Summary of the Homer School District 33C
Board of Education Meeting
September 29, 2016
Barb Wilson, President Angela Adolf, Vice President Amy Blank, Secretary
Deb Martin, Member Ed Campins, Member Elizabeth Hitzeman, Member Russ Petrizzo, Member
Prior to the regular Board meeting:
- The Board held a public hearing at 7:15 on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Will County Board members Mike Fricilone and Steve Balich addressed the Board of Education and asked the District to find a way to freeze the tax rate or have it go down.
At the regular Board meeting:
- Parent Cindy DeNormandie addressed the board and said she appreciates what the teachers do for children. She encouraged the District to do what’s best for them.
- The Board recognized Deb Brom and her specially trained therapy dog, Toby, for comforting students and staff at Schilling School after 8-year-old classmate and friend died at home. Brom works in the district’s business office as the accounting coordinator.
- Teachers Union representative Cathy Clayton reported contract negotiations continue and that the bargaining teams have filed for a mediator. Their next meeting is October 19th . In the meantime, teachers will continue to provide students with the best educational experience possible.
- Support Staff Union representatives Susan Koziarski reported the Union has collected its first wave of Back to School supplies and has distributed them to the schools. The drive will continue throughout the school year and benefit Homer 33C students and their classroom teachers.
- The Board approved the following personnel recommendations:
- Amy Steepleton – Special Education teacher, Homer Junior High School, effective September 30, 2016
- Kim Glynn – lunchroom/recess monitor, Young School, effective September 30, 2016
Leaves of Absence
- Mallory Bazant – 8th grade Math teacher, Homer Junior High School, effective January 22, 2017 through April 14, 2017 and a child care leave of absence from April 18, 2017 through May 19, 2017
- Morgan Buerger – 1st grade teacher, Schilling School, effective February 27, 2017 through May 29, 2017
- Michele Lane – kindergarten teacher, Schilling School, effective November 28, 2016 through February 3, 2016
- Monica Panfil – paraprofessional, Hadley Middle School, effective September 12, 2016 through November 4, 2016
- Michelle Biceste – 5th grade Resource teacher, Hadley Middle School, effective September 30, 2016
- Eyad Malley – Bilingual teacher, Schilling School, effective September 30, 2016
- Heidi Van De Voort – Music teacher, Goodings Grove and Schilling schools, effective September 30, 2016
- Elizabeth Creek – Differentiation Facilitator, Goodings Grove School, effective for the 2016-2017 school year
- Robert Flynn – bus driver, Transportation, effective October 11, 2016
- 2016-2017 ASAP recommendations for Homer Junior High School – Diane Blaskey, 7th grade Math; Sarah Collins, 7th grade Reading; Susan Fink, 8th grade Math; Kathy Kaufman, 8th grade Reading
- 2016-2017 ASAP recommendations for Butler School – Eileen Schulz, 3rd grade Reading; Amie Brainerd, 3rd grade Math, Brian Barnes, 4th grade Reading; Kathy Gorecki, 4th grade Math
- 2016-2017 Schilling Clubs – Megan Heintz and Jessica Schweers, Schilling Super Stars; Stephanie Pearson, Computer Club
- 2016-2017 Goodings Grove Club – Jamie Callan, Club GG
- 2016-2017 Natural Helpers sponsor, Homer Junior High School – Laura Collins
Employee Recall Due to Openings Caused by Resignations or Job Shifts
- Jessica Suerth – Instructional aide, Schilling and Young schools, effective September 30, 2016
- Financial consultant Dr. Robert G. Grossi presented an analysis of the District’s financial condition. He showed:
- How the District’s revenue growth has flattened since 2013
- How the District continues to operate within a balanced budget framework
- How the District’s total real estate tax collections have increased $17.4 million since 2010 while the total employee benefit expenses have increased $18.1 million. As a result, every dollar of increased tax revenues since 2010 have been used to pay for increases in employee benefit expenses
- How major capital expenses have reduced the District’s fund balance reserves to their lowest levels since 2005
- How Homer 33C is one of the few school districts in Illinois that cannot issue tax levy supported debt without going to referendum. As a result, the District must live within its means
- How employee benefit expenses have grown from $7 million in FY 2010 to over $11 million in FY 2016 and continue to escalate. Health insurance premium increases in FY 2017 will result in over $600,000 of additional expenses to the District this year
- How the State’s own fiscal crisis creates possible concerns regarding:
- A change in the state funding formula (Senate Bill 231), which could cost Homer 33C an estimated $2.9 million annually
- A multiple year tax freeze (House Bill 696), which could cost Homer 33C an estimated $1.3 million annually
- A shift of massive pension obligations onto school districts, which could cause Homer 33C to absorb an additional $800,000 to $1.8 million in annual expenses.
In his powerpoint presentation, Grossi also showed how Homer 33C’s salary schedule compares to surrounding school districts, including Frankfort 157C, Manhattan 114, Mokena 159, New Lenox 122 and Lockport 92. It shows beginning teachers being paid below average at the start of their careers but above average as they become more experienced.
He encouraged the District to stay focused on its objective to 1) maintain fiscal stability and 2) provide competitive salary and benefit packages.
- The Board adopted the FY 2017 Budget
- The Board approved a change of date for the March Regular Board meeting. The March Board meeting will be held Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- President Wilson reported the District is working diligently with the Teachers Union on a contract settlement and that the Board is confident that it will be able to partner with the teachers and reach a settlement. The negotiating teams are scheduled to meeting October 19th and October 27th. In the meantime, teachers continue to work under the previous contract
- Member Adolf voiced concern over the number of FOIA requests consistently coming into the District from an anonymous source. She suggested the District see if anything can be done to curb the excessive requests by encouraging the anonymous source to contact the Superintendent first to try and get the questions answered first.
The Next Regular School Board Meeting is October 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
The Board’s Finance & Operations Committee will meet October 12, 2016 p.m. at 4 p.m.