October 12, 2023

Call to Order

Public Comment
No one asked to speak.

The School Board recognized the Lakeview School community. Lakeview was named a National Banner Unified Champion School by Special Olympics, one of only five schools chosen in Illinois this year. A Unified Champion School demonstrates a commitment to building an inclusive school through collaboration, engagement and respect for all students and staff. Lakeview is one of 17 nationally recognized schools in Illinois joining Mead, Addams, and Keller. It is also only the second elementary school in the state to earn this honor. District 54 is the only school district in Illinois to have more than one school with a Champion banner. The Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to the Lakeview Club Unify Sponsors Caroline Vaporis, Jaclynn Beer and Jessica Cychosz.

The School Board presented Above and Beyond Awards to the 2023 District 54 Ensuring Student Success Award Winners:

  • Ayako Abe, a sixth-grade, Japanese-English dual language teacher at Dooley Elementary School, as our teacher of the year;
  • Nell Haack, the principal at Collins Elementary School, as our administrator of the year;
  • Michelle Roth, a behavior coach at Einstein Elementary School, in the licensed support staff category;
  • Joe Havel, an operations technician in the District 54 warehouse, in the educational support staff category;
  • Joe Smolenski, a volunteer at Link Elementary School, as our volunteer of the year; and 
  • In the team category, the Campanelli Child Study Team: Nurse Ashley Blocker, special services teachers Jessica Hoyer and Megan King, Social Worker Caroline Bullington-Derks, Speech Pathologist Diane Lange and Psychologist Carly Simmon.


Discussion – Lincoln Prairie Renovation and Addition
Lincoln Prairie is a popular open enrollment school in District 54. The current enrollment at Lincoln Prairie is 353 students and the waiting list for new enrollments has ranged from 180 to more than 200 students every year since the building re-opened as Lincoln Prairie School in 1999. The school was originally opened as Hillcrest Elementary School in 1961. It closed in 1985 due to low enrollment and served as an early childhood center from 1988 to 1998. 

Many of the building’s operating components are at end of life including the school’s HVAC system, doors, casework and carpeting. In addition, the main office is in need of renovation, a new telecenter needs to be installed and the gym, learning center, music and instrumental music spaces do not adequately support programming needs. Additional classroom space would also enable more families on Lincoln Prairie’s wait list to access the school’s programming while also alleviating crowding at other district schools. 

As has been shared publicly at two Budget Committee meetings, the district asked architectural firm STR Partners to draft renovation plans that include a building addition to address the full range of facility needs noted above. The anticipated cost is $12.2-$14.4 million. Pending board approval, construction would begin in the summer of 2024.The scope and cost of this project would require the District to spread the construction work over two years and three budget cycles.

Freedom of Information Act
Five Freedom of Information requests were replied to since the last report to the School Board. Details can be found in the FOIA Memo.

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 Sept. 14, 2023
  • Resignations, leaves, retirements, termination, employment and salary adjustments of personnel
  • Checks dated Sept. 8 and 22, 2023
  • The treasurer’s report on cash and investments for August 2023
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for September 2023
  • A recommendation to approve the SMPG grant application to receive funding under the ISBE school maintenance project grant
  • A recommendation to authorize the assistant superintendent of business operations to negotiate a contract for the purchase of natural gas
  • The purchase of technology equipment with licensing and support
  • The purchase of digital resources for special education
  • The destruction of verbatim records of the closed-session school board meeting on April 14, 2022, for which approved minutes already exist


Report of the Board President
Board President Jim Pye congratulated Board Members Barb Hengels and Mary Kay Prusnick who were recognized by the Illinois Association of School Boards for participating in professional development and leadership activities to best serve their school district and community. He also thanked everyone who came to the Run to Read despite the rain to raise money to purchase books for classroom libraries.

District Citizens Advisory Committee Report
Board Member Bob Kaplan shared that DCAC heard a presentation on school safety in District 54.

Foundation Report
Board Member Mary Kay Prusnick announced that the SEA and SEEO hosted a craft fair in September to raise funds for the Foundation’s Crisis Fund. Another way to support the Foundation will be to purchase Lou Malnati’s on November 8.

New Business

  • The Board approved a resolution estimating the amounts for the 2023 aggregate tax levy.
  • The Board approved revisions to the following board policies:
    • Consumable Materials Fee – 4.140a,
    • Basic Instructional Program – 6.60 and
    • Prevention of and Response to Bullying – 7.180.
  • The Board approved an intergovernmental agreement with Elk Grove Village for a school resource officer.
  • The Board approved the appointment of representatives to serve on the District Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the 2023-24 school year.


Board members walked in the Elk Grove Village parade in September and attended the Early Learning Center Fall Fest, as well as the Armstrong PTA Pro Kids assemblies for families.

The Board adjourned at 8:14 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters and for school matters.