school board meeting

Highlights of the July 24 Board of Education Meeting

Watch the July 24 Board of Education Meeting

 Abe Singh, the District’s Director of Finance and Business Operations, provided a budget update for fiscal year 2016/2017, noting that the numbers are not finalized yet. He compared the District’s per pupil operating cost of $12,742 with other local school districts. District 73’s per pupil operating cost was lower than the costs of many nearby schools such as Grayslake (which is at $12,841 per pupil), Libertyville ($13,464) and Fremont ($12,975).

While discussing revenue, he stated that the Educational Fund fell short by $1,812,000. This was due to the state budget impasse. However, the District anticipates receiving these funds in the future. Additionally, he discussed the impact that a potential property tax freeze would have on the District. If the tax freeze is imposed for two years, the District would lose $2,913,936.  If it is imposed for four years, the District would lose $9,843,707. A public hearing on the 2017/2018 budget has been scheduled for August 14.

Mr. Singh also provided an update on summer maintenance projects. At Elementary North, staff repaired old concrete outside the building, removed old risers that were not ADA compliant and replaced four uni-ventilators. At Middle School North, maintenance staff installed an ADA-compliant ramp at the south exit door and are in the process of replacing AHU and boiler circulation pumps.

Superintendent Nick Brown provided an update on the construction of the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. While it had originally been thought that the facility could not be taller than one-story, Mr. Brown said that the building could potentially be two stories as long as the building is used solely as a kindergarten. A two-story building would allow for more design options and the potential preservation of wetlands near the building. Preliminary designs are scheduled to be presented in August 14.

The Board approved a new first-grade teaching position at Elementary South and a fifth-grade teaching position at Aspen Elementary.  The positions are needed to address the student population increase at the schools.

Mr. Brown also expressed appreciation for the teachers and staff who collected funds and supplies for families affected by the recent flood.

 

 

 

 

Education Foundation Launched

The Hawthorn District 73 Board of Education warmly greeted the newly appointed Hawthorn Education Foundation inaugural board at its recent meeting.

The seven-member foundation board collectively has extensive background in fundraising. grant writing and capital projects for schools.  Helping to create non-governmental financial support for District 73 is one of the most important and effective methods for fostering sustained academic excellence. The purpose of the Education Foundation is to raise private sector funds to support the goals of our Strategic Plan.  Jill Martin, principal of Elementary South School, will facilitate the foundation. Please click here to meet the inaugural board.

Educational Facilities Master Plan Approved

On January 11 the Board of Education adopted an Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP) for the district.  An EFMP is a 10-year facilities plan to support the district’s growing needs and long-term strategic plan.  The Board selected the revised Option B – On Campus Additions.  The revision includes plans to add STEM facilities to each building along with relocating 18 kindergarten classrooms to the Sullivan Center, the purchase of an 11.8 acre site across from Elementary South, all other additions and renovations (current needs and future growth) at existing schools and relocate EC/Pre-K from Lincoln Center to Elementary North.  The Dual Language kindergarten would remain with the School of Dual Language. For additional information, please visit the Hawthorn 73 website.

BOE and VHPD Form a Partnership

The District 73 Board of Education and the Vernon Hills Park District Board agreed to begin discussions toward an Inter-Governmental Agreement to create a partnership to construct a Kindergarten Center at the Sullivan Center.  This partnership is part of the Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP).  The Board is already taking steps to begin the implementation of the plan.  The Board is looking to fund the project out of cash reserves to pay for this component of the EFMP.

Referendum Ballot Proposition


On January 11 the Board of Education passed a resolution providing for and requiring the submission of a ballot proposition for the consolidated election on April 4, 2017 in the amount of $42,000,000.  The $42,000,000 would cover the costs of the remaining components for revised Option B On Campus Additions of the Educational Facilities Master Plan to build and equip additions to, improve the sites of and alter, repair and equip school buildings, including to provide STEM facilities; acquire and improve a site.

BOE Meeting

The Hawthorn Board of Education meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, August 8 in the district office. Please click here for the agenda. There is also a public hearing on the proposed budget.

Tentative Budget Adoption

The Hawthorn School District 73 Board of Education in June tentatively approved a $74.72 million budget for the 2016-2017 school year. The budget is backed by $70.41 million in revenue. A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Monday, August 8. The budget is up for Board adoption on Monday, September 12.

The district is utilizing funds set aside for capital projects to complete projects that were part of a capital reserve study done in 2008.  The operating deficit includes $500,000 that the Board of Education has approved to take care of a new phone system for the district.

Overall, operating expenses have seen an increase of less than 1 percent.

Instruction, which accounts for 57 percent of the expenses shows an increase of 3.5 percent. Salaries and benefits for the district’s 600 employees make up 80 percent of the budget. Staff oversees the education of about 4,273 students in preschool through Grade 8.

“Overall we feel confident that we have a budget that is addressing our student’s needs, and the financial needs of the district. We continue to monitor the shrinking revenue side of our budget while continuing to ensure that we are responsible with our taxpayer dollars. We will keep an eye on Springfield, and work with our legislators to make sure that we are not shortchanged in the process of realigning dollars at the state level,” said Brad Goldstein, Associate Superintendent of Finance & Business Operations.

