2020 Final Levy
Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented information on the 2020 Final Levy. The Levy is a request for property tax income, representing over 90% of the District's annual revenue. The District is seeking an aggregate levy decrease of 4.38%. The decrease is caused by a reduction in our Debt Service levy of over 76%, with our levy in this fund being reduced from $4.7 million to $1.1 million.  The operating fund request is seeking an increase of 3.88%; this request includes the capture of unknown new property growth and a 2.3% CPI tax cap for existing property owners.  The average taxpayer will see a decrease in the District's portion of their tax bill. The Board approved the 2019 Tax Levy as presented. 

To access FAQs on the 2020 Levy, please visit this link.

Regular Meeting 

Dawn Livingston, Board President, thanked District families, educators, and the entire community for the support they have provided our students during this unpredictable year. She noted that the Board continues to work with District administration to plan for both our immediate and long-term needs. Ms. Livingston also wished staff and families a safe and restful winter break, while honoring the plans for all staff and families to self-quarantine as planned when remote learning begins on January 5, 2021. 

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, expressed appreciation for the community's flexibility and feedback, most recently in a survey conducted with students, families, and staff. Dr. Kocanda shared several examples of how students and teachers have continued to creatively celebrate school traditions, specifically while working on service projects this time of year. This includes middle school students supporting Northwestern Settlement House through buying gifts for families and collecting warm clothes. Various other efforts have taken place at our elementary schools. Dr. Kocanda also shared that a representative group of staff and administrative team members will participate in a two-day professional learning session with Courageous Conversations - "Beyond Diversity" - to help grow in leadership and understanding for equity, diversity and inclusion. 

She thanked the community for the collective sacrifice that has made it possible to continue to maximize in-person learning since August, and said she looks forward to welcoming students back to campus following the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.


Betsy Allen, Auditor, from Miller, Cooper & Co. LTD., provided a summary of the audited 2020 Annual Financial Report. No material deficits or material weaknesses were identified in the District's financial statements. The District maintains its Financial Recognition status (highest honor) from the Illinois State Board of Education. 
World Language educators provided a presentation on their curriculum review findings and curriculum planning KUD documents. Details were shared regarding the educators' professional learning and implementation of best practices, as well as the student experiences which align with the District's progressive philosophy. Teachers also shared an update on future work including the  continued development of learning plans,  assessments,  and  activities.  It is recommended that The  Winnetka  Public  School  District  Board  approve  the  revised  World  Language Curriculum (learning outcomes) at the January 25, 2021, meeting.

Details were shared on the following topics:
  • Longer Day Planning--The District is in the midst of analyzing lengthening the in-person instructional day, specifically evaluating schedule options and safety protocol. The District's first semester experience with in-person learning, along with feedback from staff, students, and parents, has reshaped the priorities for extending an in-person day. The District also consults with other districts in the region, state, and nationally to gather real-time information on the benefits and challenges of various aspects of learning day models. An update on this planning process will occur at the January 25, 2021 School Board Meeting.
  • Covid-19 Testing for staff and students--At this time, Safeguard surveillance testing is unable to accommodate a pilot for the District due to an influx of new clients and ongoing demands.  This is an updated position that overrides what is published in the Board packet memo.
  • December 2020 Survey--In order to monitor progress since the District's last survey in mid-October, parents, students, and staff were asked to complete a survey this month. Survey findings and next steps will also be shared in future communications. Results will be shared in January 2021.

Kelly Tess, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Professional Learning, provided the Board with a summary of overall enrollment and staffing as compared to September 2020.  The District has seen an overall decrease of two students, and the addition of one classified staff member. The addition in staffing reflects the needs of students requiring additional support based on Individualized Education plans and/or behavioral intervention.  The Board will be provided with an additional update and draft plans for the 2021/2022 school year staffing plan at the January meeting.

Following a 2nd read and with no edits requested, the Board voted to adopt updates to policies presented, as recommended by the Policy Subcommittee, during the Consent Agenda portion of the meeting.

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:
  1. Adoption of 2020 Property Tax Levy
  2. FY2020 Financial Audit

The Complete Board Packet for the December 15, 2020, School Board Meetings is here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
January 26, 2021
February 23, 2021
March 23, 2021

April 27, 2021
May 25, 2021
June 15, 2021

Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held at Carleton Washburne School through June 2021. 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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