On site at Franklin School
Continuing its long-standing tradition of meeting on site at each school annually, the Board met at Franklin School this month. The meeting on location allowed the Board and community members to see the "circle drive" entry that would become a new secure vestibule and renovated office area, as proposed for a summer 2019 facilities project.
Other highlights from the meeting include:
- Board adopts tentative 2018 tax levy; hearing set for November 12 - The Board adopted a tentative estimated property tax levy of $68.15 million for 2018, which is a 4.64% increase over the prior year. Because the actual amount of new construction is not yet known, the percentage increase for the levy is deliberately set high enough to make sure the District can receive the full benefit from new construction. No matter how large the levy request is for 2018, however, District 64 will only receive a 2.1% increase plus the taxes associated with new construction, as allowed under the tax cap (Property Tax Extension Limitation Law). Although not required, the Board will conduct a public hearing at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 12 during the regular Board meeting at Washington School, 1500 Stewart, Park Ridge. The Board is scheduled to adopt the final levy at the regular meeting on December 10, 2018.
- New options considered for Field School summer 2019 project - The Board reviewed three new design concepts to create a secure vestibule within a reconfigured office and to provide additional classroom space. Following Board discussion, the District will fine-tune two of the options: building an addition near the parking lot on Elmore for a new main office/secure entry; and building an addition in that location to house a multipurpose room with stage, while the existing auditorium would be renovated as a secure entry/office area. The discussion will continue at the next meeting.
- Special Education update September to October - Student Services Director Lea Anne Frost reported on the steps undertaken since the last Board meeting in the four key areas of staffing, professional development, consistency across the District, and creating a message of inclusion. Dr. Frost recommended the addition of .5 FTE staffing allocation for a resource teacher at Roosevelt School based on student needs. She also noted staff training had been provided in the past month on a variety of topics, such as Section 504 plans and IEP development, and that facilitated IEP training was provided to special education administrators and District psychologists, among other professional development taking place for various staffing groups. Turning to consistency, Dr. Frost identified several Board procedures that the department is reviewing and updating to ensure they are being implemented with fidelity and consistency across the District. She also reported on the work of the Special Education Board Committee and additional meetings of the Parents and Teachers Talking Together (PT3) group. Dr. Frost further announced that a Special Olympics team has been formed with the Emerson instructional teachers and special education coordinators to coordinate efforts of all schools to be participants in Special Olympics; she cautioned that grade level participation may be limited due to the number of athletes and volunteers this year. She also noted other activities underway to develop a message of inclusion throughout the D64 community.
- District legal fees reviewed - The District reported on annual expenditures for legal services in each category of specialized work provided by the three firms utilized by the District last year.
- New HR/Financial Management software proposed - The District presented a proposal to replace its financial and human resource management software to better integrate and streamline operations across multiple departments, access and link information currently maintained in multiple databases, and offer greater financial oversight for administrative staff. The goal would be to migrate to a new system in time for the start of the 2019-20 fiscal year on July 1. The Board discussed the projected costs and benefits of the proposal, which will return for Board action at an upcoming meeting.
- Changes ahead for IL State Report Card - The District previewed the changes expected in the 2018 state report cards, which are being modified to include a new summary dashboard for every school; a summative designation for each school; each district's distance to "adequate" funding; and a set of new data points, such as academic growth, chronic absenteeism, long-term English Learners, and ACCESS scores, among others.The report cards along with a complete review of 2017-18 student achievement will be presented at the November 12 Board meeting.
- Safe Routes to School Grant proposed with City of Park Ridge and Village of Niles - The District reported on the opportunity to work with the two municipalities to win a $200,000 grant through the IL Department of Transportation to fund a joint project that would improve safe walking/biking access for students at Emerson Middle School. The proposal includes creating a new, 8' multi-use pedestrian/bike path in Park Ridge along the south side of Oakton Street from Prospect Avenue to Michael John Drive, and to add new sidewalks in Niles along the west side of Prospect Avenue from Farnsworth Drive to Monroe Street. The City of Park Ridge would administer the grant, which is intended to fully pay for the improvements. The Board will be asked to endorse the City's application for the SRTS grant at the November 12 meeting.
Franklin School shared a video describing the all-school focus in October on completing acts of kindness through the annual "Raise Craze" and other community service activities. View the video here.
The top tier of its middle school band program, the Lincoln Symphonic Band directed by Brian Jacobi got the meeting off to a rousing start with selections from their recent concert. The ensemble includes 42 students in grades 6-8 who rehearse twice weekly before school and attend weekly technique classes. In D64, students may join Beginning Orchestra in grade 4 and Beginning Band in grade 5.
Outstanding student musicians for 2018-19 awarded certificates - This year, 11 middle school students were selected by the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) in regional competition to participate at two upcoming events. Board members offered their congratulations and awarded certificates to the students in attendance along with teachers Mr. Jacobi and Ms. Faulhaber.Read more here