Board Briefs: May 8, 2023

Board Briefs: May 8, 2023

The District 58 Board of Education held a meeting on Monday, May 8 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Downers Grove Village Hall. The public may view the agenda here and when the video is processed you may view the meeting on the District’s YouTube channel.  

The meeting was designated as three separate meetings: a reorganization meeting, as required following the April 4 election, a regular business meeting and a workshop meeting to hold training in advance of Strategic Planning. 

The Reorganization Meeting 

Board members Emily Hanus, Steven Olczyk ​​and Kirat Doshi, who ran unopposed for re-election to the Board on April 4, were sworn in and the election results were ratified. After taking the oath of office, the three each commented thanking the public for entrusting them to serve for another four years and said they were honored to serve the District 58 community. 

The Board then held a nomination process for officers and unanimously elected Darren Hughes as board president and Gregory Harris as vice president. Superintendent’s secretary Melissa Jerves was re-appointed as secretary to the board and her stipend was approved. 

The following committee appointments were also approved:

Policy Committee
Gregory Harris - chair
Tracey Weiner - board member
Meetings will be held 7 a.m. Tuesdays when IASB PRESS policy updates are issued

Legislative Committee
Emily Hanus - Chair
Melissa Ellis - Board member
Meetings will be held on Wednesdays at 3:45 p.m. four times during the school year

District Leadership
TeamTracy Weiner - Chair
Kirat Doshi - Board member
Meetings will be held quarterly on Mondays at 3:45 p.m.

Financial Advisory Committee
Darren Hughes - Chair
Steve Olyczyk - Board member
Meetings will be held bimonthly on the second Friday at 7 a.m.

Other appointments

  • Illinois Association of School Board Representative (Delegate) - Emily Hanus
  • LEND Representative - Gregory Harris
  • SASED Governing Board Representative - Emily Hanus
  • SASED Governing Board Alternate - Gregory Harris
  • SASED Board of Directors Alternate - Gregory Harris
  • Health & Wellness Committee Liaison - Gregory Harris
  • Education Foundation Representative - Kirat Doshi
  • Village of Downers Grove Plan Commission - Darren Hughes

The Board also established a calendar for meetings from July 2023 - June 2024. They  will meet on the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. All business meetings will be held at the Downers Grove Village Hall. Additionally, there will be a Curriculum Workshop and a Financial/Budget Workshop meeting, which will be held at O’Neill Middle School on Oct. 23, 2023 and Feb. 26, 2024 respectively. 

Board meeting calendar July 2023- June 2024

Featured School: Lester  

At the regular business meeting, the Lester Student Council led the Board and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and highlighted service and school activities they’ve led, including selling stickers and raising $1,200 for gift cards for families in need, a winter giving tree, a “Souper Bowl” food drive, and collecting pop top tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald Charity, among others. PTA president-elect Kristen Wiklund detailed the successful PTA events such as the inaugural Lester World’s Fair, Science Olympiad, Fall Fun Run and scholarship awards to Lester alums.

Principal Katie Novosel and Assistant Principal Lauri Smith presented information on the school’s assessment data and how setting goals to improve reading and writing improved writing abilities and test scores from fall to winter. Mrs. Novosel also outlined “Lester Life” initiatives including classroom buddies and a focus on monthly character traits that tied them to the student recognition program “Spotted Being Good.”

Superintendent’s Report 

Dr. Russell provided several updates, including:

Registration: Dr. Russell reported that about 77% of families have registered their children for the 2023-24 year. He urged families to complete registration as it will allow the District to finalize staffing plans for the coming year.

Curriculum & Instruction - On public display at the District office and public library is the proposed new writing curriculum. It will be considered for adoption by the Board in June. 

Finance: Tax bills were delivered and reflect increases from the referendum as well as regular annual levy increases. He noted that for regular levies, the District is limited by the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to raise the levy by 5% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less, plus any new construction. He advised residents with questions to reach out to Assistant Superintendent of Business Todd Drafall.  

