May 2020
Dear District 67 Community Member,
To keep you informed, we send 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.
Due to COVID-19 developments in Illinois, Governor Pritzker issued an Executive Order to all public bodies across the state suspending physical presence requirements under the Open Meetings Act (OMA). Therefore, the Tuesday, April 28 meeting of the Lake Forest District 67 Board of Education was held virtually via a video conference call.  

President’s Report
District 67 Board President Justin Engelland opened the May Board meeting by establishing the District’s focus on the future. Acknowledging the many unknowns of our current environment and a hesitancy to make predictions, Justin said the District is planning for a variety of potential circumstances and weighing those options, first and foremost, in the context of the health, safety and emotional wellbeing of students, teachers and staff. He congratulated the 8th graders as they prepared to progress to high school and wished our community “a fun and safe summer.” Finally, Justin encouraged the community to stay informed and connected as the District's fall plans are confirmed with updates to the District 67 website   and reaching out directly via email or phone . View video

Superintendent’s Report
Superintendent Mike Simeck provided an update on plans to return to school in the fall saying the health, safety and emotional wellbeing of students and staff continue as the District’s top priorities. He said the District is developing plans for reopening our schools that will adhere to state guidance and have the flexibility to be adapted based on varying scenarios. Mike expressed appreciation for parent and staff feedback to date and said he would continue to seek their input as planning progresses, noting APT parent focus groups planned for May 22, and staff and parent surveys that would follow. Mike said he would share three possible back-to-school approaches with the school community before the school year ends and will have a finalized plan later this summer. In addition, Mike said he was looking forward to two online meet and greets welcoming incoming Deer Path Middle School Principal Thom Herion scheduled for May 20 and May 21. View video

Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Hermes provided a financial update. Noting that the primary revenue source for our District is property taxes, Jenn reported on a new Lake County Board resolution allowing non-escrowed taxpayers to split payments into four installments with the final installment reaching the District in November rather than September, as it typically does. Jenn said the District is comfortable in its current financial position due to adequate reserves, plans for reduced spending and mindful budget development, but that the change in tax schedule could have the potential of impacting future bond reviews and ratings. View video

e-Learning Update
District 67 Director of Innovation Renee Fitzsimmons provided an update on e-Learning. Renee began by sharing the District 67 e-Learning priorities including well being, quality over quantity, connectedness, flexibility and prioritization. Renee shared highlights of an early e-Learning survey of students, staff and parents, noting that e-Learning is a work in progress for all. Renee said attendance rates have been excellent with K-4 at 99%, grades 5-8 at 97% and staff at 100%. View video

Administrative Update on Capital Expenditure Priorities
Superintendent Mike Simeck shared adjusted 2020-2021 capital expenditure (capex) priorities based on the current economic environment. Replacement of backup generators and chillers has been postponed, reducing the 2020-2021 capex budget to $27,000 for time-sensitive issues related to safety. Mike shared current year capital/instructional improvement priorities for the District but said these were not recommended at this time. Mike highlighted projects that will move forward based on prior Board approval including improvements to writing surfaces and doors at Deer Path Middle School. Finally, Mike put forth the Administration’s recommendation to resurface drives at Sheridan and Everett. View video

Board Education Report
Suzanne Sands reported that the Education Committee met on Thursday, May 14 and was joined by Superintendent Mike Simeck, Rebecca Jenkins, Kate Cavanaugh, Jeff McHugh and Renee Fitzsimmons. Suzanne reported on a robust agenda including an e-learning update, discussion of the future-ready science labs at DPM, strategic staffing changes, and the District’s consolidated plan for federal grant applications. The committee also approved its 2020-2021 meeting dates. The next meeting of the Education Committee will take place on October 1, 2020. View video

Finance and Operations Report
Rob Lemke reported that the next meeting of the Finance and Operations Committee is scheduled for Monday, June 15, 2020. View video

Policy Report
Jeff Folker reported that the Policy Committee had not met . A webinar regarding policy impacts of the COVID-19 situation was planned by PRESS. View video

Joint Compensation Report
Jeff Folker reported progress on procuring consulting resources and noted that the committee expected RFP responses on May 22. He said the committee planned to review proposals, narrow the list of candidates, and provide a recommendation to both District 67 and District 115 boards for their June meetings. Board President Justin Engelland thanked Jeff for his leadership on this important effort. View video

North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) Liaison Report
Suzanne Sands reported that the committee met virtually on Wednesday, May 13. Suzanne shared highlights of the meeting including NSSED efforts to further align professional learning services offerings with evolving member needs, and a proposed update of the NSSED brand. The next NSSED Leadership Council meeting will take place on July 10, 2020. View video

Legislative Liaison Report
Alice LeVert reported that the Illinois General Assembly was scheduled to return following a two-month break due to the COVID-19 crisis. She reviewed anticipated tax shortfalls based on reduced tax revenue resulting from statewide business closings during the pandemic and said legislators would be faced with difficult choices of imposing K-12 budget cuts or recalculating the evidence-based funding formula. View video

Spirit of 67 Liaison
Richard Chun expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to serve as the District 67 Board of Education liaison to the Spirit of 67. He recognized Spirit President Kimberly Carris and her team for their work and reviewed 2019-2020 program highlights including record-breaking donor participation in the Crosstown Challenge school competition. Rich closed by thanking the Spirit of 67 for 2020-2021 grants of more than $270,000 and the Derek and Anokhi Bock family for their generous donation of over $14,000 to update the Cherokee Elementary School teachers’ lounge. View video

APT Executive Liaison
Suzanne Sands reported on the APT sponsored “School’s’ Out” food drive, directing the public to District 67 school websites for more information. Board President Justin Engelland thanked the APT for adopting this important cause. View video

For complete information:

Next District 67 Board of Education Meeting:
Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 7:00 p.m. - via video conference