Transition to Two Eastland Facilities Discussed at December Board Meeting
The Eastland Board of Education held their Regular meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19, 2012. As a first item of business, they approved bills and claims for the month, the Regular Meeting minutes from November 14th Regular Meeting and the December 5th Special Meeting, and the Treasurer’s Report. Superintendent Hansen reminded Board members about the upcoming deadlines and requirements for the Board election in April, 2013.
Baccalaureate for Eastland High School has been scheduled for Sunday, May 19, and Graduation for Friday, May 24, 2013. The Board discussed plans to survey stakeholders for the annual evaluation of Superintendent Hansen; Bill Woessner will work with the District Tech Director to see that the survey is distributed in early January.
As a first item in Old Business, high school teacher Mike Geerts reported on the Indicators of Success for Industrial Arts. Mr. Geerts reported that he wants to keep the expectations for the program high even though a small percentage of the students did not earn A’s or B’s. He also explained that students in his program this year are completing a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) project. Students are constructing an underwater, robotic device that they will field test in the spring. Given the new expectations for incorporating student growth into evaluations, and the introduction of STEM coursework in grades 7-8, indicators for 2013-14 will be developed later in the school year.
Superintendent Hansen reported on work completed by the Joint Evaluation Committee to incorporate student growth into teacher evaluations. The Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) (Senate Bill 315; Public Act 96-0861) was passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the Governor in January 2010. Starting in 2013-14, schools will be required to incorporate measures of student growth as a “significant component” of teacher and principal evaluations. A Joint Committee of teachers and administrators has been working on ways to meet the new requirements. A final recommendation will be presented to the Board later in the year, and implemented in 2013-14 as “no stakes” in the first year. The goal will be to refine the plan based on the first year of experience, and implement fully in 2014-15.
The Board Facilities Committee presented reports on 1) a task plan for transitioning from 3 to 2 facilities in 2013-14, 2) a proposed process and timeline for disposition of the Eastland Elementary School, and 3) a list of recommended facility improvement projects for bidding.
The task plan for transitioning to two facilities includes steps to ensure an orderly move of grades PK-2 to the building in Shannon, and grades 7-8 to the building in Lanark. Included in the plan are remodeling work that will need to be completed prior to the move, a process for assigning classrooms, a process for finalizing which supplies / equipment will be moved, sold, donated or disposed of, a spring auction of surplus items (Saturday, April 6, 2013), and a schedule for summer cleaning and maintenance to facilitate the move.
The Board will vote to approve or modify this process and timeline at the January 20, 2013 Regular Meeting. The Committee also recommended and the Board voted to approve authorization to solicit bids for facility improvement projects as follows:
Jan. 2013 - Step 1: Board Resolution to approve this process and timeline for disposition of EES.
June, 2013 until disposed of - Step 2: Retain and maintain the building at the least possible cost.
March, 2013 to September, 2013 - Step 3: Advertise and solicit bids from private persons or entities for purchase of the property.
August, 2013 to March, 2014 - Step 4: If no private persons or entities purchase the property by September, 2013, solicit other government entities for interest in transferring ownership.
June 2014 - Step 5: If no private purchase or intergovernmental transfer, solicit bids to demolish and dispose of the building; seed, grade and maintain the grounds.
The Committee also recommended and the Board voted to approve authorization to solicit bids for facility improvement projects for 2013 that include replacing the flat roof at the high school ($290,000); remodeling the district office at EHS ($10,000); adding an elementary playground to the existing playground at the Middle School in Shannon ($50,000); and remodeling the Fitness and Home Ec. rooms at EMS ($68,560).
Superintendent Hansen noted that all of the preliminary estimates, with the exception of the remodeling work to the Fitness and Home Ec. Rooms in Shannon (which has already been approved), is estimated at the high end. He also emphasized that the Board is only authorizing approval to solicit bids or quotes – actual approval or rejection of projects will be scheduled for the spring.
As a last item in Old Business, the Board approved the levy for the 2013-14 school year. The levy is based on the projections of equalized assessed value of property within the Eastland district as prepared by the Carroll County Assessor. The total approved levy will be for $6,898,594. This is $354,120 less than for the 2012-13 school year, a 5% reduction. The reason for the decrease is due to a third consecutive year of re-assessments to property in Lake Carroll. Over the three year period, the assessed value of property in the Eastland district has declined by approximately $50,000,000, a 23% reduction. In simple terms, this means that the District’s ability to generate revenues to support programs has declined by 23%.
As the first items in New Business, the Board heard first readings of proposed curriculum changes and the EHS Curriculum Guide for 2013-14. For grades K-6, the proposal is to add one class per week of computer instruction in the third grade. Keyboarding will now begin in 3rd grade and continue into 4th grade using the Type to Learn program. For grades 7-8, the plan is to implement eight (8) exploratory STEM courses that all students will take over the course of two years. The nine-week courses will be designed to build an inventory of experiences that students can then use to identify career and course pathways for grades 9-12. Courses will include Visual Arts I and II, Computer Programming, Lego Robotics, Entrepreneurship/Marketing, Exploratory Agriculture, Exploratory Vocational Education, Business and Interpersonal Relationships. Principal Burkholder chaired a STEM committee of staff and community members who developed the general proposal. In addition, the high school is proposing to add Sociology as a course for 11th and 12th graders. Action to approve the proposed curriculum changes will be scheduled for the January 20 Regular meeting.
As a final item, Superintendent Hansen explained funding options for work to repair/replace the flat roof at Eastland High School. The Board agreed tentatively to bond out for $140,000 of the work over a 5-year period, and to pay for the remainder of the work from Working Cash reserves.
The Board adjourned to closed session at 7:52 to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the District or legal counsel for the District, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee or against legal counsel for the District to determine its validity, and Litigation, when an action against, affecting or on behalf of the particular District has been filed and is pending before a court or administrative tribunal, or when the District finds that an action is probable or imminent, in which case the basis for the finding shall be recorded and entered into the closed meeting minutes. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(11).
The Board exited closed session at 9:16 p.m. and took the following personnel actions:
1. Approved a motion to post a vacancy for a Technology Assistant for the 2013-14 school year.
2. Approved the family medical leave requests from Heidi Calzavara and Wendy Johnson.
3. Approved the employment / renewal of Randy Asche as head football coach for the E-PC Football Co-operative for the 2013 season (approved by a vote of 4-yes; 3- no).
4. Approved an extension of the current employment contract for Dr. Mark Hansen as Superintendent of Schools to include the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years at percent compensation increases of 0%, 1%, 3%, 3% and 3%.