Board Briefs: July 2022

board briefs july 2022

The District 58 Board of Education held a Regular Meeting on Monday, July 11, 2022 at Belle Aire School. View the agenda. View the meeting video.

Curriculum Discussion

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Justin Sisul led a discussion on spring assessment results and next steps, draft key performance indicator #3, and the District’s e-learning plan.

Spring Assessment Results

Last school year, District 58 partnered with ECRA, an education strategic planning firm, to more deeply analyze its assessment data to drive informed improvements. District 58 shared the ECRA analysis of its spring 2022 Measures of Academic Progress assessment during the June 2022 Board meeting. Additional ECRA reports will be received and shared in the fall. This summer, District and building leaders will use ECRA’s spring data analysis to guide school improvement plans, which will be shared with the Board in August. 

Draft Key Performance Indicator #3

District 58 presented a follow-up to last month’s Board presentation on draft key performance indicator (KPI) #3: Social and Emotional Competencies. District 58 teaches social-emotional learning skills but lacks an assessment to measure the effectiveness of this instruction. The District researched several social-emotional learning assessment solutions, and recommended partnering with a third-party assessment vendor and shared several advantages to this option. Board members engaged in conversation and provided a wide variety of perspectives. Board members recognized the value of measuring social-emotional learning proficiencies, but some questioned whether a third-party assessment is the best solution. The Board requested more information before making a decision on this recommendation.

E-Learning Plan

The Board approved District 58’s 2021-2024 E-Learning Plan in August 2021. At that time, the Board directed District 58 to use e-learning days only when the District needed to use consecutive emergency days. Otherwise, traditional emergency days (also called snow days) would be used. During the 2021-22 school year, District 58 used two snow days, which added two days to the end of the school year. Mr. Sisul briefly reviewed the approved e-learning plan and asked the Board to discuss whether the plan continues to meet the District’s needs and whether the Board would like to continue or change its position on using e-learning days.

The Board didn’t have any suggested changes to the content of the e-learning plan. However, Board members held varying opinions regarding when the District should or should not enact the e-learning plan, with some members advocating to use an e-learning day in lieu of a snow day, and other members supporting the existing plan to only use an e-learning day when consecutive days home are expected. Ultimately, the majority of the Board supported giving the District greater flexibility regarding when to use an e-learning day, instead of a traditional snow day. 

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell said that the District would continue to assess its e-learning plan on an annual basis. For the 2022-23 school year, the District will use an e-learning day, in lieu of a snow day, only if staff have adequate time to prepare e-learning materials to make the day meaningful. Otherwise, the District will call a snow day. The District will communicate this process with families and staff in the fall.

Approval: DGCMA Contract

The Board approved a new four-year collective bargaining agreement with the Downers Grove Custodial Maintenance Association (DGCMA). The DGCMA ratified the contract on Friday, July 8.

“District 58 has a phenomenal custodial and maintenance team, and I am proud that we collaboratively negotiated a new contract that offers competitive raises and benefits,” said Dr. Russell. “The contract also considers the District’s finances and ensures continued fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers. I commend the negotiations team for their many hours of collaborative efforts in support of this contract agreement!”

Highlights of the new contract include:

  • Annual salary increases of 8.5%, 5%, 3%, and a CPI-based increase with the floor of 2% and ceiling of 4%, respectively.  
  • A shift in health insurance costs where a greater percentage of the premiums will be paid by employees while maintaining the high level of benefits.
  • The contract increases the eligibility for employees to access retirement benefits, while also protecting the District from additional costs associated with penalties from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
  • During the public comment portion of the meeting, DGCMA President Angie Rybarczyk shared her appreciation for the negotiation team, noting that the process went smoothly and a fair contract was made. 

The DGCMA represents the District’s full-time and part-time custodial and maintenance employees. 

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell provided several updates, including:

  • Equity Audit: District 58 anticipates receiving a first draft of the District’s equity audit results in the next two weeks. The central office team will review the draft and confer with the auditor before finalizing results, likely by the end of August. This October, the Illinois State Board of Education will begin to evaluate all Illinois school districts on their Equity Journey Continuum. District 58’s staff District Equity Leadership Team will provide a first interpretation of the audit’s results, as well as review the District’s ratings on the Equity Journey Continuum. District 58 will begin to have quality, robust conversations regarding the audit results and the continuum with the Board in October or November 2022.
  • Finance: District 58’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget concluded with a surplus. The District also settled labor contracts with all three labor union contracts. Dr. Russell noted that these contracts, combined with the sale of Longfellow and the approval of the intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Downers Grove (on a shared office space), clearly demonstrate the District’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and long-term viability.
  • Personnel: To keep competitive with surrounding school districts, District 58 recommends increasing substitute teacher pay to $150/day and substitute instructional assistant pay to $98/day. These proposed increases will be voted on in August; if approved, they would go into effect on Aug. 25.
  • Technology: The District sold its first batch of 264 iPads on Public Surplus for $91/iPad. This is a good buyback price, as the devices originally cost $280 in 2018. District 58 will be selling an additional 2,800 iPads this summer, either through Public Surplus or through other competitive vendors.
  • Student Services: District 58’s summer special education program, called Extended School Year, is wrapping up. The program served 90 students with special needs for 20 days this summer.
  • Public Relations: The National School Public Relations Association, or NSPRA, recently named District 58 the recipient of two School Communication Awards of Excellence: one for the 2021 District 58 Annual Report and one for the biweekly Communicate 58 newsletter. An “Award of Excellence” is NSPRA’s highest award level, and only a small number of school districts nationwide earn it. District 58 also received an NSPRA Honorable Mention recipient for the four-part facility planning video series.
  • Facilities: Summer construction projects are underway and on schedule so far. Supply chain lead times and the union strike of quarry workers could affect a couple of the projects, but so far the projects are going well. 

Business Report 

Assistant Superintendent for Business Todd Drafall reported that the 2021-22 budget closed June 30, 2022 with revenues exceeding expenditures. Mr. Drafall also noted two areas where District 58 went over budget: snow removal and emergency repairs. This winter’s heavy snowfall necessitated increased snow removal costs. There were also several emergency school building repairs, such as pipe bursts, that required contractors to work overtime (and often overnight) to complete the repair to ensure the school was operational in the morning. These emergency repairs were very costly and higher than budgeted.

The corporate personal property replacement tax, or CPPRT, is a state tax on corporate income. Mr. Drafall noted that this year’s CPPRT tax receipts came in 230% above what District 58 had estimated, resulting in additional revenues.

During the Meeting, the Board Also:

(Please view the Board meeting agenda to view supporting documents for the following topics.)

  • Approved minutes from the June 13 regular Board Meeting
  • Approved all items posted in the consent agenda
  • Approved 15 draft policies from PRESS Issue 109
  • Approved the deletion of Policy 4:182 - Temporary Rules - Face Coverings During COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as approved changes to Policy 7:190 - Student Behavior
  • Adopted a resolution of nomination for membership on the Downers Grove Plan Commission
  • Approved an intergovernmental lease agreement with the Village of Downers Grove, as well as adopted a resolution waiving the TIF reimbursement
  • Set the cost for a reimbursable paid lunch at $3.25 for the 2022-23 school year
  • Approved a 3-year agreement with CDWG for 335 Cisco FLEX phone user licenses for a total cost of $63,315
  • Approved a bid for Highland School roof repairs to A-1 Roofing Company of Elk Grove Village, IL at a cost of $48,000

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board 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.