News from July 9, 2018 Board of Education meeting

News from July 9, 2018 Board of Education meeting

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Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Board approves preparation of plans for summer 2019 projects- The Board approved the preparation of bid specifications and plans as the first step in the process for a recommended slate of Health Life Safety, critical infrastructure and other Master Facilities Plan (MFP) projects for summer 2019. From replacement of water piping and parking lot paving to updating a school's Learning Resource Center and a host of projects in between, the estimated $7 million on the proposed summer 2019 slate will focus on all schools, except Roosevelt and Jefferson. In addition, reconfiguring offices and creating secure vestibules at Carpenter, Emerson, Field, and Franklin schools also are included in the recommended 2019 work. Similar office/entry projects have already been completed at Washington and Lincoln; Roosevelt's is now underway. Bids for summer 2019 projects are expected to be presented to the Board for approval most likely by the end of 2018; this timeline is expected to create more favorable pricing for these essential projects that will benefit the teaching and learning environment for students and staff for decades to come. At a meeting this fall, the Board will review options to finance the work, potentially from a transfer of available funds from Working Cash and/or issuing Working Cash Fund bonds. The Board has the authority to issue up to $20.75 million in such bonds through a financing framework created in spring 2017.
  • Board begins exploring facility needs for potential full-day kindergarten - As part of the 2020 Vision Strategic Plan, the Board began what is expected to be a lengthy investigation into the feasibility of offering full-day kindergarten in District 64 in the future. The initial discussion focused exclusively on facilities needs. It included a review of four options and preliminary cost estimates for utilizing Jefferson Early Childhood Center and/or the five elementary buildings. The Board ruled out one option to offer a full-day program for at-risk students while providing a limited number of spaces on a lottery basis for other students to attend for a fee. The Board preferred going forward only with scenarios that potentially could provide full-day kindergarten to all families. The District is developing further information on these remaining options, and also will meet with the Village of Niles to discuss the potential location of a full-day kindergarten at Jefferson in the future. A further evaluation of full day kindergarten will include cost projections for additional staffing and transportation, as well as the impact on the curriculum, among other items. The Board is expected to continue exploring the full-day kindergarten concept at a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting to be scheduled when the additional research is completed. In separate action, the Board approved another one-year extension to the lease agreement with Child Care with Confidence, Inc., a private daycare provider, which occupies a portion of Jefferson.
  • Alternatives for future use of D64 Educational Service Center (ESC) explored - The Board reviewed multiple options for the future use of the current central offices at 164 S. Prospect, Park Ridge. The Board rejected options that included the sale of the ESC and either leasing it back or leasing existing office space within D64. The remaining options still being considered are to purchase another existing office building within D64; to renovate and continue using the existing building; or selling the property and relocating to Jefferson School. The Board directed the District to explore the City of Park Ridge’s interest in the property as well. The Board will continue its discussion at an upcoming meeting.
  • Membership defined for new School Resource Officer (SRO) Board Committee - The Board in June approved the creation of an SRO Committee, and named Board Vice President Rick Biagi and Secretary Tom Sotos as representatives. The Board confirmed that the committee’s work is expected to be short-term and focused on creating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aligns to the draft Mission Statement, which will need to be finalized by this committee and then approved by the Board. The committee will also ensure that the draft Intergovernmental Agreements with the City of Park Ridge and the Village of Niles align with desired outcomes of the pilot SRO program. The Board came to consensus on having a nine-person committee, including: Board members Biagi and Sotos; the two middle school principals; the District’s Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning; two community members; and a representative from the newly created Special Education Committee (see below). The ninth member is expected to be jointly suggested to the full Board by members Biagi and Sotos. Although the membership of the committee itself is limited, the Board affirmed its desire to have stakeholders utilized as resources to provide expertise and guidance to the committee’s work. The Board continues to invite community members to submit suggested names for members or as resources as soon as possible. (See news item below.) The names of the individuals recommended for appointment as committee members as well as individuals and organizations identified as resources will be brought forward by the two Board representatives at an upcoming meeting. 
  • New Special Education Committee created - The Board formally created a committee for Special Education; it had previously designated Board members Larry Ryles and Fred Sanchez as representatives. The Board discussed setting a specific scope of work for this committee, and noted a potential overlap with efforts launched this spring with the creation of a Parents and Teachers Talking Together (PT3) group focused on the special education program. The Board concluded that discussing the membership of the committee would follow from this focus; as with the newly formed SRO Committee, the membership is expected to be limited with a wider involvement of stakeholders as resources. The Board continues to invite community members to submit suggested names for members or as resources as soon as possible. (See news item below.) Because of the limited past experience in utilizing Board committees, a representative of the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) will be invited to an upcoming meeting to review how Board committees can be used most effectively. Both the SRO and Special Education committees will operate under the Illinois Open Meetings Act; agendas will be posted in advance, the meetings will be public, and minutes will be prepared. 
  • Administrative raises approved for 2018-19 - The Board approved a not to exceed amount of $73,573 for raises to be distributed among a group of 17 administrators eligible this year. The amount represents an average increase in alignment with the average Park Ridge Education Association (PREA) teacher raise. The Board previously approved increases for exempt staff, similarly aligning them with 2018-19 raises provided to teachers, teacher assistants, or a hybrid of the two.

Board seeks community resources for two new special committees

The D64 Board of Education has created two new Board committees to focus on specific topics, and is inviting community members to nominate themselves or others to serve as members or act as resources for their work. 

  • School Resource Officer Committee - This committee will focus on finalizing the pilot program for the middle schools. Board Vice President Rick Biagi and Secretary Tom Sotos will serve as representatives. It is expected to be a short-term committee tasked with creating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aligns to a draft Mission Statement, which will need to be finalized by this committee and then approved by the Board. The committee will also ensure the draft Intergovernmental Agreements with the City of Park Ridge and Village of Niles align with desired outcomes of the pilot SRO program.
  • Special Education Committee - This committee is expected to work closely with new Director of Student Services Lea Anne Frost and Superintendent Laurie Heinz to explore the results of the 100-day audit/review completed this spring by Interim Director Mike Padavic and of the independent audit from LMT Consulting. Board members Larry Ryles and Fred Sanchez are the Board’s representatives.

The membership of both committees will be limited, however the committees are also expected to use input from a wide range of outside resources in the community as consultants or liaisons. Community members are invited to submit their name for committee consideration and/or to offer individuals or organizations to serve as a resource for committees during their work.

Please submit suggestions to District 64 as soon as possible using this form

Both committees will operate under the Illinois Open Meetings Act; agendas will be posted in advance, the meetings will be public, and minutes will be prepared.