The District 99 Board of Education held a business meeting on November 16, 2015.During the meeting, Superintendent Mark McDonald recognized and thanked D99 Board members for their service in honor of “School Board Recognition Day.” Other highlights from the meeting include:
Capital Improvement Plan
Director of Facilities Jim Kolodziej recommended a list of necessary capital projects for 2016-17; the amount budgeted for the projects is $1.2 million. The Board will vote on a project-by-project basis to award bids for the larger projects, which will be performed next spring and summer. In addition to regular large repair and maintenance services, projects will include installing pool dehumidification units at South High, repurposing a large English classroom into needed office space at South High and upgrading and adding more security cameras at both North High and South High. A large portion of the budget, $450,000, will be used to install new phone systems throughout the district. The current analog system is antiquated and parts for repairs are difficult to find. Please see the complete list of capital improvement repairs planned for 2016-17 here.
Controller Mark Staehlin provided an analysis of the district’s 2015 levy request. Current legislation allows school districts to increase the total amount of taxes by the rate of inflation, which this year would result in an average increase of 0.8% to existing property owners. The request provides for up to 1% growth due to new construction; however, Staehlin believes the actual increase will be only .5%, causing the District to drop $484,984 from this request. Staehlin further explained, however, that there is a “high probability” that legislators will enact a tax freeze, which will reduce the district’s levy request by an additional $580,000. If this happens, the only additional source of tax revenue to the district will come from new construction. Please see the complete financial analysis here.
Master Facility Plan
Superintendent Dr. Mark McDonald requested more input from Board members on the revised Master Facility Plan, which was shared at the last meeting, and what they will support. He explained that there are a number of questions to be addressed, including whether or not to include a new or renovated auditorium at South High. Board members discussed the different components of the plan, their priorities and a possible budget. It was decided to continue the discussion after the administration provides an itemized list of proposed projects and associated costs at the Board’s workshop on January 11, 2015.
North High parent Bill Christensen spoke in favor of an “early start” calendar, and the benefits of having students take finals before winter break. He said he has been a proponent of the change for the past four to five years. “Personally, I think it’s better for the students grade-wise, to give them that cut-off point, let them have their two weeks off, and let them come back fresh,” he said.