Board Highlights are timely recaps of School Board meetings. They are emailed to staff, parents, and interested community members before the official minutes are approved and posted. 


Links to pertinent memos and presentations from the Board packet are highlighted in green. Board packets are posted the day before regularly scheduled Board meetings.


Meeting podcasts, packets, and Board information can be accessed using the links on the left. 

Levy Hearing

In light of the Levy hearing,  Kristen Hertel, Board President,  reiterated a few key facts before movi ng on in the agenda:
  • The school can only collect taxes at the rate of inflation for current homeowners in Winnetka - for the 2018 levy, that rate of inflation is 2.1%.
  • The school can collect taxes on new properties above the rate of inflation. Adding new property growth (additional 0.89%) to the property tax levy results in an anticipated impact of zero dollars to the current property tax payer.
  • The sum of inflation and new growth equals the 2.99% request.
  • As evidence of fiscal stewardship, Hertel shared a brief summary of actions this Board has taken in recent years to relieve the tax burden:
    • 2014 - the levy was reduced by approximately $1.1 million
    • 2015 - the School Board abated $1.1 million to taxpayers
    • 2017 - the School Board refunded $30 million in bonds using fund balances; reducing the taxpayer burden, while the District developed a long-term Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP).
Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented information regarding the 2018 Final Levy . The Levy is a request for property tax income, representing over 90% of the District's annual revenue. Later in the meeting, the District gained Board approval of an aggregate levy increase of 2.99%.  This request includes capture of new property growth and anticipates a 2.1% CPI tax cap for existing property.

Regular Meeti ng 

Kristen Hertel, Board President,  wished all in attendance a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year. She noted that later in the evening the Board would vote on a resolution to move forward with an April 2 referendum. Hertel shared that this plan was reviewed from a teaching and learning perspective, from a facilities perspective, and through the lens of what is fiscally responsible. It aligns with the community's value for neighborhood schools, the Board's commitment to remain good stewards of taxpayer resources, and the community's high expectations for progressive schools. 

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, shared highlights from 2018, as well as recent holiday activities such as winter springs and service projects. She noted how she is proud of how the School District, Board and Village have worked together in order to develop a comprehensive Educational Master Facility Plan to address the issues facing D36. She also wished all a relaxing holiday and Happy New Year.


Dr. Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, and Mr. Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer,  reviewed the merits of the proposed facilities projects from a teaching and learning perspective, a facilities perspective, and through the lens of what is fiscally responsible. School Board President, Ms. Kristen Hertel, commented on its alignment with the community's value for neighborhood schools, the School Board's commitment to remain good stewards of taxpayer resources, and the community's high expectations for progressive schools.

Mr. Goldstein reviewed financing assumptions and confirmed the estimated tax increase associated with the $90.6 million referendum. If approved, the tax increase over the current bond obligation-tax levy would be approximately $276 annually per $1 million of property value for 22 years.

School Board members requested that communications related to the spring referendum also include:
  1. Projected costs associated with growing facilities needs and maintenance and required as part of the Health, Life Safety code,  in the absence of an approved referendum
  2. Clarity for the tax rate decrease associated with the retirement of current debt,  in the absence of an approved referendum .  
Later that evening, the School Board unanimously approved a $90.6 million referendum for community vote on April 2, 2019. With the total cost of the proposed facilities projects estimated at $100.6 million, the School Board reconfirmed their commitment of $10 million from reserves to offset the cost of the referendum and lower the overall tax impact.

As part of the District's obligation to inform all residents, a fact-based communications plan will be implemented beginning in mid-January. This will include mailed information as well as school and community information sessions. A dedicated webpage will also be launched in early January with complete details concerning the April 2, 2019, referendum at www.winnetka36.org .

Informational Memos

This monthly update highlights progress toward the Reaching All Learners goals in the District's Strategic Plan.  Highlights this month include: the District hosted Hour of Code event for the community with record turnout; Math interventionists refined criteria for identifying students who need support; and the District partnered with the Apple Distinguished Educator, Sally Eberhart, to co-teach with teachers to leverage our technology-based resources. 

At the November 27, 2018, School Board meeting, the School Board agreed to the proposed redistricting timeline and process.  To keep on track for an October 2019 decision and fall 2020 implementation, the District provided an update on the progress over the past month.

The Administration, through consultation with PMA and Chapman and Cutler LLC, prepared draft ballot questions for the Board's discussion and consideration at the December 10, School Board Work Session. The ballot language reflects the priority scope work for the Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP). Later that evening, the School Board unanimously approved a $90.6 million referendum for community vote on April 2, 2019. The resolution read as follows:

"Shall the Board of Education of Winnetka School District Number 36, Cook County, Illinois, improve the sites of, build and equip additions to and alter, repair and equip existing buildings, including, without limitation, constructing safety and  security improvements, increasing accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act, replacing electrical, plumbing, mechanical and HVAC systems, complying with the Health/Life Safety Code, renovating classrooms and Resource Centers/Libraries and adding multi-purpose/lunchroom space and gym space, and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $90,600,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?"

The Administration recommended a five-year lease with Postal Source for postal equipment that is expected to provide additional control measures and greater efficiencies that will save cost and time.

The Policy Subcommittee reviewed over twenty School Board policies. They were also notified of a process with the Winnetka Police Department regarding a reciprocal reporting agreement that will be shared next month.

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:
  1. Approval of the 2018 Tax Levy
  2. Resolution providing for and requiring the submission of the proposition of issuing $90,600,000 School Building Bonds to the voters of School District Number 36, Cook County, Illinois, at the consolidated election to be held on the 2nd day of April, 2019.
  3. Postage Meter Lease Agreement
  4. Intra-District Transfer

The Complete Board Packet for the December 18, 2018, School Board Meeting, containing all Memos and Presentations is here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
January 29, 2019
April 23, 2019
February 26, 2019
May 21, 2019
March 19, 2019
June 5, 2019

Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held at Hubbard Woods School from August 2018 through June 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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