Board Briefs: March 2022

boe march 2022

The District 58 Board of Education held a Regular Meeting on Monday, March 14, 2022 at O'Neill Middle School. View the agenda for more information and links to presentations and documents. Watch the meeting video.

Approval: 2022-23 School Year Calendar 

The Board of Education approved the 2022-23 school year calendar. Calendar highlights include:

  • First Day of School: Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 23-25, 2022
  • Winter Break: Dec. 19, 2022 -Jan. 2, 2023
  • Spring Break: March 27-31, 2023
  • Last Day of School: Wednesday, June 7, 2023 (if no emergency days are used)

Featured School: O’Neill Middle School Flag Salute and Presentation

The O’Neill Middle School Student Council led the Board and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and shared some of the school and service projects that they’ve led this year. PTA President Suzette Stapleton virtually shared examples of how the PTA partners with the school to support students and the community at large.

Principal Matt Durbala and Assistant Principal Bryant Cobo presented O’Neill’s progress toward its school goals, specifically regarding introducing the “cycles of inquiry” instructional process with teachers, implementing a new social studies curriculum, improving technology use, enhancing communication and focusing on positive psychology to boost student and staff morale. 

Spotlight on our Schools: Planning for the 2022-23 School Year

Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Dr. Jayne Yudzentis and Assistant Superintendent for Special Services Jessica Stewart reported on District 58’s staffing planning for next school year. 2022-23 student registration has opened, and the District encourages families to complete registration promptly. The District uses anticipated student enrollment numbers to inform its staffing decisions.

Next year, District 58 will continue work toward these existing priorities: 

  • Maintain or decrease class sizes districtwide, where possible
  • Maintain consistent quality instructional programs districtwide
  • Maintain teacher support and continue the District’s Professional Learning Program (with a 2 p.m. student early release on Mondays).

To support these priorities, District 58 identified increased student support needs in the following areas for next school year:

  • Mental health and behavioral support: small FTE increases to the following positions: social worker, psychologist, middle school counselor and behavioral coach
  • Special education: small FTE increases to the following special education positions: RISE teacher, speech and language pathologist, psychologist, social worker
  • Curriculum development/implementation and dual language program support: small FTE increase to curriculum coordinator position
  • Classroom teacher: potential increase of up to three classroom teachers, based on anticipated enrollment for 2022-23

District 58 carefully considered budget impacts before recommending any staffing increases. In recent years, District 58 has strengthened its in-district special education programming, which ultimately decreased the District's need to outplace students in costly out-of-district programming, yielding significant savings. By reducing its outplacements, more District 58 students with special needs are also able to attend school in-district, which is beneficial for students and families. The District plans to use federal ESSER III funding (in FY 2023 and FY2024) as well as mental health grant funding to support some of these increases. All staffing increases are accounted for in the District’s draft Financial Plan.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Russell provided several updates, including:

  • Thank You: Dr. Russell thanked the O’Neill administration, PTA and Student Council for their Board presentation.
  • Curriculum: District 58 soon will administer the Illinois Assessment of Readiness and the Illinois Science Assessment. Learn more. The Board asked several questions regarding the potential creation of a two-way dual language program at the Feb. 28 Curriculum Workshop; the District is developing detailed answers to these questions and intends to place a Board action item on the April 11 Board agenda regarding the program.
  • Technology: The Technology Department is preparing for next month’s IAR testing.
  • Student Services: Erin's Law requires all Illinois students in preschool through 12th grade to receive age-appropriate instruction regarding sexual assault and abuse prevention. This year, students in kindergarten through sixth grade will participate in lessons aligned with the District’s core curricular resource for social-emotional learning, Second Step. Second Step’s Child Protection Unit presents instruction in a developmentally appropriate way and explicitly teaches ways to stay safe, recognize safe and unsafe touches, and seek help. Prior to teaching Erin’s Law, school principals will send an email home to families.

    After spring break, District 58 will launch Safe2Help, a resource that students, staff and families can use to confidentially report potential mental health and safety concerns.
  • Community Relations: Student registration for 2022-23 is now open. DIstrict 58 asks returning students to submit registration by Monday, April 4; new student registration is open indefinitely. 
  • The Education Foundation has opened applications for its two annual spring programs, Select 58 and the Distinguished Service Awards. Select 58 annually recognizes 58 eighth graders from Herrick and O’Neill for community and school service. Eighth graders can apply now through Monday, March 21 at
  • The Distinguished Service Awards annually recognize District 58 staff who exceed expectations. Any community member can nominate a staff member for a DSA now through Wednesday, March 23 at
  • Finance: District 58 is preparing the final draft of its rolling Five-Year Financial Plan, which will be finalized in April.
  • Facilities: District 58 just completed its facility community engagement sessions; they were well attended by staff, current families, and by community members without children in District 58. “The intent of the sessions was to show the current state of our facilities and discuss what a potential referendum could do for the District. We truly appreciate everyone that participated as the feedback received was invaluable,” Dr. Russell said.
  • Other: Dr. Russell reported that District 58 is looking to transition elementary lunch to a more typical pre-COVID format after spring break. Many surrounding districts have already made this transition; District 58 will work with principals and teachers to assess how best to achieve this transition.

