Continuing its long-standing tradition of meeting at all District 64 schools during the school year, the Board of Education held its September 23, 2019 regular Board meeting on-site at Carpenter School. The Board held a new staff reception and took a tour of Carpenter School at the beginning of the meeting. Other highlights from the regular meeting include:
- Board Approves Balanced Budget - The Board adopted its 2019-20 budget showing revenues exceeding expenditures by $687,000. A balanced budget was maintained despite enrollment growth driving up staffing needs and salary costs by 3.6 percent - the District added 13.1 full-time positions partly due to an increase in 4.5 class sections this year. While $6 million was moved from operating funds to pay for capital projects, the District was able to keep its projected fund balance at 48 percent (177 days cash-on-hand), well above the Board’s policy of maintaining a 33 percent fund balance (120 days cash-on-hand).
- Staff additions address enrollment increase - Enrollment in District 64 increased by 75 students over last year for a total of 4,604 in grades K-8. The numbers were only slightly higher than projections. The increase created the need for 4.5 FTE teachers for additional class sections at Carpenter, Franklin and Roosevelt schools. The Board had previously approved the addition of 8.1 FTE positions in the Student Services Department to offer specific expertise to general and special education staff to further support students with special needs.
- Board to consider new snow removal equipment - The Board discussed the need for replacing snow removal equipment which is nearing the end of a lease agreement. Board members discussed the possibility of sharing equipment with other taxing districts in Park Ridge in an effort to reduce costs. While working out an agreement with other districts may take time to develop, the Board discussed the need to make a decision in time to have equipment in place for the winter season. The Board will revisit the issue at its next meeting on Oct. 28.
- Donation from the Family of Ryan Sernel - A sizeable donation from the family of Ryan Sernel, a District 64 student who passed away suddenly in March of 2018, was formally accepted by the Board. The gift consists of an outdoor seating area at Lincoln Middle School, expected to be completed this fall. Ryan Sernel and his twin brother, Douglas, were in sixth grade at Lincoln at the time of Ryan's passing. The Sernel family are life-long Park Ridge residents; the twins’ older sister, Catherine, also attended Lincoln. Ryan is the grandson of former Washington School PE teacher and frequent substitute teacher Sharon Sernel.
- Board approves Superintendent Goals - Superintendent Eric Olson’s primary goal is to improve the overall culture in District 64 through building better relationships with stakeholder groups and improving communication throughout the district. The Board approved the Superintendent Goals, setting in motion a formal review process that will finish near the end of the school year.
- Board Agreements Adopted - The Board adopted its set of operating principles designed to guide members to work together as a single public body. The Board Agreements direct them to: build positive relationships; commit to open communications; maintain quality interaction; use a collaborative decision-making process; handle public concerns effectively; conduct meetings in an open and orderly fashion; and recognize accountability with the community and other stakeholders.