Summary of June 16, 2020 Board of Education Meeting

Summary of June 16, 2020 Board of Education Meeting


Recognition of Visitors:

#1 One parent expressed her wish that parent input would be part of the return to school plan.

#2 A parent expressed concern that the deadline for registration was not convenient.

#3 A parent asked if there will be an e-learning option for a student with a pre-existing lung condition.

#4 A parent shared that we need to consider having students wear face masks for the safety of young children and teachers.

#5 A visitor advocated for onsite classroom instruction, her son with Down Syndrome grew a lot during his in class instruction.

#6 A parent believes the district should consider all options for students to return to school.

#7 A parent advocated that the district acknowledge a policy that is free of prejudice, free of inequality and free of injustice for all students and staff.

#8 A parent expressed interest in participating in the remote learning task force.

#9 A parent shared her belief that socialization and student participation in an in school session was important to their well-being.

#10 Another parent stated that every parent should have an opportunity to express interest in being on the remote learning task force.

#11 One mom advocated that we need to consider students with disabilities when planning for in class sessions.

#12 A mother stressed the need for a common sense approach to any flexibility given to the district for this fall.

#13 A Homer 33C teacher expressed her position that “All Black Lives Matter.”


Homer Council Report:

Co-President Tammie Ebel reported they were part of the Remote Learning Task Force. They stressed that teachers did an amazing job with remote learning during the three months. Ms. Ebel stated that while we successfully completed this extremely difficult task. We know we can continue to improve.


Homer Support Staff Council Report:

Co-President Susan Koziarski said Stella and her were looking forward to working on the remote learning task force.


The following were approved:


●      Melody Johnson - Physical Education Teacher at Schilling

●      Kathleen Lewandowski - Special Education Teacher at Butler School

●      Lisa Wentz - Transitional Program of Instruction at Hadley Middle School

●      Stephanie Chamberlin - Special Education Teacher at Young School

●      Jane Petschow - Psychologist at Goodings Grove School

●      Rusty Novotny - Multi Media Specialist at Homer Jr. High School


Leave of absence:

●      Carrie Pufunt - 4th Grade Teacher at Schilling School - eff. 8/17/20-10/30/20, returning on 11/2/20 (correction)

Employment Recommendation(s):

●      Erin Lavelle - 4th grade teacher at Young School

●      Bridget Ryan - Psychologist at Butler School

●      Kerrie Heeney - Media Center Professional at Goodings Grove


Employment Recommendation(s) for ESY staff: 

●      Jeanette Bobak – 2nd/Fazio-Paraprofessional

●      Janine Kozubowski –S.I./Benton – Paraprofessional

●      Laura Walsh – Speech/Language


Al Kirkus, Assistant Superintendent for Business provided an update on the budget.


Monthly Financial Update:

In May the district spent $3.9M ($3,927,554) and took in $5.7M ($5,691,016), resulting in an increase in our fund balance of 1.8M ($1,763,461). We started the month with $22M ($22,063,498) and ended the month at $23.8M ($23,826,959).

Starting in December, the district's operating expenditures have been trending under budget - $3.5M ($3,524,134) as of the end of May. In addition, the district's revenues are running higher than projected - $1.9M ($1,962,462) higher as of the end of May.


Directors’ Reports:

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Michael Portwood, provided an update on Staffing, Enrollment, Personnel, and Registration/Residency reporting. His presentation will be attached in an email to you.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Mike Szopinski, reported he is currently working on an electronic mentoring binder for new teachers. In order to save paper and district administrative hours, we are going electronic. In addition, over time, he plans on adding videos of exemplary teaching into  electronic mentor binder to support new teachers.

Mr. Szopinski reported the Title Grants have come out. Our initial allotment for Title 1 is $183,179. We plan on using the money to pay for Title 1 math interventionists for Young, Goodings, Hadley and Homer Junior High. Title II, we received $51,118. We will train Hadley and Homer Jr. High administrators on best practices in Carnegie Math with Title II money. In addition, we will pay for all of our phonics training for K-2nd grade grade teachers with Title II money.  Title 4, we received $12,660, we will use this money for our general music education classes to increase their musical instrument inventory. Mr. Szopinski will bring the Title application to the board in July for board approval.

In addition, Mr. Szopinski is in the process of planning Eureka math coaching for our teachers in all elementary buildings. There will be two steps to the sessions, plan with an Eureka math coach, then, the teachers will co-teaching an Eureka lesson with two other teachers observing the lesson. In 2021-2022, we will have Eureka coaching sessions at Hadley Middle School. 

On August 7, from 8-noon, Mr. Szopinski will be training all new teachers on research/evidence based components of quality teachers. He will be using Dr. John Hattie’s research to guide his presentation for teachers.

Good news: teachers will be receiving 12 hours of professional credit, 3 hours per day, for the remote learning planning days of April 14, April 27, May 11 and May 18.


Superintendent Report:

2020-2021 School Year Update


The Illinois State Board of Education is expected to release guidelines this week or next to prepare districts for the fall. In preparation for next school year, our remote learning task force consisting of administrators, staff and parents is set to meet on Thursday to begin planning for the possible scenarios we may face next school year.  The focus of our first meeting will be to review our current remote learning plan and make any necessary changes to better support our students if remote learning is necessary during any point of the school year. 

