District 57 School Board Meeting Highlights – Aug. 20, 2020
*School Board Meeting Highlights are an overview of important decisions, presentations and/or discussions that take place at Board meetings. They are different from the meeting minutes, which give a more detailed report of Board actions and are posted on the website as part of the following meeting’s public packet.
The Aug. 20 School Board meeting was held via a Zoom conference call. The video and podcast are posted on the D57 website.
Summer 2020 Construction Report
Adam Parisi, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, shared an update on building improvements that were completed over the spring and summer. These capital projects, which address necessary upgrades in the four schools and administration building, were approved early in the year as part of the FY20 budget. The projects had been on the District’s long-term Master Facilities Plan, which prioritizes needs that were previously ignored due to lack of funds. Adam highlighted the 2020 completed work in this video.
Staffing Plan and Enrollment Update
Dr. Elaine Aumiller, superintendent, shared changes that have occurred since the Staffing Plan was first presented in March, including the addition of a second-grade teacher at Lions Park to accommodate enrollment. In addition, four health assistants will be hired soon, and four day-custodians will be hired when students return to the buildings, to accommodate the District’s COVID-19 planning and precautions.
Current enrollment is 2,201. Some students have left the District, choosing private schools or home school, but the number was not large enough to impact sectioning. The largest change was in Lions Park second grade, which now has 22 more students than last year and 16 more than projected. This required the addition of a second-grade section and teacher. It also required the District to use the last remaining classroom space at Lions Park (which had been used to store science curriculum materials). The school is now at capacity in terms of classroom space.
The Tentative Staffing Plan and enrollment data can be found in the public packet for the Aug. 20 Board meeting at this link. The Board will approve the final 2020-2021 Staffing Plan at its September meeting.
2020-2021 Tentative Budget
Adam Parisi presented budget assumptions and financial projections to the Board in July. At the Aug. 20 meeting, he reviewed changes that have occurred since then, including salaries and benefits, which have been adjusted based on the current Staffing Plan. There were also some cuts to supplies and materials, due to remote learning.
The budget presentation included a discussion of a potential Lions Park expansion next summer. During the 2018 referendum campaign, the District indicated it could undertake a Lions Park expansion in 2021 at the earliest, IF enrollment required it. With all classroom space now in use and cramped storage in the building, the District believes it is time to pursue the possibility of an expansion. Without it, Lions Park will likely have larger class sizes or require mobile classrooms in the future. Therefore, the tentative budget sets aside $4 million for a potential addition, with a fund balance (surplus) of slightly over $93,000. Board members asked the District to also look into whether Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funding could be directed toward work at Lions Park, since the property is within TIF boundaries.
The Board will further discuss this and vote on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget at the Sept. 24 meeting. Additional information about last week’s tentative budget presentation is in the public packet for the Aug. 20 Board meeting at this link.