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Brief from the Board Meeting on Nov. 15, 2018

Public Hearing on the 2018 Tax Levy:
No one asked to speak. The 2018 levy is regulated by the Cook County Property Tax Cap. District 54 can only receive up to the rate of CPI (2.1% in 2018) from existing property owners, and additional funds from new property owners.


  • The School Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to 19 students who represented District 54 in the Honors Orchestra at the Illinois Education Association (ILMEA) Music Festival held Nov. 3.
  • The Board also recognized Giovanni, a fifth-grade student at Churchill, who was named the WGN Student of the Week for his volunteer work. Click here to hear the interview.
  • The Board presented an Above and Beyond Award to Patty Waterloo, a paraprofessional at Blackwell who made more than 100 weighted lap pads and neck rolls for the district’s occupational therapy department.

Public Comment:
A former District 54 resident suggested strategies for bullying prevention.

Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA):
District 54 responded to four FOIA request since the last report to the Board, related to the custodial supplies bid, window replacement bid and purchasing records.

Consent Agenda:  The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • The minutes of the regular and closed-session Board of Education meetings on Nov. 1, 2018
  • The resignation, leave, termination, employment and salary adjustments of personnel
  • Checks dated Nov. 9, 2018
  • The treasurer’s reports on cash and investments for September 2018
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for October 2018

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss highlighted three portions of the District 54 Strategic Plan – the 54 Promise.

  • Innovation – On November 9, the Innovate 54 teams attended a presentation by Thomas C. Murray, co-author of Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today.
  • Whole Child Success – On November 8, representatives from all District 54 schools and the administration center came together to share how they have embraced a positive culture in their buildings and how to sustain this positivity.
  • Exceptional employees – Superintendent DuRoss shared three videos highlighting employees who embrace the exceptional employees we have in District 54. Click on their name to watch the videos about Pete Tschammer, Roy Hansen and Apryl Cano.

Board President Report:  President Mary Kay Prusnick presented each board member with a Smile File, which is an idea being used in several District 54 schools. The file is a place to keep letters, notes, photos or other mementos that remind board members why they serve this role.

District Citizens’ Advisory Committee:  Board Member Barbara Hengels reported that DCAC heard a presentation on the social-emotional learning curriculum.

District 54 Education Foundation:  Board Secretary Bob Kaplan reported that the Foundation is partnering with the Windy City Bulls on December 14. The evening will include the participation of a number of student groups, including a Special Olympics basketball game at halftime. Click here to buy tickets or for more information.

PTA Report:  This year 22 schools participated in the PTA Reflections program, with a total of 250 entries. To view the projects, all are invited to attend Reflections Showcase at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 26 in the District 54 Professional Learning Center.

New Business: 

  • The School Board approved a resolution estimating the 2018 tax levy will be $180,000,000, exclusive of debt service. Click here for more information.
  • The School Board approved a resolution authorizing the Cook County Clerk to reduce the education levy by 80%, the operations and maintenance levy by 10%, and the transportation levy by 10% if in excess of the limiting rate.


  • Board members visited schools this month to present gift books to teachers who have reached the milestone of having 1,000 books in their classroom library.
  • The board also talked about the amazing Veterans Day activities across the district.
  • Board members thanked everyone who made the Partnership Breakfast a success, including the Keller orchestra and band for performing.
  • The Board expressed appreciation to everyone for the notes in honor of School Board Association Day and added that it is a pleasure to serve the District 54 community.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 8:19 p.m. for school matters.