Business Report 

Assistant Superintendent for Business Todd Drafall reported that the District’s transportation expenditures are below budget due to route consolidation, and revenues are slightly higher than anticipated due to increased revenue from the corporate personal property replacement tax. He noted that the Board would be asked to approval several bids for summer 2022 construction work at this March meeting.

Drafall also reviewed the draft Five-Year Financial Plan. The draft plan is still in progress; the Board will likely be asked to approve the final plan at the April Board meeting. The draft plan calls for District 58 to maintain a 35% fund balance policy and accounts for anticipated expenditures and revenues, while considering the impacts of inflation, future contracts, the dissolution of the Downers Grove Downtown TIF and more.

Committee Reports 

Member Emily Hanus reported on the Feb. 23 Legislative Committee meeting. The committee discussed the recent Legislative Forum, reviewed survey feedback, and used these discussions and feedback to inform early planning for the 2023 Legislative Forum.

President Darren Hughes reported on the March 11 Financial Advisory Committee meeting. The committee reviewed the draft financial plan presentation and discussed contracts, supply chain challenges and their impact on the bidding process, upcoming summer work, the District's fund balance, capital spending and the tax cap. Per tax cap law, District 58 can only levy for property tax increases equal to the consumer price index (CPI) or 5%, whichever is lower. CPI will be higher than 5% next year, which means that inflation (and many expenditure costs) will outpace the property tax revenue increases.

Member Tracy Weiner reported on the Feb. 28 District Leadership Team meeting. As connected to Strategic Goal 1: Focusing on Learning, ECRA CEO John Gatta previewed his key performance indicator presentation (which he also presented to the full Board during the Feb. 28 Curriculum Workshop). The team also discussed updates regarding Strategic Goal 2: Connecting the Community and Goal 3: Securing the Future.

Vice President Gregory Harris reported on the March 3 Health and Wellness Committee meeting. District 58’s medical reserve fund (MRF) finished 2021 with a $375,000 deficit and projects that 2022 will finish with a smaller deficit as well. However, the MRF completed the 2020 calendar year with a surplus large enough to balance out the actual 2021 deficit, as well as the anticipated smaller 2022 deficit. 

During the Meeting, the Board Also:

  • Approved minutes from the Feb. 10 Special Meeting, Feb. 14 Regular Meeting, Feb. 22 Special Meeting, Feb. 28 Curriculum Workshop and March 7 Curriculum Workshop.
  • Approved all items posted in the consent agenda, including the appointment of Tracey Ratner to the Indian Trail School principal position, starting July 1, 2022.
  • Awarded a bid for paving improvements at Henry Puffer and Hillcrest to Maneval Construction Company for $183,876.
  • Awarded bids for masonry remediation at El Sierra, Highland and Kingsley to A.L.L. Masonry for $214,550.
  • Awarded a bid for asbestos abatement at Henry Puffer to Valor Inc. for $107,500.
  • Awarded bids for flooring replacement at Henry Puffer to Ashlaur Construction Company for $224,900.
  • Awarded a bid for fire alarm replacement at Henry Puffer and Highland to AMS Mechanical for $397,375.
  • Awarded a bid for door replacement at Fairmount to Lake Shore Glass for $147,000.
  • Awarded a bid for 2022-23 trash and recycling services to Environmental at a rate of $4.10/yard for garbage; $7.20/tote for recycling and $17/yard for on-call in summer.
  • Awarded a bid for 2022-23 general supplies to Quill for an estimated $29,458.36.
  • Awarded a bid for 2022-23 art supplies to School Specialty for an estimated $13,546.16.
  • Adopted 57 policy manual revisions.
  • Affirmed all current District 58 COVID-19 mitigations.
  • Approved the purchase of Quaver Music curriculum resources for a five-year period for $85,750.
  • Voted to table the vote to approve the first two District 58 key performance indicators until receiving additional context and data into the benchmarks selected for these two KPIs.
  • Approved a resolution regarding the honorable dismissal of teachers. Annually, positions are reduced pending enrollment and staffing plans for the upcoming year. As in years past, as soon as District 58 opens its 2022-23 enrollment process and can verify its enrollment needs for next school year, the District will call back these important employees.
  • Approved the contract extension with First Student Transportation for the 2022-23 school year; the extension increases current route prices by 10%.
  • Approved the contract extension with Sunrise Transportation for special education transportation for the 2022-23 school year; the extension increases current route prices by 13%.
  • Approved contract rates for Kids Kab for the 2022-23 school year; the new contract increases the Kids Kab rates by 14.66%.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board of Education Meeting at 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.