The Board of Education unanimously voted in favor of hiring three new staff to fill key positions. These new staff members are Alma Tamayo, coordinator of special services, Allison Stein, director of teaching and learning, and Jennifer Haack, Ed.D., principal of Townline Elementary.
Alma Tamayo is no stranger to Hawthorn. She served as a dual language special education teacher at Hawthorn’s School of Dual Language from 2015 to present, as a first-grade dual language teacher at the same school from 2014 to 2015, and as a bilingual/ELL teacher at Hawthorn’s Elementary South from 2013 to 2014.
Allison Stein formerly served for eight years as the principal at McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Illinois. Prior to that she served in the roles of principal and associate principal at several schools, including Edgewood Middle School and Indian Trail Elementary School in Highland Park, Illinois.
Jennifer Haack, Ed.D., most recently served as associate principal of Fremont Elementary and Intermediate Schools in Mundelein from 2013 to present. Prior to that she served as the associate principal of Fremont Elementary School from 2011 to 2013 and as a fourth-grade teacher at Woodland School District 50 in Gurnee from 2001 to 2011.
Board Approves Two Referendum Questions for November
A. 2018 Educational Facilities Master Plan
Over the past year, the board held a series of community engagement meetings to receive community feedback on how the district could resolve the space constraints its schools are presently experiencing. The board selected one option out of several options based on feedback from the community and guidance from professionals. The option includes renovations and additions to all buildings, the construction of a kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center, and STEM centers in the middle schools, but no library renovations. The board unanimously approved a resolution asking for voter approval to issue $48,700,000 School Building Bonds to fund this option. The resolution will appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot.
B. Increasing the Limiting Rate
The addition of the kindergarten building and other building expansions will lead to an increase in the district’s operational costs. To cover these costs, an additional $1.3 million is necessary, which would result in a $.10 tax rate increase. The tax increase on a home valued at $350,000 would be $111. The board unanimously approved a resolution asking for voter approval to increase the limiting rate for the district by an additional amount equal to 0.10 percent above the limiting rate for school purposes for levy year 2017 and establishing the same at 3.332646% of the equalized assessed value of the taxable property for levy year 2018. The resolution will appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot.
Cost Cutting Measures
Facilities Manager Mike Christensen spoke about the district’s cost cutting measures. He said the district is researching moving to solar power in the near future as a way to reduce costs. He said the cost savings at Elementary North alone would be approximately $1.1 million. He said that he is reviewing and dissecting maintenance contracts, and has found opportunities to save $130,000. He also reviewed several changes, such as hiring far less summer workers, not using outside contractors, and using one procurement company instead of multiple vendors, that have led to significant savings.
Board Vice President Jayson Tran thanked Wendy Peterson, administrative assistant to the superintendent, for her years of service at Hawthorn, as she is leaving the district.
Superintendent Joseph Porto discussed the organization of a communications campaign to educate the public about the referendum questions. He mentioned that the Residency Event in August would be a good time to launch the campaign.