Brad Goldstein, presented the Budget Timeline and Budget Philosophy, which includes minimizing contingencies, investing in curriculum, and maintaining high quality programs and aging facilities. Initiatives to be undertaken were discussed, including necessary facility work and continued support for student learning.  Financial factors were also presented including property tax levy considerations, federal and state revenues and expenditures, strategic planning and funding of substantial Health/Life Safety and Facility Repairs. 

Total Budgeted Revenues for FY20 are $47,864,322. Total Budgeted Expenditures for FY20 are $47,704,419. The District will address deferred facility maintenance items of over $2 million out of fund balance in FY20, as the District moves forward with the Educational Master Facility Plan. Information was shared on cost per pupil analysis, including the Board target of no more than 3% growth per year.  Board work sessions were held with the Administration to make strategic reductions totaling $266,000, to bring cost per pupil down to 3.4%. The District will evaluate surpluses each year to assess to be utilized to address deferred facility maintenance items that have been identified. The Board voted to approve the tentative budget, and establish a public hearing to be held at 7:00 p.m. on September 24, 2019.

Regular Meeti ng 

Dawn Livingston, President,  welcomed all in attendance. The School Board met eight times over the summer to accomplish a great deal of work.  Ms. Livingston noted the School Board:
  • Re-affirmed the Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP), committing to (3) K-4 elementary schools, moving grades 5-8 to Washburne School, and decommissioning The Skokie School within the next five years. This reaffirmation occurred after significant Board discussions, post-referendum community feedback, Board 2:1 sessions with community members, and the Board's review of Caucus survey results. It was also stated that redistricting will remain part of the EMFP to achieve enrollment balance and is a critical priority, as the imbalance will not-self correct.  They are also evaluating options with the new architect, Perkins+Will, for making more cost efficient additions to Washburne School to hold grades 5-8 by 2023.  
  • Developed a 3-year priority facility plan to address the most pressing Health/Life Safety facility needs at all five schools, including mitigating the lead in the water, and ADA needs at Crow Island School. The plan will utilize fund balance amounting to an estimated $11.2 million over 3 years and will not involve deficit spending in the District's operating funds. 
  • Committed to analyzing expenditures by cost per pupil to inform current and ongoing budget decisions.
  • Determined the earliest date of another possible referendum would be March 2021.
  • Implemented a community outreach plan to build partnerships, obtain feedback, and address questions/feedback/comments on Board issues. The first outreach opportunity is on Wednesday, September 4th from 11 a.m.-noon at Peet's Coffee, 817 Elm Street, in Winnetka.
Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, noted that the District held a successful Opening Day to welcome educators and staff back to campus and thanked the custodial and maintenance teams for their work preparing buildings for the return of students. She shared that over the summer staff contributed to nearly 50 different curriculum projects; the District has been in the midst of projects at many of its schools to address necessary health/life safety improvements; and staff have been working with the Board and community on analyzing options for Redistricting 2020. She recognized that this year is significant in the history of The Winnetka Public Schools, as it marks the 100th anniversary of our commitment to Progressive Education. In 1919, Superintendent Carleton Washburne arrived in Winnetka and set our community on course for a century-long journey dedicated to "learning by doing." The school community will be invited to celebrate this milestone over the course of the year.


District administration, along with Matthew Cropper, Cropper GIS, a District partner since 2016, shared an overview and timeline of the Redistricting 2020 process. Over the summer, a Community Perspectives Panel provided feedback on options. Additionally, Village and Police Officials were consulted in discussions surrounding safety and transportation. Based on the research and analysis that has occurred, three potential options were presented, with 2a identified as the preferred option by Cropper GIS.  Community members who live in areas under consideration for Redistricting were notified via U.S. mail this week. The new attendance boundaries will be implemented in August 2020. The District and Board will continue to reference the Guiding Principles and community feedback as decisions are made. 
The School Board also began discussions on "phasing-in." Phasing-in allows a subset of students to remain at their current school AFTER new boundary lines go into effect.  The Board agreed to phase-in students from the Crow Island area who will be in fourth grade in 2020-2021. They also agreed that any new student enrolling for the 2020-2021 school year will be required to attend their newly assigned school. The Board will continue discussions regarding phasing-in other groups of students at the September 24, 2019, meeting. 

