Glen Ellyn School District 41 Mission: Ignite passion. Inspire excellence. Imagine possibilities.
Terra Costa Howard President |
John Kenwood Vice President |
Erica Nelson Secretary |
Kevin Cosgrove |
John Vivoda |
|Following is a summary of the Board of Education meeting held on April 20, 2009. An MP3 recording of the meeting is available on www.d41.org Minutes are posted once approved.
|ABRAHAM LINCOLN FOCUSES ON LEARNING FOR ALL
Abraham Lincoln hosted the Board of Education (BOE), and student ambassadors greeted and escorted visitors to the BOE meeting. Lincoln staff provided an overview of the school's progress over the last three years toward its goal of "doing whatever it takes to ensure high levels of learning for all kids in literacy and math." Part of the school's philosophy is that all students belong to all teachers, who must work together to help them learn. Each grade-level team has specific responsibilities that help the school achieve its improvement goals. Next year, a new schedule at Lincoln will allow grade-level teams weekly time to work together to interpret student performance data, discuss what's working, and determine the best instructional approach to meet each child's needs. This approach is in some stage of development at all the elementary schools.
| UPCOMING MEETINGS
The next regular Board of Education meeting is set for Monday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Central Services Office. The meeting will be preceded at 7 p.m. by a reception to bid goodbye to departing BOE members Kevin Cosgrove, John Kenwood and John Vivoda. The reception will also recognize and welcome returning and newly elected BOE members. The public is encouraged to attend the reception, and is always welcome to attend Board meetings.
VEHICLE REPLACEMENT DISCUSSED
The BOE discussed an administrative recommendation to purchase a Dodge Caravan and a Dodge Dakota for a total cost of $36,579. These vehicles will be used by Buildings and Grounds staff and will replace two aging vehicles. The cost came in under estimate, as the district received favorable pricing through its consortium, The Illinois Fleet Purchasing Program. The BOE will take action on the matter at its May 4 meeting.
TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT FOR EMERGENCY BACKUP
After a severe storm in August of 2007 knocked out all district communications, the administration began investigating emergency communication equipment. A subsequent audit by National School Safety and Security placed priority on the acquisition of two-way communication equipment. In the event of a crisis, such equipment will allow communication between the Central Services office and the schools, with first-responders (such as the police) and with the bus company. The administration recommends purchasing a Motorola system from Chicago Communications at a cost of $35,182. This system would equip each building with a desktop radio hardwired to an antenna, with battery backup. In addition, a roof-mounted repeater would extend signal range. Overall, the system will be stronger and more reliable than the current hand-held two-way devices that are now in use in the individual buildings. The proposed units will allow communication among district buildings and with emergency personnel. The BOE requested information on alternative systems as well as more information on the types of situations that the equipment would be used for before it takes action on May 4.
HEALTH, DENTAL INSURANCE RENEWAL RECOMMENDATION
The BOE discussed renewal options for district health and dental benefits. The district and its employees share the cost of this coverage; overall, the district pays 80% of insurance costs. Currently BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) provides medical coverage and also manages the district's self-insured dental benefits. The administration sent Requests for Proposal to 10 carriers and received proposals from three: Aetna, with a 10.1% increase; BCBS, with a 16.8% increase; and Educational Benefits Cooperative (EBC), with a 21.3% PPO increase, and a reduction of the HMO rate of -1.6%. The Glen Ellyn Education Association (GEEA) Insurance Review Team recommended EBC, which uses BCBS as its claims administrator. The GEEA team felt that EBC would provide a high level of customer service with the rate stability of a cooperative. It also liked some of the wellness benefits of the EBC plan. The Association of Federal, State, County and, Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Insurance Review Team recommended Aetna because of its lower rates and wellness benefit. The administration recommends continuing with BCBS coverage for 2009-2010 because employees are highly satisfied with BCBS, and its rates are lower than EBC's for PPO coverage, which is the plan most employees choose. In addition, although EBC's plan would provide the same coverage as the current BCBS plan, EBC requires a three-year commitment and that member districts to use EBC for Life Insurance and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance. Aetna's rates are the lowest of the three, but it has substantially fewer providers in network and potentially higher deductible costs. The administration also recommends renewing its agreement with BCBS for dental plan administration at an increase of 18.5%. The BOE will take action on these matters May 4.
