school board

Highlights of the April 9 Board of Education Meeting

Bond Update

Elizabeth Hennessy, Managing Director at Raymond James, provided a bond update that focused on the refunding of outstanding bonds as well as non-referendum bonds to help pay for capital projects over the summer. She discussed a reimbursement resolution that the District is considering that would preserve the ability for the District to reimburse itself with the proceeds of any debt issue. The District is planning to issue $1.5 million of Debt Service Extension Base (DSEB) working cash bonds in 2018 in conjunction with its construction plans. The Series 2009B non-referendum (DSEB) bonds are callable on January 1, 2019. Refunding these bonds will generate savings and can be sold at the same time as the $1.5 million. The Series 2009A bonds are also callable on January 1, 2019, generating significant savings. The estimated debt service savings from refunding the Series 2009A and Series 2009B bonds is just under $1,300,000. This savings goes a long way towards offsetting the estimated total debt service cost (principal and interest) of $1,955,000 to generate $1,500,000 of proceeds for summer maintenance projects.

John Powers Center Overview

Terri Nilson-Bugella, Principal of the John Powers Center, gave a presentation on the programs available at her facility through the Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL).  She said that the John Powers Center offers both a Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) program and a Language and Social Skills Opportunities (LASSO) program. DHH program students mainstream at Townline Elementary and Middle School North, while LASSO program students mainstream at Elementary North and Middle School North.

The teachers at the Center understand the unique communication needs of students who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as those who are autistic. Many hard of hearing students don’t have enough hearing to learn about the world incidentally. They have significant delays in language acquisition and difficulty with the social nuances of language, which can often lead to reduced academic achievement. Communication difficulties can also lead to social isolation and a poor concept of self. Staff members support students in many ways, including creating opportunities for direct communication with adults and peers. The skills the students are learning include organizational skills, whole body listening, behavior regulation, reading social cues and body language, and thinking with your eyes. Almost all students are mainstreamed for art, PE and music at Hawthorn schools. A number are also mainstreamed for academics.


Board President Sonali Patil recognized Middle School North Principal Robert Collins for being named Lake Region Principal of the Year by the Illinois Principals Association. He will be officially recognized at an upcoming breakfast. She also recognized Middle School North English teacher Ms. Rohlfing for being named Teacher of the Month by SHE 100.3 and Jewel Osco. She was nominated by a former student who remembered what an impact she had made many years ago.

Kindergarten Building Update

District Superintendent Nick Brown provided an update on the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. He is working with Hawthorn’s architect team to respond to questions from members of the Vernon Hills Planning and Zoning Commission and will meet with the Commission again in May. He also met with residents of Victory Centre. The District is looking at possible alternative access routes to address their concerns.

Hawthorn has begun to receive bids for the construction project. Nineteen of 23 trade packages were opened with a total of 118 bids submitted. Lamp, Inc. is conducting scope reviews with the lowest bidders. Another bid opening will take place on April 17. When a bid is officially selected, the District will learn the actual construction cost of the building. The estimated cost is $12 million.

Summer Construction Projects

District Facilities Manager Michael Christensen gave a presentation on the construction projects scheduled for the summer. He discussed 12 projects that would cost $272,800. This year’s goals are to target paving, painting, exterior lighting upgrades, scissor lift replacement, boiler replacement, stair tread and flooring replacement, building water leaks, hot water heater replacement and ceiling track replacement. He will be utilizing seasonal helpers to get these jobs done.

April 5 Community Engagement Meeting

The Board members discussed the April 5 community engagement meeting which took place at Elementary North. The general consensus was that the meeting went well. Board members emphasized that the main purpose of this series of meetings is to ask community members what they would like their school district to look like, as they are the ones who will ultimately vote and make the decisions. The meeting on April 17 will be another opportunity for the Board to listen to the community. The April 30 meeting will be a working meeting with the community to prioritize solutions.

Thank You to Dr. Leali

Mr. Brown thanked Dr. Lisa Leali, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, for the many years she served at Hawthorn. He wished her well in her future endeavors.

President’s Report:

Ms. Patil said that the eighth-grade promotion will take place on May 29 at Vernon Hills High School. The Middle School South ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. followed by the Middle School North ceremony at 8 p.m.