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Brief from the Board Meeting on Nov. 14, 2019

Public Hearing on Tax Levy: No one asked to speak.

Discussion – Enrollment and Facilities Analysis:
District 54 conducted a review of facility space needs at each of our elementary schools, looking at current enrollment, the use of available classroom space at each school, open enrollment numbers and their impact, the number of special education classrooms in schools, and a study of enrollment trends and projections for future enrollment.

District 54’s current enrollment is 14,928 students, an increase of 264 students from last year and an increase of 1,351 students from 10 years ago. District 54 commissioned a recent Kasarda enrollment study, which predicted enrollment would increase by 900 students in the next six years.

The district completed additions at Churchill and Dirksen in 2018 and Link in 2019. However, with enrollment continuing to grow, Collins, Dirksen, Hanover Highlands and Stevenson are all at capacity today.

Because enrollment and facility space are projected to be an issue at some schools going forward, a plan must be developed to enable the district to utilize space in a way that best supports its instructional priorities. A more in-depth discussion will be held at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Dec. 5.

Public Comment:
One individual asked for board support in regards to the termination of her son. Three MacArthur parents asked the Board to look into staff turnover at the school.

Freedom of Information Act Requests:
Six requests were received and responded to since the last report to the Board regarding certified payroll for work performed in District 54, the Delta Dental administrative services contract, the number of teachers hired in District 54 over the past five years, information related to employee records, information related to vaping incidents at schools, and the bid tabulation for cleaning and paper products.

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 Oct. 17, 2019
  • The minutes of the special open and closed-session Board of Education meetings on Oct. 21, 2019
  • Resignations, leaves, employment and salary adjustments of personnel
  • Checks dated Oct. 25 and Nov. 8, 2019
  • The treasurer’s reports on cash and investments for September 2019
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for October 2019
  • The Blue Cross Blue Shield self-funded HMO and PPO medical insurance rates for the calendar year 2020
  • The Delta Dental and Vision Service Program insurance rates for the calendar year 2020
  • Workplace Solutions as the provider of the district’s Employee Assistance Program
  • Long-term disability insurance, basic life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance rates for calendar years 2020-2022
  • The purchase of four vehicles from Friendly Ford
  • A one-year contract with JAMF Software LLC for technology licensing and support
  • The purchase of literacy materials from Benchmark Publishing to support reading level growth for English learners who are newcomers to the United States
  • Destruction of the verbatim records of the closed-session Board of Education meeting on April 19, 2018

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss shared two #WeAre54 videos, highlighting the people in District 54 who make this a special place to learn and work. This month, we featured Keller student Stephanie Calderon and the District 54 Mentor Team. Click on each name to watch the videos.

Superintendent DuRoss, PTA Council President Jim Sklena, SEA President Lori Mobley and SEEO President Kathy Jesuit recognized the District 54 School Board in honor of School Board Members Day on Nov. 15.

Board President Report:
Board President Bob Kaplan thanked the schools who invited the Board to Veterans Day activities across the district and those who invited him to read to students as part of a national Read for the Record event. The district also hosted a Partnership Breakfast this week to thank all of the companies, organizations and individuals who support our students and schools. Bob thanked all the partners as well as the staff and students who spoke or performed at the event. In honor of American Education Week next week, Bob thanked all staff for the wonderful work they do for students.

District Citizens’ Advisory Committee:
Board Member Barbara Hengels reported that DCAC heard a presentation on the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Support program in District 54.

District 54 Education Foundation:
The Foundation announced its new treasurer, Sue Budak, and secretary, Mary Kay Prusnick. The Foundation is currently selling tickets to the Windy City Bulls game on Jan. 10. Tickets to this fundraiser can be purchased through a link on the Foundation website.

Parent Teacher Association Report:
PTA Council President Jim Sklena invited individuals to the PTA Reflections Showcase at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 25 in the District 54 Professional Learning Center and to the annual PTA Auction on Friday, March 13, 2020.

New Business: 

  • The Board approved a resolution estimating the 2019 tax levy will be $184,259,529, exclusive of debt service. Click here for more information.
  • The 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.
  • The Board Policy Committee brought for a first reading Board Policy 2:120 – Board Conferences, Conventions and Workshops.
  • The Board approved a proclamation in recognition of American Education Week 2019 and International Education Week 2019, both being celebrated Nov. 18-22, 2019.

Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 8:31 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters and school matters.