school board

Highlights of the May 14 Board of Education Meeting

Winners of Most Improved Student Award Announced

Dr. Joe Yomtoob, a former Hawthorn superintendent, and his wife, Mrs. Parichehr Yomtoob, presented the Most Improved Student Awards at the beginning of the Board meeting. The 2018 recipients are:

Second Grade
Joseph F.- Aspen
Tony L. – School of Dual Language
Elizabeth S. – Elementary North
Cristian G. – Elementary South
Renz S. – Townline Elementary

Fifth Grade
David “Junior” F. – Aspen
Diana H. – School of Dual Language
Trey M. – Elementary North
Daniel N. – Elementary South
Layla S. – Townline Elementary

Eighth Grade
Candela A. – Middle School North
Arleth A. – Middle School South

To apply for this award, students submitted essays on why they felt they deserved the award. They were asked to reflect on how they grew in the last three years of school. They were also asked to detail the steps they took to make improvements, who helped them, and how they planned to continue to grow.

Middle School Dual Language Expansion

District Superintendent Nick Brown provided an update on the middle school dual language expansion. He said that the expanded dual language program will be provided for sixth grade and then for seventh grade with zero impact to the budget. The Board has yet to approve the expansion to eighth grade. The program will include Spanish literacy and social studies classes. The teachers hired to teach social studies will also be helping ELL students.

Kindergarten Building Construction Bids Update

Tom McGrath at Lamp, Inc., discussed specific items that could potentially be reduced or deleted in the construction of the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center to reduce costs. The DLR Group is preparing a memo on how the proposed reductions would affect the overall design of the building. The memo will be submitted to the Board prior to the May 21 community engagement meeting.

Survey Report

Jason Lembke and Bonnie Sanborn of the DLR Group presented the results of the EFMP survey. They said that the survey had a good response rate with 770 responses, of which 637 were complete responses.  (The previous Educational Facilities Master Plan survey had less than 500 responses.) Survey participants were asked to rate the importance of 10 priorities. Participants rated the priorities as follows (in the order of highest to lowest):

  • Equity in space
  • Low first-time cost
  • Extra-curricular spaces
  • Building shift
  • Low life cycle cost
  • Outdoor play/green space
  • Higher density campus
  • Keeping current density
  • Solving traffic issues
  • Preserving enrollment boundaries

The survey also asked participants to rate options offered by community members at the April 30 Community Engagement meeting. The survey found:

  • By a very small margin, there is less support for a kindergarten addition at the Sullivan Center than for the other options.
  • There is somewhat less support for a 450-student dual language K-5 option.
  • There is somewhat more support for an option which accommodates grades 5-8 at Middle School North and Middle School South, and create a new or adaptive reuse building for 750 students in grades 5-8.
  • There is somewhat more support for an option which prioritizes middle school changes over elementary school changes.
  • There is no clear support, or lack of support, for creating a new or adaptive reuse building for Elementary South, grades K-5.
  • There is no clear support, or lack of support, to move forward with the existing Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP). About 25% of the respondents were unfamiliar with the EFMP.

Mr. Lembke provided estimated costs for the options, with the new 5-8 middle school costing the most at $141,500,000 (conventional) and $125,300,000 (adaptive reuse). The least expensive option was the new dual language + pre-K building projected at $107,500,000 (conventional) and $100,400,000 (adaptive reuse). The options will be discussed in further detail at the May 21 Community Engagement Meeting that will take place at 7 p.m. at Middle School South.

Village Trustee Letter

Board members discussed the draft of a letter to trustees of the Village of Vernon Hills asking the Village to explore new ways to generate financial support for the school district. Board members agreed to ask the Village Board to add the letter to the agenda of an upcoming board meeting.

Superintendent’s Report

Mr. Brown mentioned that the eighth-grade promotion ceremonies for Middle School North and Middle School South will take place on May 29 at Vernon Hills High School.  The Middle South ceremony will start at 6 p.m. and the Middle North ceremony will begin at 8 p.m.