Regular Meeting 

Dawn Livingston, President, welcomed all in attendance. She thanked families and educators for their efforts to foster safety and support our students. Ms. Livingston recognized that for the second consecutive year, The Winnetka Public Schools has been named a Top Workplace in Chicago by The Chicago Tribune

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, thanked teachers and the PTOs for their creativity and willingness to be flexible, recreating some fall traditions virtually and outdoors. She also wished our school community a safe Thanksgiving holiday.


Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, Central Office Administrators and Principals, shared an update on Trimester I and the District's progress on Hybrid In-person and Remote learning. A recap was provided on District enrollment and communications. Details were shared on curriculum, special education, and SEL efforts and improvements. Fall 2020 MAP data was provided and it was noted that overall student performance in 2020 generally remains consistent with 2019. A health and safety update was shared, noting that the current plan is for Remote Learning to take place following winter break through January 15, 2020. The Board confirmed they would like to pursue a pilot COVID testing program for approximately 50 staff and 50 students at Carleton Washburne School following Winter Break in January.

Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented information on the 2020 Tentative Levy. The Levy is a request for property tax income, representing over 90% of the District's annual revenue. A public hearing to discuss the proposed tax increase, and the School Board approval of the levy will be held at the December 15, 2020, Board Meeting. 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 2020 Tentative Levy was approved later in the evening. To access FAQs on the 2020 Tentative Levy, please visit this link.

In June 2020, the School Board determined that while designing a new 3-5 year strategic plan is desired, they postponed the collaborative process due to a number of factors associated with COVID-19. The comprehensive process is expected to resume in January 2021 using an updated timeline and virtual meeting process. As an interim step, the core group of Portrait Design team members met in October and will meet again in December to refine the Profile of a Graduate.

Policy 4:180, Pandemic Preparedness; Management; and Recovery has been brought forward for a 1st read and updated to afford the District the option to require COVID-19 testing for students and staff and require visitors and parents to follow pandemic protocols. 

Following a 2nd read on Policy 5:220 Substitute Teachers and Policy 5:330 Sick Days, the Board approved recommended updates during the consent agenda portion of the meeting.

The Board approved a bid to replace the hot water heaters at Carleton Washburne.  The bid was awarded to  Sherman Mechanical in the amount of $28,950.  They are the lowest responsive and qualified bidder.

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:
1. Director of Student Services, Equity & Inclusion Employment Contract
2. 2nd WEA Memorandum of Understanding Regarding 2020-2021 School Year
3. Tentative 2020 Levy
4. Hot Water Heater Bid

Other news
The Board unanimously approved Ms. Denise Matthews as Director of Student Services, Inclusion & Equity, starting July 1, 2021 (following the retirement of Beth Martin, current Director of Student Services). Ms. Matthews has most recently served as Director of Special Education for District 90 in River Forest, Ill. She has a comprehensive knowledge of inclusionary practices, literacy, and social emotional learning. Ms. Matthews extensive leadership experience ranges from serving in various roles in school- and district-level administration to almost a decade as a Special Education teacher.

The Complete Board Packet for the November 24, 2020, School Board Meetings is here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
December 15, 2020
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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