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Highlights of the October 15 Board of Education Meeting

Board President Robin Cleek thanked staff, teachers, administrators, parents and the Hawthorn community for their support as remote learning continues. She said the vast majority of feedback has been positive. 

Board Vice President Wes Polen provided an update on the Oct. 6 public hearing on the proposed Hawthorn Mall tax increment financing district held by the Village of Vernon Hills. She read the statement she had presented at the hearing on behalf of the District. The statement said that the District had reached a mutually satisfactory intergovernmental agreement with the Village on the proposed TIF district and looks forward to finalizing this agreement. 

District Superintendent Dr. Hannigan provided an update on the District’s Return to Learning Plan. He thanked community members for their support, cooperation and patience. Any decisions made in respect to the school year and transitioning to in-person learning reflect the District’s top priority of ensuring the health and safety of its students. He reviewed the tentative timeline for transitioning to a hybrid model, which is as follows:

  • October 26: Early Childhood Students Return to Learning (Hybrid Model)
  • November 9: Pre-K Students and K-2 Students in Self-Contained Special Education Return to Learning (Hybrid Model)
  • November 12: Board Update (Hybrid Model Outlined for All K-2 Students and 3-8 Students in Self-Contained Special Education) 
  •  November 30:All K-2 Students and 3-8 Students in Self-Contained Special Education Return to Learning (Hybrid Model) 
  • December 10: Board Update (Hybrid Model Outlined for All 3-8 Students) 
  • January 4: All 3-8 Grade Return to Learning (Hybrid Model)

He said the district would need to be prepared to move back and forth from hybrid to remote learning based on metrics from the Lake County Health Department. The Health Department data, which is available on the Lake County School Decision Dashboard, is broken into three phases:

  • Virtual: All learning is remote for all learners as community spread is substantial. 
  • Hybrid: Some learning can and should occur in-person based on student need while minimizing risk as community spread is moderate.
  • Full In-Person: All learning can occur in person as community spread is minimal. 

He emphasized that the data is currently trending in the wrong direction, but the Health Department has not yet discouraged the implementation of a hybrid model. In terms of next steps, he said that parents with children in Early Childhood, Pre-K and K-2 self-contained special education will receive a letter containing a link they can use to select the learning option they prefer. 

Ted Haug with Legat Architects presented a design development update for Elementary South. He said that the major alternate for the building, which was to switch the LRC with the administration area, turned out to be more expensive than anticipated. The team is trying to accomplish what they were originally trying to achieve through the switch without implementing the switch. They proposed expanding the nurses’ area, and making the existing building entryway more prominent so that it is clearly identifiable as the main entrance. 

Assistant Superintendent of Finance & Business Operations LeeAnn Taylor provided a presentation on the tax levy for 2020. She said the District’s ask last year was $46,092,500. The actual extension was $44,082,254. This year, the District is requesting $46,925,000. A public hearing will be held on November 12, 2020. 

In his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Hannigan provided an update on the new Superintendent Communication Council which was launched to increase lines of communication among staff. He said the first meeting was successful with representatives from each building sharing positive collaboration efforts. Administrators also provided answers to staff members’ questions, which were distributed to all staff. He provided updates on MAP testing, the Oct. 9 Teacher Institute Day and the drafting of the intergovernmental agreement regarding the tax increment financing district. 

In the Action Items section, the implementation of the Early Childhood, Pre-K and K-2 self-contained, special education hybrid model was approved.