The Board has asked for the community to complete a feedback form (by September 10) before a final recommendation for Redistricting is made at the School Board Meeting on September 24, 2019. 

Community members are invited to attend the following upcoming meeting:

Public Engagement Session
September 3, 2019
6:30  Greeley School
275 Fairview Ave., Winnetka

Informational Memos

On June 12 and 13, 80 teachers and administrators participated in a two-day Summer Institute, Being Well and Well Being: Pursuing Meaning, Purpose, and Coherence .  Keynote and breakout sessions focused on adult well-being, the second day building the mindset and strategies to best support our students. The event, supported by The Winnetka Public Schools Foundation, served as a kickoff to the important work on our District goal of Social Emotional Learning. 

Over the summer, our faculty spent over 1,700 hours of summer professional work on curriculum, special services, and technology. The memo reviews topics, descriptions and products of the work. The summer provides an opportunity to have in-depth collaboration to review and revise curriculum in order to continually improve the student experience in Winnetka.

The memo provides an update to our Extended Day Kindergarten program. This fall marks the third year of implementation of the program that was initially approved in May of 2016. The program has served to enhance students' social emotional development, opportunities for collaboration and play based learning, student inquiry, and an improved ability to provide interventions and support. In the two years since it inception, nearly 300 students have benefitted from the extended day Kindergarten program.

As communication is a key area of focus in the District's Strategic Plan, a summary of 2018-2019 accomplishments were shared.  In addition to standard communication initiatives, Redistricting 2020, Strategic Planning, and the 100th Anniversary of Progressive Education in Winnetka will be key areas of focus in 2019-2020.

The 2019-2020 school year marks the 100th anniversary of Progressive Education (aligned with Carleton Washburne's arrival) in The Winnetka Public Schools. This year, we will celebrate the legacy of Progressive Education that Washburne and the community first initiated in the District. A committee will be formed this fall, comprised of District and community representatives to plan a celebration in spring 2020. Recognition of this milestone and smaller events, such as WPIs, will take place throughout the year. 

It is anticipated that the enrollment will increase approximately 1.4% this school year as compared to 2018-2019. Staff is expected to decrease by a total of 2.6 FTE (1%).  Preliminary enrollment numbers are tracking at  2.4% higher than the demographer's projections (Cropper, 2016) with anticipated fall enrollment at 1,635 students in grades K-8.  An updated enrollment and staffing report will be shared next month.

The District is nearing completion of its summer work this year.  Major work happened at four of the five schools, with the biggest project focused on the windows and roof at Greeley.  A new Kindergarten playground was added at Crow Island. 

The District continually monitors, assesses and enhances safety in our schools.  We work regularly with the Winnetka Police Department for school safety training and planning.  Best practice and IL School Code highlight the importance of a reciprocal reporting agreement to exchange information related to students and their safety. This agreement also allows public safety to access our security cameras when addressing imminent danger. This is a similar agreement the Police Department has with New Trier High School.

The Policy Subcommittee reviewed a number of School Board policies and provided recommendations for updates. A 2nd Read of Policies and vote to adopt the recommendations will occur at the September 24, 2019, Board Meeting.

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:

1. FY20 Tentative Budget
2. Facility Rental Rates for 2019-2020
3. Adopting Resolution for Amended Cafeteria Plan Including a Health Flexible Spending Account & Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
4. Winnetka Police Department Reciprocal Reporting Intergovernmental Agreement
5. Memorandum of Understanding with WEA

Other News:
Village Stormwater Update
The District is continuing collaborative planning with the Village of Winnetka on stormwater management plans which involve the Crow Island  School property.


The Complete Board Packets for the August 26, 2019, School Board Meetings are here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
September 24, 2019
October 22, 2019
November 19, 2019
December 17, 2019
January 28, 2020
February 25, 2020
March 17, 2020
April 21, 2020
May 19, 2020
June 2020-Date TBA

Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held at Greeley School starting in August 2019. Regular meetings begin at 7:15 p.m. Work sessions are also open to the public and may be scheduled at the discretion of the Board. Discussion topics and times for work sessions will be posted on the District website 24 hours in advance.
The Winnetka Public Schools community empowers every student to flourish in an innovative, experiential environment. We support and challenge all learners to actively engage in continual growth and achievement to make a meaningful difference in the world.  
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