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Highlights of the December 10, 2020 Board of Education Meeting

Vice President Wes Polen provided an update on the Dec. 10 holiday celebration for Aprendiendo Jugando students at Hawthorn School of Dual Language. She said that, due to COVID restrictions, this year’s event featured a car parade in which teachers and staff greeted students and Santa Claus packed presents into cars. She thanked staff, as well as parents, community members and businesses, such as BD, Snickelfritz Toys, Culver’s of Mundelein and Dreamland Comics, for their contributions.

District Superintendent Dr. Hannigan provided a presentation on the District’s Return to Learning plan. Allison Stein, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching Learning and Innovation, and LeeAnn Taylor, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Business Operations, also participated. 

Dr. Hannigan said that the District has made it a top priority to return students to classrooms. Once public health entities announce that transmission levels have returned to a moderate rate, the District will implement its hybrid model. It will give families a minimum of two weeks’ notice prior to the implementation of the hybrid model.  

The hybrid model has been approved by the Board for all grades. The registration process is complete, with 52% of families selecting the hybrid model, and 48% selecting the remote learning option. 

The recent parent feedback survey helped the District identify families who were in need of assistance. Staff reached out to a number of families, helping them to connect with district services as well as community resources. 

Adam Palmer, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, provided a presentation on the District’s hiring protocols that focused on recruitment and selection. He reported that the District is building partnerships with universities to widen access to highly qualified candidates and to provide more student teaching opportunities. 

Ms. Taylor provided an update on hotspots available to families. The District is currently partnering with Verizon to provide hotspots. The Key to 73 Foundation has donated $18,000 for this purpose. As the number of requests for hotspots has increased, staff looked into the Comcast Internet Essentials Program, which is available to families eligible for public assistance programs, as an alternative to purchasing hotspots. The District has the opportunity to enter into an agreement with Comcast that allows them to serve as the sponsor to the subscribers (families) of the District. The District would assist families with the application process and be billed for eligible households at a rate of $9.95 per month, which is a significant cost savings over the current practice of purchasing additional hotspots. The Key to 73 Foundation is raising money for the project. This agreement will be presented at the January meeting. 

In his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Hannigan said that the District will likely receive impact fees of $112,000 from the developer of a senior housing development at the site of the AMC theater. He said that normally, school districts do not receive impact fees for age restricted developments. However, at the Dec. 8 Village of Vernon Hills board meeting, the trustees denied the request to waive the impact fee. Hawthorn expects to receive the fee from the developer contingent upon the Village approving their building permit. 

ACTION ITEMS 

The board approved the following action items:

  • Resolution to Levy 2020 Property Tax 
  • Resolution Authorizing a Supplemental Tax Levy to Pay the Principal of and Interest on Outstanding Limited Bonds of the District 
  • Approval of the Intergovernmental Agreement with the Village of Vernon Hills regarding the Hawthorn Mall TIF District 
  • Approval of the Renewal of Shared Service Contract at the Early Learning Center 
  • Approval of the Food Service Contract Amendment