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News from the June 27th Board of Education Meeting

News from the June 27th Board of Education Meeting

The District 64 Board of Education held a regular meeting on Thursday, June 27th, in the Hendee Rooms. 

We have fixed the audio issues from last night’s stream and uploaded the new Board meeting video to our YouTube page

Student Recognition - Judith Snow Awards

The Judith L. Snow Ethical Leadership Award sets a high standard for stewardship. All D64 8th-grade students are eligible for this prestigious award. Their applications must include a compelling essay and strong recommendations from a teacher and a prominent community member.

This year, we are proud to recognize Vasiliki Kantar and Maida Usman from Emerson Middle School and Cassandra Jewell and Jagoda Samborska from Lincoln Middle School—48 students applied for the award. 

Read more about the Judith Snow Award Winners on our website.

Polling Results Discussion

Paul Hanley, Managing Director of Beyond Your Base, and Jim Hobart of Public Opinion Strategies presented to the Board the work being done in the District to gather data about what taxpayers want regarding a possible referendum to address the critical needs in our buildings. 

D64 started this robust community outreach program in March with a Citizen Task Force Meeting, where 40 community members helped vet the proposal before sharing it Districtwide. In April, the first Direct Mailer went out to 16,101 households, and a few weeks later, another mailer went out to the same registered voters. 

Superintendent Dr. Ben Collins and District Administrators then hosted 17 presentations and tours over six weeks to give our stakeholders a look at our buildings’ problems and opportunities to offer feedback. To help convey each building's needs, we created videos for people who could not make any tours or presentations. In addition to the videos, we implemented a digital ad campaign with animated banner ads and short digital commercials. This campaign resulted in 491,808 impressions for the 2024 Proposal. 

We used Public Opinion Strategies to run a scientific hybrid poll to understand what was important to taxpayers. The survey, which was completed June 8-12, 2024, among 200 registered voters, has a margin of error of +6.93%. Interviews were conducted via phone.

View the portion of the meeting where the poll results are discussed here. 

According to the results, a slim majority of voters would support the measure and vote yes if the election were held today. Recognizing our obligation to taxpayers early on in the process, we reduced the initial asking amount of $145 million to $98.36 million. Hobart and Hanley’s recommendation was to continue moving forward and for District leaders to look at the data and develop a few more options, considering what the community has said. 

“We want the first round to be a success, even if it hurts to modify the proposal a bit,” explained Hanley.

“It’s so important to be able to say ‘We Listened,’ and we cut millions of dollars from the proposal because we heard from the taxpayers,” said Hobart. “Being able to say that is helpful because it may mitigate any tax sensitivity.”

What are the next steps? The District will develop different cost alternatives for the 2024 Proposal and present them at a Special Board Meeting on Wednesday, July 17th, at 6:00 pm in the Hendee Rooms at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center. The August 15th regular meeting will be when the Board votes on whether or not to put a referendum on the November ballot. 

“We’ve got a very supportive community, and I’ve got the confidence in how we can change our messaging and how aggressive we can be with that,” said Superintendent Dr. Collins.

Middle School Review Discussion

One of the District's upcoming program reviews will focus on the Middle School structure and schedule. This review process will commence in the Fall and will assess our middle school programs' current philosophies, beliefs, and vision. This committee will also conduct a comparative analysis of surrounding districts and our current structures to recommend changes to the current schedule that are best for the students of District 64. 

The Student Learning Team has already been researching this year and preparing as much as possible for this work so that the Middle School Review Committee can best consult and help administrators with the process. Dr. Collins said that the committee will have very specific roles and guidelines, “There are certain things that we have to consider that are holistic to everything going on. It’s on us to make sure that the rationale behind those boundaries is extremely well thought out, data-driven, and transparent.”

“We want to think about school schedules and programs that are best to prepare our students to be successful in the future,” said Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Dr. Samantha Alaimo. 

You can view the presentation here.

Superintendent Update

  • Enrollment Update
    • Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Joel Martin gave an enrollment update for the 2024-2025 school year. Our enrollment is 4330, which is 98% of what we projected. 
  • Communication Awards
    • Director of Communications Chris Lilly shared with the community that the District recently was honored with two National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) awards. We won a Publications and Digital Media Excellence Award in the Video (Produced In-House) category for this Learn-A-Latte feature story. The D64 Opening Day 2022-2023 video was given a Merit Award in the same category. 
    • The recognition of the power of video storytelling is fantastic. We have the most exceptional students and staff, and showcasing their amazing work is always an honor.

Approval of Superintendent Contract

Motion Approved

Board President Dr. Denise Pearl offered a statement on behalf of the Board. 

“Just over a year ago, Dr. Ben Collins joined our District as the next Superintendent. Since then, he has worked closely with numerous staff and community members, maintaining transparency and demonstrating a strong willingness to understand and adjust to what's best for our students and the community as a whole.

Today, we are thrilled to propose a new contract for Dr. Collins that would run through 2028. With the potential for significant facilities projects and many ongoing initiatives within our District, this is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge Dr. Collins for his outstanding performance. More importantly, it's a chance to underscore the critical role of continuity in our District's success. As a Board, we are firm in our commitment to ensuring stability at the Superintendent level, thus positioning the District for success in achieving our most significant objectives and projects.”

Consent Agenda

  • The Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda
    • Bills, Payroll, & Benefits
    • Approval of Financial Update for the Period Ending April 30, 2024
    • Approval of Personnel Report
    • Approval of Midwest Mechanical Contract 1.1A
    • Resolution #1342 Interfund Transfer Resolution from Education Fund to Capital Projects
    • Resolution #1343 Accounting Transfer to the Capital Projects Fund to Implement State Regulations
    • Resolution #1344 Authorizing Payment of Bills
    • Resolution #1345 Safety Hazards
    • Approval of District 64 FOIA Officers
    • Approval of the Meeting Minutes of May 2, 2024 Special Meeting, May 16, 2024 Regular Meeting and the May 16, 2024 Closed Meeting

Approval to accept, reverse, or amend the Superintendent’s decision regarding a Uniform Grievance Procedure Complaint filed by a Parent

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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