Featured School: Belle Aire School Flag Salute and Presentation
The Belle Aire Student Council led the Board and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and shared examples of how they spread kindness and build school spirit. View the Student Council presentation. Principal Brent Borchelt presented this video highlighting math, reading and positive psychology at Belle Aire. PTA Co-President Nicole Smith reported on the many ways the PTA supports Belle Aire students, staff and families, and noted their Belle Aire playground fundraising efforts.
Spotlight on our Schools: District 58 Facilities
Assistant Superintendent for Business Todd Drafall and Director of Buildings and Grounds Kevin Barto gave the Board an update on District 58’s facilities. District 58 developed a Master Facility Plan that identified $244.8 million in facility needs in August 2019. The District formed a representative Citizen Task Force in fall 2019 to prioritize these needs, organize community engagement, and ultimately pursue a bond referendum. The task force held several productive meetings and in March 2020 recommended District 58 prioritize $179 million in facility needs that focused on deferred maintenance, safe and healthy school environments, and reconfiguring the middle schools to include sixth graders. After pausing facility work due to the pandemic, District 58 reconvened the Citizen Task Force last summer, and the group affirmed their March 2020 recommendation. District 58 will begin a facility community engagement and education process later this school year and will potentially pursue a bond referendum in November 2022.
In the meantime, urgent facility needs exist in District 58. Years of deferred maintenance have taken a toll on the District’s buildings, and many have failing and deteriorating infrastructure. Last school year, District 58 restructured its debt and applied for and received an Illinois School Maintenance Project Grant. This enabled the District to spend approximately $3.3 million during summer 2021 on a few of the most urgent capital projects.
Earlier this year, District 58 sold its Longfellow Center for $4.155 million. $3 million of this funding will be used for summer 2022 capital projects. The remainder of the proceeds will be placed in a fund balance to help manage the low cash point in the year and, if needed, for emergency capital work. Mr. Barto reported that District 58 prioritizes health and life safety capital projects, and next summer’s work will address masonry maintenance, fire alarm replacements and exterior door/hardware replacement, among other work. District 58 plans to seek construction bid approvals for summer 2022 during the February and/or March 2022 Board meeting.
The Downtown Downers Grove TIF will expire this year, which may provide District 58 with additional funding for capital projects. However, any funding increase from the TIF’s expiration will not nearly be enough to cover District 58’s facility needs.
Dr. Russell provided information and updates on the following topics.
- Jan. 3 is a Teacher Institute Day.
- First trimester concluded Nov. 19.
- Middle school grades are now available on the PowerSchool portal.
- Elementary report cards will be sent home on Dec. 9.
- Family/staff equity surveys are open through Dec. 17; student surveys will be administered Dec. 16.
- District 58’s tax levy will be submitted to the county clerk this week.
- Green Apple Awards are being presented.
- Technology supply chain delays will prompt District 58 to request Board approval for its 2022-23 elementary 1:1 device order in January/February 2022, earlier than usual.
- District 58 has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases; the District will continue to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols to keep students and staff safe and to continue in-person instruction.
- Several organizations and individuals have generously donated food, winter wear, holiday gifts and more to help District 58 students and families in need.
- Schools will be closed Dec. 20-31 for winter break. District offices will be closed Dec. 22-24 and Dec. 30-31.
Mr. Drafall reported that District 58 is nearly halfway through its fiscal year, and the budget is in good shape. He highlighted some of the finance-related recommendations for action that the Board would be voting on later in the meeting. Board President Darren Hughes asked for more information regarding the new state-required 457(b) supplemental savings program action item. Drafall explained that a new law requires all Illinois school districts to offer its employees an Illinois Teacher Retirement System (TRS) 457(b) retirement plan, even if they already have their own 457(b) plan, as District 58 does. Effective next July, all new TRS employees will be automatically enrolled in the TRS 457(b) plan, with the option to opt out. District 58 will communicate information on this new plan to current qualified staff and include it in its future onboarding programs.
Member Kirat Doshi reported that the Nov. 15 District Leadership Team meeting discussed the District’s work developing the Portrait of a Graduate and new key performance indicators. Click here to watch the Committee Reports.
During the Meeting, the Board Also:
- Approved minutes from the Nov. 8 Regular Meeting.
- Approved all items in the consent agenda.
- Listened to brief presentations from the Belle Aire and Kingsley communities, formally announcing their intent to begin playground fundraising efforts. The Board supported these efforts.
- Adopted a resolution to approve the TRS Employer Participation Agreement for the 457(b) Supplemental Savings Program.
- Approved an agreement between ECRA Consulting Group and District 58 for $29,398.
- Awarded a bid for moving services to Advanced Moving & Storage for $23,500.
- Designated 26 iPad Minis, four Apple Mac Minis, a ream cutter, a floor scrubber and a file cabinet as surplus equipment.
- Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 3:45 p.m.: Legislative Committee Meeting at Herrick Middle School
- Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 3:45 p.m.: Legislative Committee Meeting at Herrick Middle School
- Friday, Jan. 7 at 7 a.m.: Financial Advisory Committee Meeting at O’Neill Middle School
- Monday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at O’Neill Middle School
- Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 7 a.m.: Policy Committee Meeting at Herrick Middle School
District 58 Board of Education members are: Darren Hughes, president; Gregory Harris, vice president; Kirat Doshi, Melissa Ellis, Emily Hanus, Steven Olczyk and Tracy Weiner, with Dr. Kevin Russell, superintendent; and Melissa Jerves, board secretary.