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October 22, 2018 Board Briefs

October 22, 2018

The Board Meeting on October 1, 2018, was held in Shepard Middle School’s newly updated Learning Commons so the Board of Education and the community could see the newly renovated space.

School Presentation: South Park Elementary School

Students from South Park Elementary presented their Global Read Aloud program. The Global Read Aloud program is a set 6-week period in which students try to make as many global connections as possible. There is one book discussed during this 6-week span and students connect with other students around the globe who are reading the same book. Students expressed their enjoyment reading the book and how much they enjoyed making their new connections. The presentation is attached.

Student Presenters    Student Presenters 2

Teachers   Student Presenters 3

Superintendent’s Report

  • Dr. McConnell welcomed everyone to the new Learning Commons at Shepard. He noted that we are celebrating National Principals' Month this week by recognizing all of our building leaders and celebrating their achievements.
  • Dr. McConnell reported that the Illinois Association of School Boards Annual Triple I Conference is upcoming this November, and information will be shared out soon.
  • Dr. McConnell also reported that the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) is bringing visionary leaders together to shape the nationwide movement of personalized learning in education. He will be taking part in AASA's Personalized Learning Cohort in Arizona October 31-November 2, 2018.

Items Presented for Information

  • FOIA: There was one FOIA request that has been completed.
  • 2018 Tax Levy: The Board’s Finance Committee met on October 18 to examine options related to the 2018 Tax Levy. The consensus recommendation is to eliminate the tax rate for the Debt Service fund and pay annual bond principal and interest from operating funds. Doing so will (1) mean the District receives about $1.2 million LESS than its maximum taxing authority, and (2) the District taxpayers will, in theory, see a zero percent increase in District 109’s portion on their tax bill. This represents the first time since the mid-1980’s that District 109 has not accessed all potential levy dollars provided by applicable law from the property owners in our community and comes as a direct result of the continued financial discipline of the Board and Administration.
  • 2017-18 Audit Results: Greg Himebaugh presented the 2017-18 Audit results for the Board’s review. The results are attached.
  • Extracurricular Reports: Ann Buch (Principal at Kipling Elementary) presented the elementary school extracurricular information including involvement and the opportunities offered at each of the elementary schools. The middle school extracurricular information was presented by Megan Russell (Principal at Caruso Middle School), Nashwa Mekky (Assistant Principal at Caruso Middle School), Chris Cybulski (Principal at Shepard Middle School) and Stephanie Strenger (Assistant Principal at Shepard Middle School). The elementary presentation and middle school presentation are attached.
  • Preschool Fees: Marcie Faust has proven successful at generating many more tuition-paying students at our District 109 Early Learners program hosted at South Park Elementary. For many years, we have discussed this with very mixed results. Formerly called Helping Hands, the program has existed since 1999 and is required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): the District must service children with significant needs commencing at age 3. In 2004, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) advised that best practice was to run such programs with “typical developing peers”, hence we began taking tuition preschool students. The plan was to offset some of the costs for the required special education preschool with tuition dollars, and despite our efforts, we had limited success.
    • This year, under Marcie’s leadership, we are pleased to report a record total enrollment of 63 students with 48 of them being tuition-paying students. Tuition revenue is expected to be in excess of $281,000. We have plans (and some renovations scheduled) to increase this capacity for the 2019-2020 school year, and Marcie has a list of potential registrants which demonstrate the need.
    • Currently, the Board has authorized tuition fees for this program as follows: $7,950 per year for the full day program and $4,250 for the half-day program. Although the Board has typically authorized preschool fees in the spring, we ask for consideration earlier to keep building on this year’s momentum and to register student by December 1. We are also proposing an increase based on a survey of community preschools.

Action Items

  • The regular and closed session meeting minutes for September 17, 2018, and October 1, 2018, were approved.
  • All personnel items were approved.
  • The suspension of a teacher was approved.
  • The 2017-18 Audit results were approved.
  • The Board Members’ estimated expenses for the IASB Joint Conference were approved.
  • The September Quarterly Treasurer’s Report with student activity was approved.
  • The Succession Plan was approved.


Committee Reports

  • The Finance Committee met last week to look at the audit results, levy information and discuss the 5-year projection.
  • There was a discussion during the Facilities Development Committee meeting about possible work to the middle school lunchrooms and auditoriums.
  • Community - The Anti-Drug is looking for a representative from District 109’s Board.

Open Community Participation

  • Patricia Reese (former parent) discussed concern for raising the preschool fees.


  • Sari Montgomery asked for Board of Education feedback regarding the IASB resolutions which will be voted on in November.

The complete minutes for this meeting will be posted after they are approved by the Board at the next regular meeting, on Monday, November 12, 2018, at 7:00 pm at the District Center.