February 2020
Dear District 67 Community Member,
 
To keep you informed, we will be sending you the District 67 Board Report on a monthly basis.  Please note: These are not the official minutes of the Board of Education. Minutes once approved, all board agendas, packets, and videos can be found here. 
President’s Report
Board President Mike Borkowski discussed Mission or Money and information regarding the District 67 Board’s rationale for its recent tax levy decision. Mike noted he believes that the taxpayers of Lake Forest elected the Board members to ensure exceptional public schools and charged their elected officials to accomplish this in a fiscally responsible manner. Mike also believes that taxpayers understand the value created from having excellent schools, both in developing our youth into future leaders of the world and in terms of a direct financial benefit from real estate appreciation.

Mike highlighted the Vision and noted that achieving the Vision takes money. Mike commented that the tax levy is the way our school districts receive most of its money, directly from residents paying real estate taxes. He believes the district can achieve its Vision without the use of a large-scale referendum by optimizing every dollar that it can access through much smaller annual tax levy increases. Mike reported that the maximum increase permitted by law for the levy this year is 1.9%. On average, that means a homeowner of a $1M house in Lake Forest will see an increase of $66. The list of projects required to fully achieve the Vision is long, and the cost to implement these initiatives far exceeds the district’s financial resources.

Mike noted a few important facts to consider when talking about what fiscally responsible means in our district, with an eye on our taxpayers.

  • The District 67 tax rate is the lowest tax rate among all elementary school districts in Lake County.  
  • The District 67 tax rate is the second lowest among the 368 elementary school districts in the entire state of IL.  
  • The District 67 tax rate is the third lowest among all 852 school districts, elementary, high school, and/or unit districts in the entire state of Illinois. 
  • District 67 also maintains a AAA Bond Rating, which is the highest possible rating, one of only 73 school districts in the United States to achieve that. 

Mike commented that increasing the tax levy by 1.9%, as permitted by law, is not only an acceptable action, it is the most fiscally responsible decision the Board could make. The long-term positive impact on achieving the Vision far outweighs the minimal short-term savings individuals would realize.  View complete report View video  

Superintendent’s Report
Mike Simeck congratulated Deer Path Spelling Bee winner Alexandra Anderson and runner up Carolyn Stach. Alexandra will represent our school at the sectional competition next month. Mike thanked the APT for organizing the annual Art Fair. He noted there were numerous talented artists showcased. In addition, ten students were chosen to participate in the Youth Art Show at The Gallery in Lake Forest. Mike congratulated Andrew Granado, Reese Kelly, Phoebe Silver, Michael Byun, Otto Hektor, Adler Schlacher, John White, Luca Cisternino, Sadie Lohmueller, and Declan Stock.

Mike reported that all K-8 staff and parents, and students in grades 3-8 will be given the opportunity to take the National School Climate Center (NSCC), school culture and climate survey. The survey, which is administered annually, is designed to assess perceptions of the environment within the school including safety, relationships, and support for learning. 
Mike underscored that the students’ completion of this survey has a direct impact on our state rating (Exemplary vs. Commendable). For the student survey, any completion rate less than 95% counts progressively against the District on the state’s rubric. Our goal is to have all students in grades 3-8 complete the survey to provide important feedback and ensure an accurate representation of our schools at the state level. All responses are anonymous.

Mike reported that the administrative team is taking the threat of coronavirus seriously and are meeting to proactively plan for any potential impacts to the school community.

Jeff McHugh presented the video " The Power of Perseverance," overviewing the Bridges math in our schools. View video for complete report

Board Finance and Operations Committee
Rob Lemke reported that the Committee reviewed three contracts that are on this meeting’s agenda, Siemens, Landscaping Services, and Deer Path doors. Rob noted that the district is bidding for photography services. The Food Service contract was recently bid and had only one respondent, Quest, and provided a 10% reduction in management fees. The Committee reviewed budget projections and student fees. View video for complete report   

Policy Committee
Jeff Folker noted that the Policy Committee met jointly with the Lake Forest High School District 115 Policy Committee to discuss policies relating to the Finance and Operations proposed changes to the fund balance parameters, sick, vacation days and leaves, and filling a Board of Education vacancy. Jeff reported that the district’s policies were audited in 2018 and received full recognition for compliance by the Regional Office.

Compensation Committee
Jeff Folker reported that the District 67 Compensation Committee met jointly with the Lake Forest High School District 115 Compensation Committee and discussed shared services redundant activities, comparison districts, and engaging an outside consultant to help establish shared service salary bands. The Committees also discussed planning a joint workshop. View video for complete report
 
North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED)
Suzanne Sands noted that the Leadership Council is in the process of changing its name and rebranding. They subsequently learned that there is another organization in the process of using a similar name so the Council will explore new options. Suzanne reported that the NSSED financial model is being updated and the Council discussed the prospective model.  View written report View video
 
Legislative Liaison
Alice LeVert reported that she recently attended the National School Board Association (NSBA) Advocacy Conference in Washington DC with Mike Simeck. Alice noted that they met with Senators Durbin and Duckworth, as well as Representative Brad Schneider while in Washington. Discussion topics included the teacher shortage and the need for and ways to foster a more diverse workforce. Alice commented that they also discussed the shortcomings of IDEA funding (40% is the commitment and our school receives only 14%). Alice highlighted various future spending increases that Governor Pritzker outlined in his budget address. View written report View video
 
Spirit of 67 Foundation 
Richard Chun reported that the Spirit is in the process of reviewing grants. View video for complete report  

Association of Parents and Teachers (APT) 
Suzanne Sands reported that this year’s Annual Meeting will be held on March 11 at CROYA starting at 9:00am. The guest speaker is Darren Barndt, Lake Forest High School instructional Director, coach, and author of the book, Extreme Teammates .

Suzanne reported that this year’s APT Nominating Committee was chaired by Monica Yaun. Representatives from all buildings including parents and principals served on this committee. The slate for 2020-2022 which will be voted on at the Annual Meeting is:
• Cherokee President: Ann Kiesling
• Sheridan President: Heidi Clifton
• Exec APT VP: Lindsay Nero
• Exec APT Recording Secretary: Amanda Lamberti 

JumpStart to 5th Grade, a program for parents, has been restructured based on feedback from last year and new ideas from within the committee. It will be held Tuesday, April 28, with meeting times offered in the morning and evening. View written report   View video

Action Items
Action items include: Approval of contracts, renewals, and bids, the 2020-2021 Student Fees, Revised 2019-2020 Calendar, various policies and procedures, and Human Resources items.  View video for complete report 
For complete information:

Next Meeting 
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 7:00 p.m., Administration Center Board Room, LFHS West Campus, 300 S. Waukegan Rd.