Board Briefs – June 2018

The District 58 Board of Education held its regular business meeting on Monday, June 11, 2018. View the agenda and presentation links. Meeting audio will be posted here when available.

Highlights from the meeting include:

Technology Refresh
The Board of Education voted 6 to 1 to approve the District’s technology refresh proposal. The technology refresh will provide:

  • 1:1 iPads with a keyboard for students in grades 3-6
  • 1:1 iPads without keyboards for grades 1-2; and
  • 2:1 iPads for kindergarteners.

Middle schoolers will continue to use existing Chromebooks. The refresh includes additional professional development to help teachers more consistently and seamlessly integrate the technology into their instruction.

The District’s Technology Committee, a team of 31 teachers and administrators representing all schools and grade levels, reviewed technology options and achieved consensus upon a recommendation, which was then reviewed by the administrative team and ultimately proposed to the Board.

The Board held a lengthy discussion regarding the proposal. The Board said they want to provide teachers with the most appropriate curriculum resources and training, and this includes technology. They also said that the District’s existing iPads are several years old and no longer compatible with current digital learning platforms. Member John Miller said that the Board tasked the Technology Committee with investigating the best student technology options, and he trusted their research and professional expertise.

However, several Board members also said they felt conflicted about the issue, given the evening’s reception of visitors commentary. Many Downers Grove Elementary Education Association members attended the Board meeting, some expressing concerns regarding this expenditure. During the reception of visitors, teachers shared reservations regarding the high cost of 1:1 technology, especially considering uncertainty with ongoing contract negotiations.

Parent visitors urged the Board to consider District funding priorities in light of many needs and budget constraints.

Ultimately, after much discussion and deliberation, the technology refresh passed 6-1. Member Jill Samonte provided the lone “no” vote on the measure.

View the technology refresh proposal.
View the 1:1 presentation from the May 2018 Board Meeting.
View 1:1 technology budget planning from the April 2018 Budget Workshop. (slide 10)
View the 1:1 update from the April 2018 Board Meeting.

Spotlight on our Schools: End-of-Year Strategic Goals Action Plan Progress Report
Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli shared that District administrators and teachers worked to achieve this year’s Strategic Goals, which align to the District’s existing Strategic Plan. Key highlights from the 2017-18 Strategic Goals include:

Strategic Planning: District 58 engaged the community in a comprehensive strategic planning process, which resulted in the 2018-22 Strategic Plan, approved by the Board in May 2018.

Curricular Development: Of note, the District launched phase 1 of its English-Language Arts curriculum resource implementation, which included related professional development.

Technology: The District reviewed the use of 1:1 technology by gathering and evaluating input from students, parents and teachers and carefully examined refresh options.

Facilities/Finance: The District developed a forecasting and analysis approach to support the District’s ongoing financial stability. The District also implemented a plan to resolve Lester’s space constraints and to evaluate space utilization and programming districtwide.

Review the End-of-Year Strategic Goals Action Plan Progress Report.
Review Dr. Cremascoli’s presentation.

Spring Data Spotlight
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Justin Sisul shared a preliminary snapshot of the District’s spring 2018 assessment results. He discussed AIMSweb, the assessment used to measure early literacy. AIMSweb results showed that kindergarten and first grade students made significant literacy improvements from fall 2017 to spring 2018. Spring MAP assessment data shows that grade levels scored between the 73rd and 82nd percentiles in Reading and between the 61st and 81st percentiles in Math. A more in-depth student assessment presentation will be shared after the State releases PARCC results.

View the Spring 2018 Data presentation.

Superintendent’s Report
Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli provided the Board with information on 2018-19 school year planning, summer facility projects, Summer School, summer curriculum work, professional development planning, spring assessment data and next steps for strategic planning. Teams of teachers, parents and administrators will work this summer to develop the Strategic Plan’s annual action objectives and accountability measures. Dr. Cremascoli also thanked Member Beth Taylor, Director of Buildings and Grounds Ken Young, and Assistant Superintendent for Business David Bein for their service to District 58. Each will either retire or depart District 58 later this month.

Business Report
Assistant Superintendent for Business/Chief School Business Official David Bein reported that:

  • Lester School construction is on track.
  • The Financial Advisory Committee will hold its annual Medical Reserve Fund review during its July meeting. Despite increases to premium contribution levels in 2016 and 2017, medical and prescription claims costs have grown at a faster rate. During its annual review, a transfer will be considered to stabilize the declining fund balances.
  • The State of Illinois currently owes more than $560,000 to District 58, and this number is expected to climb closer to $1 million by the end of the month, unless the District receives a payment during that time.
  • The State passed a budget that adds additional funding for the evidence-based education model. The District may receive up to $110,000 in additional funding through this legislation.
  • Property tax receipts have begun to arrive, helping the District’s cash flow. District 58 receives a significant portion of its revenue in June.

Committee Reports:
Member Greg Harris reported on the Policy Committee’s May 15 meeting. The committee reviewed the Board’s policy manual to better align it with the State’s model policy guide. They recommended the creation of 11 new policies and the deletion of 13 redundant policies. They approved the first reading of the new policies and recommended-for-deletion policies and will place them on the July agenda for final approval.

Member Elizabeth Sigale reported on the May 24 Meet and Confer Strategic Plan Committee. She said that Dr. Cremascoli shared the framework for the Strategic Plan’s execution phase, to be created by the development teams. These teams will meet three or four times this summer to fully build out the Strategic Plan.

During the meeting, the Board also:

  • Recognized students who achieved Citizenship and Illinois Math League achievement.
  • Recognized students who received Academic Excellence and Academic Achievement awards.
  • Approved minutes from the May 14 Regular Meeting.
  • Approved personnel appointments, resignations, Family Medical Leave of Absence requests, retirements and financial reports.
  • Did not approve 2018-19 salaries for non-union educational support staff, non-union technology staff, and administrators, pending ongoing union negotiations.
  • Approved the lease of 3,800 iPads, 2,400 keyboards/cases and 30 days of Apple Professional Learning Services for a total four-year cost of $1,394,387.60.
  • Approved the purchase of 1,400 primary student iPad cases for $29,050 from SHI.
  • Tabled the resolution appointing the treasurer and the school treasurer’s bond to review resolution verbiage.
  • Approved the 2018-19 Board of Education meeting calendar.
  • Approved the agreement between District 58 and Knowledge Universe Education (Champions) for before- and after-school care.
  • Awarded a bid for miscellaneous painting at 10 schools to Midwest Decorating, Inc., for a total cost of $46,200.
  • Adopted the prevailing wage resolution regarding the wages for District 58’s laborers, workers and mechanics employed on public works.
  • Adopted a resolution transferring $71,777.57 in Working Cash interest to the Sinking Fund.
  • Approved a health insurance premium increase of 5 percent.
  • Extended Aetna dental insurance for the 2018-19 fiscal year for a monthly administrative fee of $3.74 per employee.
  • Accepted an Aetna proposal for Specific Stop Loss insurance coverage at an estimated cost of $634,261 for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
  • Authorized the purchase of property, casualty and liability insurance coverages for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
  • Accepted a One America proposal to provide life and AD&D insurance for the next three school years.

Upcoming events:

Monday, July 9 at 5 p.m.: Board of Education Special Meeting at the Administrative Service Center

Monday, July 9 at 7 p.m.: Regular Business Meeting at the Administrative Service Center

Monday, July 16 at 7 a.m.: Financial Advisory Committee Meeting at the Administrative Service Center

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.