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Highlights of the Jan. 16 Board of Education Meeting

In his superintendent’s report, Dr. Hannigan provided a recap of the Jan. 16 Early Release Day.  He said the primary focus was on collaboration and teamwork. He thanked Dr. Karen Maturo, Coordinator of Staff Development, her staff and the leadership team for coordinating a great day of learning.  

He talked about the District’s process for developing a new five-year strategic plan. Planning sessions have been scheduled for Feb. 6, April 16 and May 7. They will be facilitated by Dr. Dennis King, a consultant who is also facilitating professional development sessions during Early Release Days. A fourth session may be added. The District is in the process of forming a strategic plan committee made up of 50 to 60 staff, parents, administrators, teachers, community representatives and Board of Education members.

The District is working on a six-month transition process as Dr. Martin transfers from Elementary South to become the principal of the Hawthorn School for Young Learners. The principal position at Elementary South was posted on Jan. 10. The plan is to bring a recommendation for a new principal before the board at the Feb. 27 meeting.  

The 2020-2021 calendar is being finalized. The proposed calendar will be brought before the Board on Feb. 13. Board approval is anticipated on Feb. 27. 

In her president’s report, Board of Education President Robin Cleek briefly discussed the Village Liaison meeting she attended on Jan. 15. She said that Centennial’s plans to overhaul the Hawthorn Mall have not been formalized yet. Additionally, the 2020 Census Committee is looking for volunteers. They need help to get the word out to the community. Since census numbers affect the District’s budget and resources, everyone should be counted. Jennifer Heavrin at the Village of Vernon Hills is coordinating the effort. 

Abe Singh, Director of Finance & Business Operations, discussed revisions to the District’s working capital plan. The existing plan is a result of a physical condition assessment conducted by DLR in 2016. That plan has been revised to include architectural components, such as flooring, paint, doors and windows. Ted Haug with Legat architects discussed the scope of work involved. His firm has put together a proposal that includes an assessment of the conditions/longevity of the architectural components, and the projected costs of those components that need immediate replacement. Legat also developed a proposal for pavement repairs at the South Campus. In particular, the driveways and parking lots at Aspen and Elementary South are in dire condition and need immediate attention. During the Action Items section, the board voted in favor of hiring Legat to handle the paving repairs. 

Mr. Singh discussed 2020-21 student fees. He said the District is recommending no increases to student fees with the exception of lunch fees, which are currently at $3.00. The recommendation is to increase it to $3.10 to comply with the usual increase of the USDA target price for paid student lunches. This may be an action item at the next board meeting. 

Dr. Hannigan brought to the Board the recommendation to hire Ms. LeeAnn Taylor as the new Chief School Business Official. He said 23 applicants originally applied for the position. Through a process of paper and phone screenings and in-person group interviews, two finalists emerged. In a final round of in-person interviews by administrative team members, Ms. Taylor was chosen. 

Ms. Taylor said she was pleased to have the opportunity to join the Hawthorn team. “I want to thank you all for welcoming me,” she said. “Your process was respectful, welcoming and yet challenging. It is an exciting time in the District with all the construction and strategic planning going on. I am really excited to be a part of that.”