Recap of April 7 Special Board Meeting

Recap of April 7 Special Board Meeting
Posted on 04/08/2020

Action Items

-The Board of Education voted to ratify the actions of the Superintendent and the COVID-19 Executive Team, which were necessary to respond to the public health crisis arising as a result of the unexpected and extraordinary circumstances associated with the COVID 19 pandemic; to preserve the health, safety and welfare of the District's students, staff and their families and to conduct the essential business services and operations of the District consistent with the Governor's Disaster Proclamation and subsequent Executive Orders affecting public schools, guidance and rule changes announced by the Illinois State Board of Education and other local, State or federal laws, such as the CARES Act. This Board Resolution consolidates action taken by the Superintendent and the COVID-19 Executive Team through April 4, 2020 arising from school closures and the resulting actions necessary for facilitating remote learning and other essential services or governmental functions (in the case of activities associated with federal grants) as costs of pausing and restarting federal grant funded activities as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis.  The COVID-19 Executive Team consists of: Theresa Plascencia, Superintendent; Eduardo Cesario, Deputy Superintendent; LeBaron Moten, Chief Operations Officer; Nick Alajakis, Chief of Staff and Communications Director; Tom Morris, General Counsel and Kathryn Vander Broek, Deputy General Counsel/General Counsel (effective April 1, 2020), and Jason Nault, Associate Superintendent for Equity, Innovation and Accountability. In an effort to streamline the materials and actions needed by the Board, the Administration has consolidated essential action items in a single resolution for action by the Board. This action does not preclude, and was not intended to preclude, the Board members from discussing any of the items recommended for action. This streamlined approach is consistent with the directives of Governor Pritzker's Executive Order 2020 -07 "to postpone consideration of public business where possible." The dollar amount associated with the purchases of software licenses is $45,413.08. Costs associated with employee salary and benefit save pay actions are not yet tallied and will be shared at a future meeting.

-The Board of Education voted to adopt a resolution of actions found to be necessary in order to contribute to the critical effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019 and to comply with the Executive Orders issued by the Office of the Governor, respond to guidance and rule changes announced by the Illinois State Board of Education, and maintain essential services and operations while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to streamline the materials and actions recommended to the Board of Education deemed necessary for the District to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting public health related school closures and stay at home orders issued by local, state and federal authorities, including the delivery of remote learning and continuance of essential governmental functions,  the Administration has consolidated essential action items in a single resolution for action by the Board. This action does not preclude, and was not intended to preclude, the Board members from discussing any of the items recommended for action. This streamlined approach is consistent with the directives of Governor Pritzker's Executive Order 2020 -07 "to postpone consideration of public business where possible."    


-The Board of Education voted to approve the Yeoman Creek Solar Project rent split proposal recommended by the Administration as the minimum acceptable financial term for a land lease. Under the federal court Consent Order, Yeoman Creek is managed by the Yeoman Creek Remediation Group, which consists of several public and private entities who were determined to be responsible parties liable for the costs of remediation.  The proposed solar collection project, which is part of the end use plan, will result in the payment of rent by the developer, BQ Energy, LLC. Discussions have been ongoing within the YCRG about how the anticipated revenue would be shared by members of the Group. After lengthy negotiations, it has been tentatively proposed that District 60, as the landowner, will receive 35% of the total rent, and its respective share of 65% paid to the YCRG.  Thus, under this proposal, the District would receive approximately 42% of the total rental income, or approximately $76,000 annually after the site is in operation. Not all members of the YCRG are in agreement with this proposal, and some members seek that as much as 90% of the rent flow to the YCRG participants. Clarity about this issue is needed to allow the parties to proceed to formalize a land lease agreement.

-The Board of Education voted to approve the engagement of two appraisers for purposes of defending two separate real estate tax appeal hearings at a cost of $12,000. Annually the Board incurs legal and expert witness fees to defend the District's real estate tax base in those situations where commercial properties seeking significant downward revisions in their assessments.  At this time, it has been determined that assistance is needed from two appraisers to support the current appraised values and defend against the claimed reductions.



Personnel Items

-The Board of Education approved Amendment No. 12 to Legal Counsel’s contract. The amendment extends Legal Counsel’s contract to June 30, 2020. 

-The Board of Education approved the Administration's recommendation to issue a notice of dismissal to nine (9) teaching staff designated for non-renewal status as recommended by the Principals and the Area Superintendents consistent with the teacher evaluation process.

-The Board of Education approved resignations, retirements and appointments of 11 staff members. 

-The Board of Education voted to waive the requirement of multiple readings, set forth in Policy 2105 Policy Development and Implementation, in light of the unexpected and emergency need to address supplemental family and medical leave in support of those employees who may have been directly impacted by COVID-19, consistent with the terms of the policy and approve the policy as recommended by the Administration. This policy reflects the terms of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA), which  was signed into law as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in response to the novel Coronavirus 2019 pandemic, a public health emergency. The policy addresses temporary emergency family and medical leave for employees who have to take off work to care for children under the age of 18 due to closure of a school or care center or unavailability of a child's caretaker. The leave expands the leave reasons currently in place for FMLA but does not extend the overall 12 week family and medical leave period.  There is a per person cap of $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate associated with EFMLA. The policy expires on its own terms as of December 31, 2020, consistent with the Act. 

-The Board of Education voted to waive the requirement for multiple readings of a policy, as set forth in Policy 2105 Policy Development and implementation, in light of the unexpected and emergency need to address supplemental sick time leave in support of those employees who may have been directly impacted by COVID-19, consistent with the terms of the policy and approve the policy as recommended by the District. This policy addresses temporary emergency sick leave provisions required to be made available to employees consistent with the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (Act), which was signed into law as part of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act in response to the novel Coronavirus 2019 pandemic.  The policy expires on its own terms as of December 31, 2020, consistent with the Act. 



Information Items

-The Board of Education reviewed revisions to Policy 6041, Student Appearance. The District's Student Appearance Policy 6041 contains general student appearance expectations and procedures by which each school could opt to establish a student dress color, or uniform, for its students.   The policy was comprehensively reviewed by two District committees whose recommendations are incorporated into the changes presented to the Board for its consideration. The Board previously was briefed on the basis for the recommended changes to the general student appearance section on September 24, 2019.  On September 24, 2019, the Board also suspended that portion of the policy that addressed consequences which resulted in a student missing school, other than to change into appropriate clothing while at school, pending input from the community on how to proceed with the dress color section of the policy. The District formed a work group consisting of parents, students, staff and administrator representatives to consider the question of whether to maintain the District's dress code options or modify them.  The group developed a survey that was issued to the community mid February, 2020. Questions were posed to students, parents, building staff and administrators. The majority of the survey respondents recommended that the District's "dress colors" or uniform policy practices be removed from the Student Appearance policy and hold students across all school buildings to a general student appearance standard. It was further recommended that the community have 30 days to review the proposed changes to the Student Appearance policy before Board action. 

-The Board of Education reviewed Policy 3331, Travel Expenditure Controls. The policy is amended to establish standards and expectations regarding work related expenditures and procedures for reimbursement beyond travel related expenses as a result of a change in Illinois law.  With this expansion, its title is recommended to be modified to Work Expenditures - Controls.  


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