Summary of the September 24, 2019 Board of Education Meeting

Summary of the September 24, 2019 Board of Education Meeting



Recognition of Visitors:

Three parents addressed the Board. Two parents expressed concern about the number of students in elementary classrooms; they believe the student numbers are too high for second grade classrooms. Another parent asked, “What are we doing for our CSI classrooms?”

She encouraged board members to visit the CSI classrooms and observe instruction.


Homer Council Report:

Co-President, Cathy Clayton, stated the union has met three times and spent twelve hours reviewing the new contract over the last month. They have completed the process and have returned the document to Mr. Schoppe.


Homer Support Staff Council Report:

No report.


Approved Resignations:

●        Sawsan Jaber - 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher at Homer Jr. High School - eff. 9/17/19

●        Helena Gorczak - Custodian at Schilling School - eff. 8/27/19


Separation of Employment for Non-Certified Staff: 

●        Carlos Cerda - Bus Driver at Transportation - eff. 9/16/19


Approved Personnel Recommendations: 

●      Karen Stakenas - Title 1 Math Teacher at Young School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Deniece Kerner - Paraprofessional at Young School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Melissa Dierkes - Paraprofessional at Homer Jr. High School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Chris Mullin - Bus Driver at Transportation - eff. 10/24/19, dependent on successfully completing his criminal background check and obtaining his CDL for driving a school bus

●      Pamela Kurczak - Bus Driver at Transportation - eff. 10/24/19, dependent on successfully completing her criminal background check and obtaining her CDL for driving a school bus, Jennifer Hickey - Bus Driver at Transportation - eff. 10/24/19, dependent on successfully completing her criminal background check and obtaining her CDL for driving a school bus

●      George Kopacz - Bus Driver at Transportation - eff. 9/25/19, dependent on successfully completing his criminal background check and obtaining his CDL for driving a school bus

●      Kristie Benaitis - Paraprofessional at Goodings Grove School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Barb Donegan - Lunchroom Monitor at Schilling School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Marie Barmes - Lunchroom Monitor at Schilling School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Dana Markiewicz - Instructional Aide at Hadley Middle School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Kathleen Borello - Lunchroom Monitor at Homer Jr. High School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Nancy Beissel - Paraprofessional at Butler School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Feryal Ibrahim - Lunchroom Monitor at Butler School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Todd Lamparelli Jr. - Custodian at Homer Jr. High School - eff 9/25/19

●      Douglas Kazmierczak - Custodian at Schilling School - eff. 9/25/19

●      Melanie Schuldt, Erini Ishak, Laura Biciste, Sameira Zayad - Lunchroom Monitors at Schilling School (correction of their FTE from 0.5 to 1.0) and Manda Drake - Lunchroom Monitor (FTE changed from 0.5 to 0.8)


Employment Recommendation(s) for Extra-Curricular Staff:

●      Alexis Sanchez - Cheerleading Coach - eff. Immediately

●      JoEllyn Sumner Choir and Talent Show, at Homer Jr. High School, at Homer Junior High School

●      Malorie Sylvester 7th Grade Math ASAP, Erin Sagon 8th Grade Math ASAP, Stephanie Zych 8th Grade Reading ASAP, Kelly Zurek All Sessions ASTP, Jackie Clarke-Siegel/Alexis Sanchez 1/2 sessions each ASTP, at Goodings Grove School, Elizabeth Moore 3rd and 4th Grade Math ASAP, at Butler School, Eileen Schulz 3rd Grade Math ASAP, Kathy Gorecki 3rd Grade Reading ASAP, Nicole Fazio 4th Grade Math ASAP, Kathleen Lewandowski 4th Grade Reading ASAP, at Schilling School, JoEllyn Sumner 3rd and 4th Grade ELA ASAP, Vesna Zaharieva 3rd and 4th Grade Math ASAP, at Young School, Emily Ashworth 4th Grade Math ASAP, Patty Krengiel 4th Grade ELA ASAP, Amie Brainerd 3rd Grade Reading ASAP 

●      Approved the recommendations for the 2019-2020 school leadership and district leadership team members

●      Approved the recommendations for 2019-2020 head mentors and year one and year two mentors for the 2019-2020 school year


Directors’ Reports

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Mike Portwood, shared student enrollment numbers in our district. Our district population for K-8th grade is 3,721 students, which was very close to our historical projection. Mr. Portwood also reported on the future local residential developments in our district boundaries.


Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Mike Szopinski, shared that a Carnegie Math trainer will be observing all Carnegie math teachers this week and providing feedback to those teachers. In addition, he shared that the 7th and 8th grade ELA teachers were receiving training on the Amplify resource which they will be piloting in their classrooms during the months of October and November. Mr. Szopinski also communicated that Eureka Math grade level teachers will be provided with two half days of planning sessions to support and build collaboration on Eureka Math. He also reported that 5th and 6th grade students will be taking home their chromebooks home every day, starting after winter break.


Renee Karalus, Director of Special Services, thanked Carri Mussay for donating equipment to the District, including a wheelchair, two standers, a Zippie (youth) wheelchair, a medium prone stander with tray, and a mobile stander.  Mrs. Karalus also thanked principals for their collaboration on reviewing paraprofessional schedules.


