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News from the January 25th Board of Education Meeting

Dr. Collins presents to the Board the recommendation to renovate Lincoln Middle School

The District 64 Board of Education held a regular meeting on Thursday, January 25th, in the Hendee Rooms. 

After months of research and planning by staff, District Administrators recommended an option to begin the first phase of Lincoln Middle School renovations. The School Board voted to move forward with this plan.

Wight and Company, along with Dr. Ben Collins, Dr. Adam Paris, and Noel Mendoza, explained why “Approach 3” was the best option to pursue. “I think the big conversation that we had the last couple of weeks is with the grand scheme of everything,” said Dr. Collins. 

The diagrams presented at the meeting are very early representations of the work that will be done at Lincoln. 

The core of the first phase includes renovating spaces that would house the SLC program and a new program for students who require emotional support. In both cases, these students are currently placed out of the district at the middle school age at a significant cost to taxpayers. Bringing these programs back into the district better serves these students, provides a more inclusive learning environment, and ultimately costs less. “Inside this special education area, it still includes the specialized space…like bathrooms that are directly related to the classrooms, a life skills area that could include things like laundry, kitchen, and other aspects of the SLC program,” said Dr. Collins. “We still would have to go in and design specifically what that will look like, but we know we’ve got plenty of square feet to do that.” There will also not be an addition built in this initial phase, but it could come later as part of phase 2.

“We can use that money that we would have been using for water reclamation in phase one right away back into the building and take care of some of the other needs that we know exist,” explained Dr. Collins on why not building an addition right away sets up Lincoln better for the long run. 

Phase 1, which has an estimated cost of $8.5 million - $10.5 million, will be paid for with bonds sold in correlation with resolution #1330 below. 

When looking at phase 2 it includes building an addition that would hold a new cafeteria/multipurpose space, kitchen, and performance area that is in line with the newer Emerson Middle School. The second phase also would include renovation for the rest of the school, updating the aging HVAC system, lighting system, and other necessary upgrades for the nearly 100 year old building. Cost estimates are still being worked on and will be more specific once phase 1 has gone through the engineering phase.

Now that the Board has approved the sale of $10 million of bonds to fund phase 1, more detailed planning with staff and architects can happen. Then, we can start putting out different types of bids and possibly have some work done this summer and creatively get work done with split schedules in the Fall of 2025. The timeline for phase 2 is still a work in progress because it depends on what funding is available. 

Over the next month, District Administrators will work with our architects and Emerson staff to continue conversations on what work needs to be done there and what that would specifically look like. 

“Our goal would be to build this overarching number for what would the entire new master facilities plan look like for everything? We will give you an update on that in February,” said Dr. Collins. 

View the entire meeting on our YouTube channel

Spotlight On Roosevelt Elementary School

Roosevelt Elementary School Assistant Principal Jacquelyn Peters had some fantastic 3rd graders show the Board some different learning activities they do as Tigers. There were three different stations: a math center, a sensory station, as well as a communication station. Each of the station and activities are available to students during a school day throughout the whole building and they’re embedded into the classroom environments as well. 

“Research-based instruction, opportunities for movement, centered-based learning, as well as some social-emotional strategies are critical to enhancing our student's daily learning at Roosevelt,” said Peters. “We’re excited to have you each rotate through the stations and experience a little bit of what our students experience throughout their school day.”

All of our Board members had such a fun time learning from these awesome Roosevelt 3rd graders

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Dr. Ben Collins went over some recent events that we’ve hosted. Including a recent Parent University night that centered around safety in our schools. Plus, we have another Parent U scheduled for February 27th, which is a viewing of the movie Angst. Our Parent University page has more details and an RSVP form.

Adoption of Resolution #1329 Directing the Chief School Business Official Under the Direct Supervision of the Superintendent to Begin Preparation of a Tentative Budget for the2024-2025 Fiscal Year in accordance with Board Policy4:10 Fisca l& Business Management & the Illinois School Code 105ILCS5/17-1

Motion Approved

Information on E-Rate Projects for 2024

Director of Innovation and Technology Matthew Tombs gave an update on the federally funded E-Rate program and the projects we have planned. In the summer of 2024, the District will upgrade our wireless network and replace four new uninterrupted power supply systems. 

