Saturday, July 28, 2012
School Board meeting highlights: Destination Excellence awards, closing the fiscal year, public hearing for proposed 2012-2013 budget
The Lincoln-Way School District 210 Board of Education discussed its 2012-13 budget Thursday, closing the previous year with a $3.2 million deficit. The main order of business was the closing of the district's 2011-2012 budget and the passage of a resolution to display the proposed 2012-2013 budget for public inspection through Sept. 11, followed by a public hearing. The board will vote on the approval of the budget on Sept. 13. The district closed its 2011-2012 budget with a deficit of $3,274,621 as of June 30. Supt. Lawrence Wyllie said the deficit was caused by a discrepancy between the amount of tax dollars and categorical grants the district was supposed to receive and the amount that was actually dispersed. "The categoricals, we …
Monday, January 30, 2012
Faced with difficult economic situations, the school districts around the Lincoln-Way area are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future. Staff cuts, increased fees and closing schools could be options. What could that mean for students?
The recession. Reduced property tax revenues because of a bursting housing bubble. Disappearing state aid. The past few years have been a perfect economic storm for the school districts in the Lincoln-Way area, a storm that has challenged their boards of education and administrators to maintain the same high quality education for students with fewer funds. Naturally, parents in these districts are concerned and have questions. How will possible cuts or layoffs affect a student's education? What will this mean for extra-curricular activities? What can a parent do to ensure his or her child gets the best schooling possibility? YOUR TURN! Take our poll and tell us your thoughts about your children's future in the Lincoln-Way school systems …
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Because of decreasing property taxes and state aid, the Lincoln-Way High School District is considering various cuts and fee increases. The school board got a budget update Jan. 28 and took questions from hundreds of concerned parents and staff.
The Lincoln-Way High School District is considering millions of dollars in possible budget cuts or fee increases, and while speaking to hundreds of community members Saturday morning, District 210 Supt. Larry Wyllie put the blame squarely on the state. Parents, students and Lincoln-Way employees filled the auditorium at Lincoln-Way West on Saturday morning for an annual planning meeting the school board has to review revenue and expenditure projections. Did you miss the meeting? Read Wyllie's presentation in the PDF attached to this article. Wyllie explained the cash flow for stakeholders and board members before fielding questions, and tried to make his point clear that none of the ideas to cut postions or increase fee is final. "This is …
Saturday, January 21, 2012
The Mokena teachers union and District 159 signed a new contract Saturday morning. Here are some of the details.
On Saturday morning, the Mokena Teachers Association and District 159 signed a three-year contract putting an end to months of tense negotiations and public protests. The following information on the new contract is courtesy school board President John Troy. Previously: The five-year contract that expired over the summer had yearly 5-percent raises. Now: Year One: No raise Year Two: 2-percent raise Year Three: 2.5-percent raise Previously: The district paid a portion of each teacher's health insurance, paid as set dollar amounts per month depending on which insurance plan the teacher chose. The district and the teachers split any increases in health insurance cost. If the premiums went up 10 percent, the district would have paid 5 percent…
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Current board members will interview the top three candidates from a field of 14 on Jan. 4.
Fourteen people applied for the open Summit Hill School District 161 board seat, and the current members will fill the spot at a special meeting Jan. 4. Board members will review applications and narrow the field to three candidates by the end of the month, according to instructions given to the board. The remaining three candidates will be interviewed by board members Jan. 4, and a decision will be made and the candidate notified that night, the instructions stated. READ: Molinare to Join Lincoln-Way Board, Must Resign Summit Hill The new board member will be seated at the board's Jan. 11 meeting. The board has an open seat after former member Dee Molinare was appointed Dec. 3 to the Lincoln-Way School District 210 board, filling its …
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Board members voiced their opinions at Wednesday night's meeting. Ultimately, they decided to gather community input before deciding whether to use an outside search firm to help with the hiring process.
Some school board members got a tad heated Wednesday night when they broached the subject of how best to search for a new superintendent for Summit Hill School District 161. The debate centered on whether help from an outside agency is needed for the search or if the district should rely on its own in-house resources. An informal board vote ruled in favor of officials holding off on hiring a search firm. Instead, they will continue distributing surveys to various groups of stakeholders. They also took one more step during Wednesday's regular meeting, which was held at Dr. Julian Rogus School, by scheduling a Dec. 1 public forum in the district office to gather community input in lieu of—at least for now—seeking those outside services. …
Saturday, October 29, 2011
A group of teachers and parents had their say Thursday night on where the board should go. Now you tell us what you think.
During a heated Mokena District 159 School Board meeting earlier this week, a group of about 50 to 70 teachers and parents protested lack of movement on a new teacher contract. Read about and watch video from the teacher/parent protest. Several of the teachers said a new contract should be the district's top priority, coming ahead of the board's planned business at the meeting, which included ordering a comprehensive review of what it would take to bring back Early Start and all-day kindergarten. Some of the options below aren't mutually exclusive, but if you had your druthers, what would the board put first?
Friday, October 14, 2011
Mark Franceschini, 46, of Mokena, was sworn in Thursday night to fill the seat of former board member Frank Ventura.
The Mokena 159 School Board on Thursday swore in its newest member, 15-year resident Mark Franceschini, 46, of Mokena. Franceschini replaces Frank Ventura, who resigned in September due to health concerns. Watch video of Ventura's farewell speech to the board. Franceschini was one of four nominees to replace Ventura, board President John Troy said. A frequent attendee of board meetings, Franceschini said his decision to apply was due to what he described as the board's change in direction in recent months. "I like the direction the board's going and I want to help it continue in that direction," Franceschini said. Franceschini cited two recent board actions as particularly encouraging to him: a move opening up all action items for public …
Thursday, September 22, 2011
New rules would call for comments before each vote.
People wanting to speak at Mokena School District 159 board meetings will have more chances. During the most recent meeting, the board voted 4-2 in favor of policy changes that will affect how the public speaks at meetings. Under the new rule, the board will ask the audience if they have any comments on each and every action item that comes before the board. Currently, residents wishing to speak during the meetings have to sign up before the meeting starts. Board President John Troy said he does not expect this to slow down meetings, as only a few of the votes will draw any comment. "Ninety percent of them, it won't matter. The 10 percent it does matter, people will appreciate it," Troy said. Board member Kathy Moore voted against the …
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Losing the business manager and the superintendent during budget talks put the district against the clock, several board members said.
The Mokena 159 School Board on Wednesday night passed an $18 million deficit budget not because they're happy with it, but because turnover at the highest levels pushed the district up against the state deadline. "It's not an ideal budget and it's not an ideal situation," said Pat Markham, one of the two school board members on the finance committee that helped set the budget. The tentative budget approved Wednesday plans for $18.6 million in expenditures and $17.5 million in revenues. This means there's nearly $1.1 million more going out than coming in. While board President John Troy praised the finance committee for shaving $430,000 off expenses, he said the transition from the August resignation of Business Manager Barb Germany and the…