The public is welcome to stop in the district offices at 841 West End Court, Vernon Hills, where the budget is available for public review. The tentative budget is also available on the finance page on the district website. The Board is expected to adopt the budget at its Monday, September 26 meeting.

 

Architect Contract Approved

At its April meeting, the Hawthorn Board of Education authorized an architectural contract for DLR Group, of Chicago.

DLR Group estimates a 12 to 14 week process to develop an Educational Facility Master Plan for Hawthorn School District 73. That process will include analyzing the facilities, meeting with stakeholders, and developing proposals. As part of the master plan, the architectural team, administration and board members will include valuable input from parents, staff, students, and community members.

Once they have sufficient information, the architectural team will make proposals to resolve overcrowding and space constraints in the district’s six school buildings.

The Board of Education authorized DLR Group to consider new construction options and to reconfigure existing school space to alleviate overcrowding. Members agreed that the student teacher ratio goal should be 25:1 per classroom, which is the current number the district uses. Board members felt strongly that curriculum and the use of technology should inform how teachers use space in schools.

The board directed DLR Group to use enrollment projection numbers developed by John D. Kasarda, Ph.D., Consulting Demographer, which show an increase by as much as 500 students in the next five years.

Hawthorn has been experiencing space capacity challenges in its school buildings for several years. Hawthorn’s current enrollment of 4,264 in grades preschool through eighth jumped dramatically over last year’s number. This increase in enrollment puts additional stress on the space available in the buildings. The Board recognizes that class sizes are at or nearing capacity in some schools. Additionally, the Board recognizes that several of the schools are nearing enrollment capacity and that additional housing development within the district boundaries is going to add to that enrollment.

 

 

 

 

Process Continues on Facilities

The Hawthorn Board of Education conducted a work session to set parameters for the scope and process of architectural work to resolve current and future space constraints on its six school buildings.

The consensus of the board was to use enrollment projection numbers developed by John D. Kasarda, Ph.D., Consulting Demographer, which show an increase by as much as 500 students in the next five years.

To deal with overcrowding, the Board of Education agreed to have its architect, DLR Group, of Chicago, consider new construction options and reconfiguring existing school space. Members agreed that the student teacher ratio goal should be 25:1 per classroom, which is the current number the district uses.

Board members felt strongly that curriculum and the use of technology should inform how teachers use space in schools. With that agreed upon, on Monday, April 25, the board is expected to review architectural costs for developing an Educational Facility Master Plan.

Once the DLR Group fees have been established, the firm can begin meeting with staff, parents, and community members to gauge their impressions of space needs for student learning.

Hawthorn has been experiencing space capacity challenges in its school buildings for several years. Hawthorn’s current enrollment of 4,264 in grades preschool through eighth jumped dramatically over last year’s number. This increase in enrollment puts additional stress on the space available in the buildings. The Board recognizes that class sizes are at or nearing capacity in some schools. Additionally, the Board recognizes that several of the schools are nearing enrollment capacity and that additional housing development within the district boundaries is going to add to that enrollment.

Funding Issues on the Horizon

Educational funding has been a hot topic for some time and recently Mr. Nick Brown, Hawthorn superintendent, was invited to  Springfield to share the impact of the proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1. Along with SB 1, the state is looking at other financial changes that would impact Hawthorn School District 73. The state is discussing the potential of cost shifting pension from the state to the local districts as well as a property tax freeze. Add all three of these ideas together and Hawthorn stands to loose millions of dollars in the budget.

District 73 stands to lose $3.13 million —a loss of about $700 per student a year if a school funding reform act, Illinois Senate Bill 1 or a similar bill, is voted into law. This is the equivalent of 57 teachers, 114 instructional assistants or 5.7 times what the district spends annually on curricular resources. This does not mean the district would eliminate these positions, this is just a comparative analogy. The district currently spends approximately $300,000 per year on activities, clubs and after-school sports.

If the bill becomes law, District 73 would lose 77 percent of its state funding, greatly impacting its ability to continue with its high quality education to its students.

Another proposal on the table is to shift the teachers’ pension onto school districts, which would cost Hawthorn $425,000 over five years. A property tax freeze is also being discussed, which would cost Hawthorn up to $1 million in revenue annually.

 

 

 

Architect Gets Underway

Architect DLR Group, of Chicago, has begun working with the Hawthorn School District 73 administrative team and Board of Education to determine space needs for student learning. DLR Group was selected from among eight firms that submitted proposals.

DLR Group is considered the largest K-12 architectural firm in the country. The firm’s next step is to begin working on an Educational Facility Master Plan for the district to address the district’s space needs over the next several years.

Hawthorn has been experiencing space capacity challenges in its school buildings for several years. Hawthorn’s current enrollment of 4,264 in grades kindergarten through eighth jumped dramatically over last year’s number. This increase in enrollment puts additional stress on the space available in the buildings. Over the last 30 years, the district’s enrollment has doubled to its current number. The district is expected to grow between 400 students and 800 students over the next 10 years, according to John D. Kasarda, Ph.D., Consulting Demographer.

“Most schools are at their enrollment capacity and we need to consider using existing space more creatively or finding more space, if possible,” Superintendent Nick Brown said.

Credit Card System Down March 7

Our credit card payment system will be down on Monday, March 7 for system upgrades.  These upgrades will provide for more robust reporting of students fees.  We apologize for any inconvenience.