Semester Enrollment Commitments - Dr. Cremascoli - Administration requested parents submit one 2nd Semester Enrollment Commitment Form for each child by Monday, November 30th. Enrollment commitment selections will be for all of second semester, which begins on January 25th and proceeds through the end of the school year. Enrollment commitment forms must be submitted by no later than Monday, November 30th to ensure a child’s enrollment selection.

November 30, 2020 Remote Learning Planning Day - Dr. Cremascoli - November 30, 2020 has been deemed a Remote Learning Planning Day. The state allows five days to use throughout the school year for staff training. The District has used three days with this being the fourth.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Strategic Plan Updates

    In-Person Learning Program Review Update - Miss Lee, Mrs. Jackson & Dr. Swanson - An In-Person Learning Program Review is being conducted to identify strengths and areas for improvement. The report provided initial data collected through surveys sent to teachers, families/parents, and students. Next steps were shared.

    Fall Assessment Report - Miss Lee - With the absence of fall 2019 to spring 2020 comparison period data to measure student progress for last year’s academic achievement and growth, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction presented data for fall 2019 to fall 2020 achievement and growth comparison period. This data allows reflection on the unique 2019-2020 school year and serves as a baseline for the current 2020-2021 school year to measure achievement and growth.

Annual Business

    2020 Fall Enrollment Report - Dr. Cremascoli - District 39 provides an annual Fall Enrollment report that captures the number of students attending District 39's schools as of enrollment on October 1st. This year, there are 3,385 students in District 39 schools. In addition, the District identifies the number of students the District has a responsibility to educate. This number includes early childhood students receiving itinerant speech, students outplaced at therapeutic settings, and students receiving special education services at St. Joseph and St. Francis. District 39 overall fall enrollment total is 3,428 students.

    Long Term Enrollment Projections - Dr. Cremascoli - District 39’s long-term enrollment projections were reviewed. Elementary schools show a slightly larger decrease at McKenzie and Romona than at Harper and Central. Highcrest Middle School’s enrollment is projected to be on a downward trend. Wilmette Junior High is projected to be stable over the next couple of years, then potentially decrease thereafter.

BOARD ACTION

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

 

The next Board of Education Meeting will be held on Monday, December 14, 2020 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.

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