Once ISBE releases the guidelines, the remote learning task force will conduct additional meetings to plan on how to meet those guidelines.  The district will also send out surveys to our parents and staff to allow our stakeholders a voice on how to implement those guidelines.  The ultimate priority will be to keep students and staff safe and healthy, while focusing on student learning.

Message to the Homer 33C Community

Dear Homer 33C Parents and Students,

The events of the last few months have challenged our nation.  The Covid-19 pandemic has closed schools, shut down businesses and kept many of us isolated in our homes to stay safe.  More recently, the tragic death of George Floyd has reminded all of us of the systemic racism that still permeates this country. 

Homer 33C vehemently opposes racism, discrimination and bullying of any kind.  The fight against inequality and racism cannot be won in a day and we all must work together to continue to address these issues.  Education is a life-long journey and as educators, we are committed to educating our students to become caring, respectful and responsible citizens.  We must continue to celebrate and honor the individual differences among all Homer 33C stakeholders.  Respect and equality for all humanity must be a premise we all believe in.

As a district, we are not perfect, just like the world around us, but we are committed to doing our best for our students.   We will continue to ensure that our curriculum and professional development is inclusive and respectful of all cultures, races, ethnicities and backgrounds.

Homer 33C is committed to the academic, social-emotional growth and well-being of all students, where every student is a welcomed, included and valued member of our school community.  We appreciate the partnership we have with our families and community.  Homer 33C stands in unity with all of our families.

Approved Items:

●      Board policy updates and/or adoptions:  First and second read of the policies:  2:125, 2:160, 4:180, 5:150, 5:280, 5:60, 6:135, 6:280, 7:70, 8:10, 8:110, 8:30"

●      Approve a 3.7% wage increases for all 2020-2021 non-bargaining support staff positions for the following staff:

Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent

Administrative Assistant for Business

Afterschool Enrichment Coordinator

Benefits Coordinator

Multimedia Specialists

Occupational Therapist

Physical Therapist

Transportation Dispatcher.


●      The MOU Retirement Incentive. 


Construction Update:

Brickwork at Homer Jr. High continues. A much larger number of bricks have been found to be damaged than were visible before work began. The projected 400 bricks has become over 1400. The cost of this additional work should be no more than $50,000.

The bus lot parking expansion at Young school continues on schedule.

The security improvement work across the district continues on schedule.

Sealcoating of many district parking lots and blacktop areas will begin this Friday, June 19th and continue, mostly on Fridays and weekends, for the next 5 or 6 weeks.

The district has requested quotes to replace the floor in the Homer Jr. High band room and for the repairs to the front windows and entrance area at Butler. Contractors have been busy and slow to return quotes and commit to the work; it remains unclear if these projects will be completed over this summer.

The district is just finalizing architectural drawings to erect a wall in the Goodings Grove library in order to create a small side room and will request quotes to build the wall once the plans are complete.

The district ran tests and identified several leak sources relating to the Butler roof last week. Repairs are in progress and additional monitoring is in place to detect further sources so they can be identified, resolved, and this roof project closed out.

Finally, the air conditioning at Homer Jr. High was activated recently and there were still signs of high humidity. The situation is high priority and we are actively working to resolve these issues.

Property Asset Appraisal

The district will engage with Duff and Phelps to conduct an inventory and appraisal of the district's capital assets. The last time this was done was 2014. The appraisal is needed for both insurance and accounting purposes.

Intergovernmental Agreements

The district approved an intergovernmental agreement with New Lenox SD 122 providing access to certain special education services available from New Lenox to Homer students.

The district also approved an intergovernmental agreement with Lockport Township High School in order to provide transportation services to LTHS students living within Homer 33C boundaries to certain outplaced facilities if Homer is already transporting 33C students to that facility, and space is available for the LTHS students.


Al Kirkus, Assistant Superintendent for Business, discussed our Property Asset Appraisal


●      Authorize transportation of certain Lockport Township High School students to outplaced facilities 

●      Approve the Intergovernmental Agreement with New Lenox School District #122. 

●      Grant an easement area in front of Homer Jr. High School to Nicor to facilitate expansion of Bell Road 

●      Approve compensation increases for administrators for the 2020-2021 school year as follows:


An additional 1.1% towards TRS and a 2.6% base salary increase for:

Mark Leipart

Eric Kraatz

Bridgett Withrow


A 3.7% increase on their previous year’s base salary for:

Nathan Baldwin

Candis Gasa

Christine Graefen

Renee Karalus

Kelly Kardas

Aleksas Kirkus

Eric Nush

Dr. Melissa Onesto

Michael Portwood

Robert Rounsaville

Craig Schoppe

Kristen Schroeder

Jason Skube

Michael Szopinski

Greg Zurales


●      Appoint Joseph Sierra as the Director of Building and Grounds at Administration and approve the contract with an annual salary of $100,000.00 effective 7/1/20


●      Job description for Technology Specialist and Network Specialist

●      Approve two additional Paraprofessionals for the 2019-2020 Extended School Year session


Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, July 28, 2020