Board Briefs: September 2022

September 2022 board meeting

The District 58 Board of Education held a Regular Meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 at O’Neill Middle School. View the agenda. View the meeting video.

School Report: Hillcrest School

Hillcrest School sixth grade representatives led the Board and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and reported on their favorite parts of their school. Responses included the playground, the Hillcrest Families program, field day, the Mystery Readers and Partners in Art programs, kindergarten handprint tradition, and the Hillcrest staff. PTA Co-Presidents Susie Howe and Beth Nelson shared how the PTA helps build community through events and activities. Principal Michelle Rzepka shared that this year’s school theme is “We are Family,” and presented 2021-22 academic data highlights, using District 58’s new ECRA data review process. She noted that students performed well on the Measures of Academic Progress and Illinois Assessment of Readiness tests last school year, but a deep analysis of assessment data identified writing, and particularly written expression, as an area for improvement. This year’s Hillcrest school improvement plan includes specific classroom goals related to writing, as well as writing-related checkpoints on designated Professional Learning Mondays. View their presentation.

Budget Hearing and Approval

The Board of Education held a public hearing on the proposed 2022-23 budget and later unanimously voted to adopt it. The budget is balanced; revenues exceed expenditures for operating funds by $3.2 million. Assistant Superintendent for Business Todd Drafall noted that the budget was informed by the District’s Five Year Financial Plan and follows the District’s 35% fund balance policy.

During the public hearing, the Board received one public comment from a community member regarding the District’s lease agreement with the VIllage.

View the 2022-23 budget. View the 2022-23 budget memo.

Spotlight on our Schools: Enrollment Update

Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Dr. Jayne Yudzentis presented a staffing and enrollment update. District 58’s enrollment remains steady at 4,912 students.

District 58 has continued to improve staffing allocations to decrease class sizes and make average class sizes more equitable districtwide. District 58 aims to achieve the following class size targets: 

  • Grades K-2: 80% of classrooms will have 24 or fewer students
  • Grades 3-8: 80% of classrooms will have 26 or fewer students 

Dr. Yudzentis shared that most grade levels met their class size targets. She noted that at the middle school level, there were instances in which class sizes deliberately exceeded the size target. For example, several sixth graders travel to middle school for math. The District prioritized keeping sixth grade peer groups together in middle school math classes, even if it meant the class sizes slightly exceeded the target.

Dr. Yudzentis noted that District 58 has increased its student support positions, with a focus on consistency across all schools and equitable opportunities for support. Schools continually monitor student progress and re-evaluate needs and adjust supports as appropriate.

School Board members shared appreciation for the level of detail in this year’s enrollment report. 

View the presentation.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Russell provided several updates, including:

  • Hillcrest Thank You: Dr. Russell thanked the Hillcrest students, staff, principal and families for presenting to the Board.
  • School Board Award: The Illinois Association of School Boards awarded the District 58 Board of Education with the School Board Governance Recognition. District 58’s Board is one of only 33 boards in Illinois to earn this honor. This award acknowledges school boards that have modeled excellence in local school governance in support of quality education.
  • Communication Awards: The Illinois chapter of the National School Public Relations Association, or INSPRA, presented District 58 with five communication awards last week. The District earned three awards of excellence for its facilities video series, annual report and family handbook, as well as awards of merit for its community and staff newsletters. This summer, the National School Public Relations Association recognized District 58 with awards of excellence for the District’s community newsletter and annual report and an honorable mention for its facility videos.
  • Curriculum Nights: District 58 looks forward to hosting in-person Curriculum Nights at all schools in the coming weeks.
  • Bus Challenges: Labor shortages have presented several busing challenges this school year. Dr. Russell thanked students and families for their patience and flexibility while the District has worked with its transportation providers to ensure all students are routed.
  • Personnel: In accordance with Illinois School Code, District 58 will post its IMRF and teacher/administration compensation reports on the District website by Sept. 13.
  • Technology: The school year is off to a strong start! All devices and software programs were ready prior to school starting, and the student schedule release was successful. Initial preparations are underway for parent-teacher conference signup.
  • Special Needs Resource Fair: District 58’s Building Bridges PTA Group will host a Special Needs Resource Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at the downtown Downers Grove Moose Lodge. All are welcome to attend to learn more about local organizations committed to supporting students of all abilities.
  • Oktoberfest: The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 will hold Oktoberfest in downtown Downers Grove this Friday from 3-11 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Education Foundation. Learn more at

Business Report 

Assistant Superintendent for Business Todd Drafall reported that District 58’s iPad purchase is reflected in this month’s Business Report. This purchase was funded primarily by a federal grant, and the grant funding reimbursement will be reflected in next month’s report.

In preparation for potential future capital updates, District 58 began the process to select a construction management firm. After carefully interviewing and vetting several options, the Board’s Financial Advisory Committee recommended three construction management at-risk firms for Board approval. As required by Illinois School Code, District 58 will develop a contract with the top-ranked firm; if terms cannot be reached, the District would move on to the second-ranked firm. If this November’s referendum is successful, District 58 will likely bring a final contract for Board approval at the November meeting. 

Committee Reports

President Darren Hughes reported on the Financial Advisory Committee’s Sept. 9 meeting. The committee discussed the proposed budget and construction management firm options, and reached consensus on using a construction manager at-risk firm, as opposed to other types of construction management options. 

During the Meeting, the Board Also:

  • Approved the list of construction management firms in this order: 1) Bulley & Andrews, 2) Lamp Incorporated, 3) Pepper Construction. 
  • Approved Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell’s employment contract for 2022-27, having found that Dr. Russell has met the performance goals set forth in his existing contract. 
  • Approved the purchase of the Math 180 math intervention program.
  • Designated as surplus a John Deere 445 tractor and multiple computer charging carts.

Upcoming Events

  • Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 a.m.: Financial Advisory Committee Meeting at O”Neill
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at O’Neill

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.