Board Briefs – July 2017

The District 58 Board of Education held its regular business meeting on Monday, July 10, 2017. View the agenda and presentation links. Highlights from the meeting include:

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli shared several updates with the Board including:

  • Illinois State Budget: The State passed a budget last week, but its education budget is still uncertain. The District will continue to monitor the State’s education funding legislation.
  • Cabinet Team Retreat: Last week, Dr. Cremascoli and the assistant superintendent team held their annual retreat. Thank you to the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation for providing space for their day-long meeting. They made great progress toward developing strategic goals and other plans for the upcoming school year. The District is providing the Board with a draft of its 2017-18 Strategic Goals Action Plan for their review. At the August meeting, the Board will be asked to discuss and approve the goals.
  • Lester Project Update: District leaders took the Board’s feedback regarding the potential Lester project and shared it with the architects. The District directed the architects to develop more concrete plans using Lester Option 4, while also considering options to reduce costs. The architects will meet with Lester’s principal and assistant principal this week to seek additional feedback and insights on options and design. The District expects to have additional information and refined cost figures for the August Board meeting.
  • Curriculum Update: The District is making good progress with its curriculum work this summer. Administrators negotiated extended payment terms for the proposed ELA resources, which will help reduce ELA costs for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The Math Committee is using teacher feedback to make helpful revisions to the math blueprint. The administrative team is preparing professional development plans for the upcoming school year.
  • Technology Update: The Technology Office collected all student iPads in June. The District’s iPad fleet is 3-5 years old. With careful maintenance, the Technology Office will be able to refresh most of the devices so students in grades K-6 can reuse them this upcoming school year. Per the Board’s input last month, the District revised its Chromebook purchase proposal. Rather than purchase Chromebooks for all middle school students, the District is now proposing purchasing Chromebooks for all seventh grade students. Eighth grade students will repurpose the District’s existing fleet of Chromebooks.
  • Summer School: The District’s Summer School programs are going very well! Most Summer School classes finished last week, and the extended school year and digital gaming classes will conclude next week.

Business Report

Assistant Superintendent for Business/Chief School Business Official David Bein provided the Business Report to the Board. Key highlights include:

  • The District concluded its 2016-17 fiscal year on June 30. On a preliminary basis, revenues came in under budget, due mostly to the missing State mandated categorical payment. Expenditures will likely be under budget as well, although the District is still processing the final numbers.
  • The State paid its third of four expected mandated categorical payments to District 58 during the 2016-17 school year in late June. Currently, the State owes District 58 approximately $1.7 million.
  • The State passed a budget last week. While this is good news, the education budget is connected to an evidence-based funding model. The General Assembly approved an evidence-based funding model in Senate Bill 1, but it is possible that Gov. Bruce Rauner will veto this legislation. If Senate Bill 1 is vetoed, it would effectively cut off funding for school districts despite there being a State budget.
  • The District’s auditors conducted preliminary fieldwork for their annual audit last month. They will return in August to complete their on-site work.

  • Health insurance claims continue to trend higher than expected. To account for these increases, some cost reduction changes were implemented, and the 2017-18 budget factored in a 10 percent increase in health insurance premiums. Bein will continue to monitor the Medical Reserve Fund’s fiscal health.

English-Language Arts (ELA) Resource Approval

The Board approved new ELA resources for the 2017-18 school year. The District negotiated extended payment terms for the new resources, which will relieve some of the 2017-18 budget burden.

The Board approved the Benchmark Advance ELA curriculum resource adoption for a total cost of $931,692.56, payable in three installments over three years. Benchmark Advance will be used as a curriculum resource for students in grades K-5.

The Board also approved the StudySync ELA curriculum resource adoption for a total cost of $240,471.72, payable in two installments over two years. StudySync will be used as a curriculum resource for students in grades 6-8.

Board Committee Reports

Financial Advisory Committee

Member John Miller reported on the July 10 Financial Advisory Committee. The Committee discussed many of the topics Bein covered during his Business Report. In addition, the Committee discussed the impact that a possible property tax freeze could have on District 58. If the State were to approve a four-year property tax freeze, the District would lose approximately $4.4 million in revenues over the same years, as well as realize losses in future levies as a result of the freeze.

Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee

While this Committee did not meet in June, Member Elizabeth Sigale requested the Board’s review of the Committee’s proposed strategic planning timeline and recommended the Board seek a consultant to manage the strategic planning process. After a brief discussion, the Board directed Sigale and the District administration to move forward with procuring a consultant to lead this process.

The Policy Committee and Legislative Committee also did not meet since the last Board meeting.

During the meeting, the Board also…

  • Approved the tentative budget for 2017-18 and set the annual budget hearing for Monday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at Downers Grove Village Hall. The tentative budget includes approximately $66.3 million in revenues and approximately $66.6 in expenditures.
  • Recognized students who excel in citizenship. These students were honored for their exemplary attitudes and enthusiastic commitment to their school work.
  • Recognized Illinois Math League students who consistently achieved high grades in math.
  • Approved minutes from the June 12 Business Meeting.
  • Approved all items on the Consent Agenda as presented in the packet materials.
  • Approved a three-year contract with AT&T for 10 Mbps managed Internet access and 46 SIP channels for a monthly cost of $996.37.
  • Approved the District lease of 700 HP Chromebook 11X360s and the corresponding management license for a total cost of $226,325.49 over three years through American Capital.
  • Approved an agreement with Pediatric Services of America to provide contractual nursing services to a student within the district.

Upcoming events

  • Thursday, Aug. 10 at 7 a.m.: Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee Meeting at Longfellow
  • Monday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at Downers Grove Village Hall
  • Monday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.: Budget Workshop at Belle Aire School
  • Monday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at Downers Grove Village Hall
  • Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 7 a.m.: Policy Committee Meeting at ASC

District 58 Board of Education members are: Doug Purcell, president; Elizabeth Sigale, vice president; Greg Harris, Darren Hughes, John Miller, Jill Samonte and Beth Taylor, with Dr. Kari Cremascoli, superintendent; and Melissa Jerves, board secretary.