Board of Education President Sonali Patil gave a presentation on the Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP) survey at the Special Session of the Board of Education on October 26. She started by thanking the approximately 500 people who participated in the survey, which was launched last summer to gauge community perceptions about the District’s facility planning efforts. The data and facts she presented specifically addressed questions and concerns that community members had conveyed through the survey. The presentation is available online. Here are some key points of the presentation:
- The District’s buildings are between 12 and 42 years old. The oldest building is Middle School North, which was built in 1975. This building has not received any new additions. Elementary North, Elementary South and Aspen have received additions.
- The District enrollment numbers are growing at a fast pace. For the 2008/09 school year, the enrollment was 3,825. For the year, 2016/2017, the enrollment grew to 4,442. This year we have seen an increase of 41 students over the same time last year, and expect to see more over the year. A demographic study performed by John Kasarda, a consultant known as the gold standard of demographers, predicted that enrollment would grow to 4,500 by the end of 2018 and would reach 5,069 by the 2025/26 school year, an increase of 569 students between those years for series C projections.
- The district has informed the villages of Mundelein, Libertyville and Vernon Hills that it has reached capacity. It has asked for assistance in offsetting the costs for accommodating students coming from new developments such as Riviera Estates, The Residences at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens, Mellody Farms, Woodland Chase and Majestic Pines. However, the villages cannot change the impact fee formula that is already set. The District also doesn’t have the financial resources to pursue the redistricting of students. Libertyville students cannot be transferred to Libertyville schools and Mundelein students cannot be transferred to Mundelein schools.
- Capacity numbers do not tell the full story. While some buildings appear to be under capacity when you look at the numbers, they are over capacity when programming needs (such as special education) are figured in.
- Numerous adjustments have been made at the schools to accommodate the high enrollment rates. For example, in some schools, PE is taking place in cafeterias, band and orchestra lessons take place on a stage or in an old warming kitchen, choir is in a cafeteria, writing is in a resource center and special services is in teacher work rooms.
- There is not enough space in our buildings to bring back the Early Childhood/Pre-Kindergarten classes that are currently at Lincoln.
- The building of the kindergarten facility at the Sullivan Center will provide temporary relief for space problems at the elementary level, but it will not help the space challenges at Middle School North and Middle School South.
- Kindergarten teachers provided extensive input into the design of the kindergarten facility.
- The District asked for permission to issue $42 million in bonds, but construction would not have started on all buildings at the same time. The Board would have had five years to issue the bonds after the referendum passed. The construction would have been done in phases. Thus, tax payers would have paid less than the estimated $26 per month for the homeowner of a $350,000 home.
- The District utilized many different communications channels to inform the community about the referendum. However, legally, the Board could only provide factual information about the referendum; it could not launch a marketing campaign to promote it.
Ms. Sonali finished her presentation by adding that the Board and administrative staff are working to earn the community’s trust and respect. She said that the Board will revisit the EFMP plan after the feedback it has received and will work to solve the issues at hand. Other Board members at the meeting provided their feedback throughout the presentation.