BOE ACCEPTS MASTER FACILITY PLAN RECOMMENDATION
The BOE took action to accept the Master Facility Plan (MFP) recommendation. The recommendation is the work of a stakeholder committee and the BOE praised the quality of the recommendation and thanked the committee for its hard work. The recommendation provides broad direction for short-term, intermediate and long-term facility needs. In general, the recommendation addresses both bricks and mortar and the educational environment and includes conceptual illustrations of ways its recommendations could be implemented.
· In the long-term, the district's 32 portable classrooms should be eliminated and all children should be housed in the school buildings. Portables can isolate children, erode instructional time as children travel to and from services, and create safety and security issues. In time, portable costs can approach or exceed cost of permanent space.
· In the long-term, adequate and equitable small-group spaces should be created and/or relocated. Some of this type of space exists, but is usually remote from the classroom. Providing sufficient small-group spaces and better integrating them into the general instruction classroom vicinity makes them more convenient, more flexible, more conducive to collaborative teaching and better able to support dynamic learning and instructional strategies.
· In the short- and mid-term, the Board should determine which of the pressing matters identified by the site committees can be addressed, and implement an action plan.
BUDGET AMENDMENT NOTICE TO BE POSTED
The BOE approved posting notice of an amended budget
display and public hearing for the current 2008-2009
budget. The budget is being amended to incorporate a
number of changes: to reflect increased state revenues,
to reflect decreased federal revenues, and to realign
salaries and benefits. It also reflects inter-fund transfers
resulting from the district returning to the individual
fund method of accounting. The budget has been brought
into compliance with the 5% limitation on administrative
expenditures. The budget originally included estimates
of salaries and benefits, figures now amended based
on actual costs. In addition, some printing costs were
moved to a fund that is not subject to the administrative
cap. The BOE will take action on the recommendation
June 1. (This date has been corrected since the
The BOE approved administrative recommendations on
copier paper, printers, security server refresh, switch
replacement, actuarial services and food services.
Copier paper: The BOE approved the
low bid from Midland Paper for $34.50 a case.
Classroom printer replacement: The
BOE approved a four-year lease for 100 elementary
classroom printers. In order to get all printers on
the same lease cycle, the new lease will be combined
with the 2008 lease that covers printers for Hadley
and the district office. Total cost for the existing
200 and 100 new printers will be $32,576 annually.
Security server refresh: The BOE
approved a five-year buyout lease of equipment and
software from American Capital Leasing for a total
of $58,505 over the term of the lease.
Actuarial services: The BOE approved
an agreement with Donlon & Associates to prepare a
report on the value of district post-retirement medical
benefits and expenses for a fee not to exceed $7,500.
Food services: The BOE approved a
one-year renewal of its agreement with Aramark, which
provides cafeteria service at Hadley Junior High at
a fee increase of 4% (a reduction from the original
proposal of 6.3%). Costs for product and labor are
flow-through and may change by some other amount.
(The list above has been corrected since the
PREPARATION FOR THE "NEW" BOARD
The BOE meeting of May 4 will be essentially two meetings. First, the current board will meet, conclude its business, and adjourn. Then, the "new" board of continuing and newly elected members will open a second meeting to organize itself and elect its President, Vice President and Secretary, all of whom serve two-year terms. Current BOE Secretary Erica Nelson suggested that BOE members who are interested in leadership positions prepare a one-page summary explaining why they want to serve in that capacity and what they will bring to the position. If these summaries are provided to BOE members in advance of May 4, they will all have the same information and be better prepared to make a decision of whom to support. Current BOE President Terra Costa Howard, who was re-elected to the BOE, said that she will not seek another term as BOE President. In all, members of the newly organized BOE will be: Drew Ellis, Terra Costa Howard, Jack Kahler, Erica Nelson, Bob Solak, Dan Smith, Jr., and Steve Vondrak.
A parent requested that the next steps of the Master Facility Plan process include community engagement, particularly input from a special education committee, and urged a committee be formed to explore merging districts 41 and 89.
About the Glen Ellyn School District Board of Education
Board members are unpaid volunteers, each representing the whole district. The board is accountable to the public and makes decisions as a unit based on what is best for the whole district. The board hires the superintendent, sets instructional policy, approves the budget and ongoing expenditures, and is ultimately responsible for the performance of the district. Board meetings are working sessions held in public during which the board conducts its business, and ample time is always set aside for public participation.
Please direct your questions or comments to our Communications Director, Julie Worthen at email@example.com.