Assistant Superintendent for Business, Al Kirkus, reported the following:


2019-2020 School Year Budget

A budget hearing is required prior to the adoption of the school district budget.  The hearing was held at 6:45 p.m., just prior to the Board meeting. During the hearing, Mr. Kirkus reviewed changes from the tentative budget to the final budget, the most significant of which was a change to the specific Capital Projects planned for this coming summer. This change in project scope increased overall spending by approx $1.8M. If all projects are undertaken, Mr. Kirkus projects the ending fund balance (money in the bank at the end of June 2020) to total $32M, as compared to $42M at the end of this past year.


The Board subsequently adopted the budget unanimously during the course of the Board meeting.




Capital Projects Plan Approval

Mr. Kirkus reviewed and the Board approved moving forward with the list of planned projects for next year.   The new projects include:

●        Updates to the HVAC control system at Butler school

●        Possibly replacing the unit ventilators at Butler school - depends on cost

●        Adding air conditioning to the Butler gym

●        Adding an emergency generator at Butler school

●        Correcting intermittent courtyard flooding issues at Goodings Grove school

●        Replacing or resurfacing the Hadley roof

●        Security remodeling at all buildings (primarily adding cameras, secondary vestibules, door hardware, and access control equipment)

●        Creating a bus parking lot in the grassy area next to Young school

●        Remodeling and/or expanding the transportation building

●        Recommissioning HVAC systems at both Young and Schilling schools


New Business Office Policy - First Reading

Mr. Kirkus brought a policy to the Board for a first reading. The policy would allow the district to apply an annual $5.00 service charge to dormant student accounts. Dormant accounts are accounts of students who have graduated, or otherwise left the district, but that still contain a positive balance. The accounts also have to remain untouched for one year, after which the service fee would then be applied annually until the account reached a zero balance.


The policy would allow the district to eventually close the hundreds of student accounts left over from previous years, but that still contain small balances; in many cases, less than a dollar. And, while not specified in the policy, the procedure will be to deposit any fees collected under this policy into an account set aside to help district students in need.


Eric Nush, Director of Technology, reported that the help desk system for technology support has received 448 work orders this past month. Mr. Nush also reported to the Board that he was moving towards purchasing chromebooks with extended warranties. As a result, all chromebook repairs would be outsourced to a company. This will lead to quicker turnaround on chromebook repairs and free up the technology department to focus on other tasks. Eric also discussed adding an interactive screen in the boardroom for more effective presentations.


Glen Wysong, Director of Buildings and Grounds, gave a shout out to his staff for their hard work and dedication. He stated that the Goodings projects were completed, the Hadley project had punch list items to complete, and the Butler downspouts still need to be completed. Mr. Wysong communicated that on Thursday he had a meeting with Mr. Mitchell, the architect, and the engineer to address the humidity concerns at Homer Junior High School.


Principal’s Report

Butler School principal, Dr. Melissa Onesto, reported Butler School Leadership Team met yesterday to create school-wide goals for literacy and math. She mentioned that Butler teachers were meeting with students to create individual growth goals on math and literacy. She shared that Butler received a mini grant from Will County ROE for professional development on the MAP assessment. She will be attending the professional development together with three teachers from Butler. Dr. Onesto mentioned that Butler will be hosting a Reading Night in May. To promote literacy at Butler, every month they will be posting a video of a mystery reader on the internet. Dr. Onesto was the most recent mystery reader. She also reported that Butler student combined math and reading achievement scores grew by 3.5% on 2019 IAR state-wide assessment compared to 2018 PARCC scores.


Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent, Craig Schoppe, recommended we partner with CEC in assisting us to complete the strategic planning process.  He provided a brief overview of the District system assessment process and the following corresponding dates:


October 2, 2019 – Self Study Team (AM – CEC led; PM – Committee Work)

The Self-Study Team will consist of 18 members and include teachers and administrators from our School Leadership Teams.


This team will serve in a number of capacities:  First, to communicate information between the buildings and District throughout the assessment; second, to compile information for the CEC in preparation for the 3 day CEC team visit; lastly, the team will be provided the final report and then utilize the report to prepare for the strategic planning process which will begin next semester.


The Self-Study Team will consist of three sub-committees:  Learning, Data, and Culture/Collaboration


November 4, 2019 – Day 1 of the System Assessment (All Day at District Office)

The CEC will bring in a team of educators consisting of superintendents, building principals, teachers and board members from other districts to complete the system assessment. On the first day, the team will interview the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, Directors, Board members, union leaders and building principals.


November 5, 2019 – Day 2 of the System Assessment (AM – 3 Buildings; PM – 3 Buildings)

The CEC team will break up into two teams and visit all 6 of our schools. The teams will interview staff, students, and parents at each school.


November 6, 2019 – Day 3 of the System Assessment (All Day at District Office)

The CEC team will complete follow-up interviews with district office administrators. The team will then complete the system assessment report which will be presented to the Self-Study Team in the afternoon. Mr. Schoppe will provide the findings in that report to the Board during the November Board meeting as well as make it available to our staff and community.


November 14, 2019 – Self Study Team Follow-Up

The CEC leader will meet with our Self-Study Team to prepare for next steps in the strategic planning process. We will be completing a more in-depth analysis of the system assessment findings and utilize that information to help drive the plan.


Board Approvals:

●                    Capital Projects Plan Summer FY20  

●                    FY 2020 Budget  

●                    Hallway HVAC work at Homer Junior High School 

●                    District System Assessment in the amount of $12,500 to CEC

●                    EIS Administrator and Teacher Salary and Benefits Report - School Year 2019

●                    Adopt Policy Updates:  First and Second Reading of Policies 5:170 and 7:180 


Next regular Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 22, 2019.