Special services - Dr. Russell noted that the District is working with specialized transportation services to ensure a smooth start to next year given the ongoing transportation challenges associated with the start of the school year. He said the district is asking families whose children require special education transport to submit their families’ transportation plan for next year by June 1.

Facilities - Dr. Russell noted a Chicago Tribune article that detailed the results of a 2017 law requiring elementary schools to test for lead in their water and mentioned the District’s compliance with testing. Dr. Russell said the District is committed to ongoing testing of potable water in its buildings, mitigating any issues and publishing the results. Results of the testing are reported on the District’s Finance and Transparency webpage. 

Community Relations - Fifty-four students were honored last week for their service and citizenship as part of the District 58 Foundation’s Select 58 Awards. He thanked Chair Drew Nastal for organizing. Next week the Foundation will honor staff nominees for the Distinguished Service Awards and announce two winners. On May 15-16, the District will welcome 100 community members to develop priorities and themes as the District begins a new Strategic Planning process.

Treasurer’s Report

Assistant Superintendent Todd Drafall reported that the District is in good financial shape and noted this is the time of year when it is at a low cash point. He also reported that the Five-Year Financial Plan, which was presented to the Board last month and will be considered for final approval tonight, was presented to the Financial Advisory Council. Also, the board will hold a hearing on the amended budget at its June meeting. Finally, he detailed the District’s process of selecting an Owner's Representative to oversee the large construction projects and serve as an advocate of the District.

During the Meetings, the Board also:

  • Approved minutes from the April 10 Business Meeting.
  • Approved minutes from the April 24 Financial and Curriculum Workshop.
  • Approved all items in the consent agenda.
  • Heard reports on the Board’s Policy Committee meeting on April 18, 2023 and the Financial Advisory Committee meeting on April 24, 2023.
  • Approved on first reading modifications to personnel policy 5.3330 for educational support personnel, adding “mental health” to a category of conditions for sick leave as recommended by the Illinois Association of School Board’s PRESS policy; among other changes.
  • Approved the District’s five-year financial plan, which had been presented at the Board’s April 10 meeting and outlined in the previous Board Briefs.
  • Approved an agreement to hire Huffman Keel Partners as Owner’s Representative to oversee facility construction and improvement projects and serve as an advocate for the District for $1,311,000.
  • Approved the purchase of 600 Chromebooks for 7th-grade student use with Google device licenses for $142,800 from CDW-G. The new Chromebooks will not have touch functionality, like previous ones, as they are more prone to screen damage. 
  • Approved the recommendation for a 10-year Life Safety survey for Henry Puffer School as required by state statute.
  • Approved an agreement with the Kingsley PTA for a $11,216 donation to the school to help fund an accessible playground.
  • A recommendation to designate some older equipment (computer carts and clipper carpet machine) as surplus so that it can be sold.
  • Approved the purchase of BCI Burke play equipment for the Henry Puffer School playground at a total cost of $76,441.43; and the installation bid of $177,504 to Kenneth Company. The cost will be offset by a $255,000 state grant.
  • Approved a bid of $36,120 to CGMT of Elk Grove Village for geotechnical work at the two middle schools in preparation for facility construction. This will include performing and analyzing soil borings and related environmental studies in accordance with EPA regulations,   

At the Workshop portion of the meeting, Strategic Planning consultant Robert Madonia provided training for board members and administrators on facilitating Strategic Planning sessions that will take place on May 15 and May 16. 

To view all Board meeting topics, view the agenda.

Public Comment

There was no public comment during any of the comment opportunities.

Upcoming Events

  • May 15 and 16, 2023, 6 - 9:30 p.m. Strategic Planning Committee, O'Neill Middle School 
  • June 12, 2023, 7 p.m. Regular Board Meeting, Downers Grove Village Hall

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.