The District is currently participating in the E-Rate structured bidding process for these projects. Recommended contracts will be brought to the Board for approval at February’s regular meeting. 

Emerson Gymnasium Audiovisual Project

Motion Approved

A new audiovisual system will be installed in the Emerson Middle School gym. Midwest Computer Products was selected to provide and install three 10,000-lumen laser projectors, three tensioned electric projection screens, and an audio system. The cost to purchase and install all of the equipment is $ 115,069, and it is budgeted in the FY24 Technology Department Budget. 

The gym enhancements will also be beneficial for the community when hosting assemblies/events, sporting events, student concerts, and other community events. 

Cybersecurity Service Agreement

Motion Approved

Matthew Tombs also presented a Cybersecurity Data Privacy Plan to the Board.  

“We are really at a point where we need to take a proactive approach to ensuring that our District is protected and has an increased security posture,” said Tombs. “Because we don’t need to wait for it to happen, we need to just make sure we’re putting things in place to protect our systems.”

CybersecurityK12 was chosen to provide an initial cybersecurity assessment, ongoing managed services, and support. The cost for the service with CS-K12 is $45,150, which is budgeted in the FY24 Technology Department Budget. 

Update on Student Services Action Plan

Director of Student Services Alicia Schmeisser, alongside Student Services Coordinators Alyssa Zommick and Becky McClaney, Curriculum Specialist Kara Forrest, and Jefferson Early Childhood Center Principal Michele Barkley, presented an update on the Student Services Action Plan.

Through extensive planning, research, and collaboration, the Student Services Action Plan Committee identified specific areas to strengthen our practices:

  • Address age-deviation to ensure ISBE compliance
  • Support the district-wide adoption of CHAMPS (a tool for designing a classroom management program that prevents problems, motivates students, and teaches students how to behave responsibly)
  • Standardize curricular resources
  • Strategize on using a Universal Design for Learning framework
  • Expand specialized programs to include Life Skills and Social Emotional Development

The Committee will continue to work and collaborate as they create actionable steps toward implementation. Those final recommendations will be presented at the May 16, 2024 Board Meeting. 

Update on Crisis and Safety Planning

Dr. Collins gave an overview of all that has been happening behind the scenes to update and improve our crisis and safety protocols.

We’ve identified that we are going to adopt the I Love U Guys Standard Response Protocols and will start to do some training with staff later this school year. The goal is to have a big Safety Week in August, where we implement this with students and the community. 

Also, a review of threat assessment practices happened this summer. The District Administrative Team reviewed documents outlining practices and identified the need to separate threats to self and threats to others when responding to situations.  Next, documents were reviewed with building-level administrators for discussion and analysis. 

Future work in all the crisis and safety planning areas includes:

  • Staff training 
  • Training with police 
  • Summer drills (Response & Reunification) 
  • Student and family training in August 
  • Mental Health (thank you for the Psychologists!) 
  • Facility upgrades 
  • Student and staff culture work 
  • Audit in 24-25

Approve Updated Copier Contract with Impact Networking

Motion Approved

Resolution #1330 providing for the issue of approximately $10,000,000 General 
Obligation Limited Tax School Bonds, Series 2024, of the District for the purpose of increasing the Working Cash Fund of the District, providing for the levy of a direct annual tax to pay the principal and interest on said bonds, and authorizing the execution of a Bond Purchase Agreement with Raymond James & Associates, Inc., in connection with the proposed sale of said bonds

Motion Approved

This $10 million will be used to fund Phase 1 of the renovations at Lincoln Middle School.

This resolution reflects a true interest cost of 3.70%, which is almost a point less than the initial presentation in November. The bonds will be paid off over 15 years, so we have the ability, if needed, to issue another bond in 2034. 

Approval of Recommended Personnel Report

Motion Approved

Consent Agenda

Motion Approved

Approval of Minutes    

Motion Approved

Together We Discover, Learn, Grow & Care

At D64, our mission is to foster opportunities for discovery, engagement, and growth for all students. We accomplish this by nurturing interdependence, appreciation of differences, and care for self and others.

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