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  • April 29, 2019

    Posted by Administrator on 5/9/2019

    April 29, 2019

    Special Board of Education Meeting

    At the Special Board of Education Meeting on April 29th, Board President Laura Berry administered the Oath of Office to new and re-elected Board Members Linda Peckham-Dodge, Tara Schreiber, and Dave Shalabi.

    Board of Education  



    All agenda items were approved by the Board.  Visit BoardDocs to view the agenda.


    Organizational Board Meeting

    At the Organizational Board of Education Meeting on April 29th, the Board conducted its reorganization, including the election of its officers:

    • Linda Peckham-Dodge was elected Board President
    • Michael Maratea was elected Board Vice President
    • Sandy Kulak was elected Board Secretary


    In addition, Jill Olson was re-appointed Board Recording Secretary

    Linda Peckham-Dodge noted that the Board members should send in which committees they are interested in serving on, and that those appointments will be finalized at the May 13th Board of Education meeting.


    The Board also approved its 2019-2020 meeting schedule. It was noted that a revision to locations will be brought forth at the May 13 regular meeting.  The new schedule has been posted to the web calendar and can also be found on our website.

    Comments (-1)
  • April 8, 2019

    Posted by Administrator on 4/15/2019

    April 8, 2019

    Committee of the Whole

    Summer Projects

    Mr. Bryk discussed two separate bids for roofing upgrades at High Point and Orland Junior High as well as new windows at Park.  He noted that the lowest responsible bids will be presented for approval at the April 8 regular meeting.


    Working Cash Abatement

    Mr. Bryk noted that a resolution will be brought forth at the April 8 regular meeting regarding abatement of the working cash fund in the amount of $2,300,000, which consists of $1,600,000 to Capital Projects and $700,000 to Transportation Fund.


    Surplus Technology Equipment

    Mr. Bryk outlined the resolution to dispose of surplus technology equipment that will be presented for approval at the regular meeting.  The surplus equipment includes PCs, monitors, printers, and other miscellaneous classroom equipment that is no longer needed for educational purposes.


    Debt Refunding and Working Cash Options

    The Board discussed the following debt refunding and working cash options:

    • A $6.8M bond to refinance existing debt, which would cost approximately $39 per year to the average taxpayer; and
    • A new $3.2M bond to assist with the funding of capital projects, such as roofing and HVAC replacement, which would cost an additional $19 per year to the average taxpayer.

    Mr. Hodge suggested that the District should move ahead with the bonds, but use them as a driving force for additional cost-saving measures. Mr. Hodge noted he would like to see the bonds and the cost-cutting to occur simultaneously.  Dr. Berry noted that, while this doesn’t eliminate a need for cuts, the bonds will put the District in a much more favorable position with regards to fund balance. The Board agreed that they would like to move forward with the refinancing as well as the new bond to help pay for upcoming capital projects.


    Student Data

    Mrs. Nichols presented student NWEA MAP testing data from the general student population and several subgroups.  She noted that students across the District are meeting or exceeding their expected growth targets. Mrs. Nichols also showed that students receiving resource services and students in the English Learner (EL) program exceeded the growth of the general student group in several grades.  Mrs. Nichols explained that the third-grade scores tend to dip in reading as they make the transition to intermediate school, and Dr. Berry noted that she would expect next year’s third-graders to be less affected by this transition because they are the first full day kindergarten class.  Dr. Berry explained that these scores show that our children are becoming college and career ready, and that preparation begins in kindergarten. She stated that the children in this District have outstanding teachers and administrators and that the data demonstrate that preparation. Mrs. Nichols noted that junior high EL scores are often lower because those students are typically new to the district and have not previously received services; however, our junior high EL students are performing very well on the MAP test.  


    Committee Development

    The Board discussed the development of Board Advisory Committees.  The discussion began with reading through the draft application. It was suggested to make the deadline for completing the application Sunday, May 12 (the day before the next Board of Education meeting).  The Board also discussed making the rubric available when the application is posted. The Board agreed that an applicant must agree to the last three questions on the application in order to qualify for a seat on any committee.  Those questions include: accepting that the role of a committee member is advisory; that if selected, they will complete the required training; and that the term of a committee member is two years (and that they are limited to serving two consecutive terms). The Board also discussed the selection committee, noting that it would consist of Board members, staff members, and parents and that applicants would be selected with the help of the PFE.  The Board also directed the administration to add information to the application so that applicants understand how much time they are committing to when they agree to serve on a committee. The application is to be posted no later than April 15th and will be shared out via all communication channels so everyone has the opportunity to view and complete the application.


    Staffing Considerations

    Mr. Hodge stated that the personnel committee had met with District Office administrators twice since the last meeting to discuss the staffing considerations that were tabled at the March 11 meeting.  He noted that several positions were too complex to investigate in that amount of time; such positions that fell into that category are being removed from consideration for now, but these will be discussed in Board Advisory Committees at a later time.  Several positions were brought forth for discussion. It was determined that the District would cut its courier position and honorably release all first-year paraprofessionals, as well as one maintenance position through attrition. The Board also noted that they would not replace an instructional technology coach, resulting in additional cost savings.  Additional discussion took place regarding the following positions:

    • Team Leaders:  Mr. Maratea expressed his desire for team leaders to remain intact because they affect students in the classroom.  It was determined that team leaders should be equitable across the District and that this would take additional discussion, so team leaders would not be cut at this time.
    • Residency Investigator:  The Board noted that the residency investigator was put into place to stop families who do not pay taxes in Orland from registering in the District and that it has been extremely successful so far.  The Board expressed a desire to determine, if possible, how much money was saved by not allowing these students to attend school in the District, noting that they did not want to make a decision at this time regarding this position.
    • Director of Safety and Risk Management:  Mr. Okon recommended that the Board not cut this position given how important school safety is.  The Board decided to look at this position in greater detail at a later time.
    • District Technology Specialist: Mr. Bohula noted that the technology department has been continuing to cut overtime hours for staff, and expressed his desire to continue cutting overtime costs without losing a staff member, to which the Board agreed.
    • ELL Coordinator:  The Board discussed the potential of reducing the ELL coordinator and having the assistant director of curriculum absorb those duties. Upon discussion, the Board decided that this position also needed further discussion and would not be voted on at its regular meeting.


    Mrs. Peckham-Dodge briefly outlined options for revenue, including modifying the paid bus rider system (which would create a first-come, first-serve program rather than creating new routes for paid riders), applying for the National School Lunch Program, and participation fees.  She noted that some of these will be either discussed at a later date or will be examined by a Board Advisory Committee.

    Dr. Berry summarized the conversation, noting that a vote will be brought forth to reduce the courier position, reduce one maintenance position and one instructional technology coach through attrition, and to release first-year paraprofessionals.


    Citizen’s Remarks

    Citizen’s Remarks included a desire for remarks to be returned to the beginning of the meeting to serve as a driving force for the discussion, favorable discussion regarding the debt restructuring as long as cuts are still being made, and a request that the Board discusses cutting the safety and residency positions again.



    Board of Education Meeting

    Student Presentation

    Students performing Rock of Ages at Jerling Junior High

    Several Jerling Junior High students presented a piece from their upcoming school musical “Rock of Ages.”



    Student Recognitions

    Jacob Maida

    Jacob Maida, 6th grader at Century Junior High, was recognized for receiving a 2019 Outstanding Student Technology Award from the Infinitec Southwest Assistive Technology Coalition.  


    CJH Girls Volleyball Team

    The Century Junior High girls volleyball team was recognized for placing 1st in the  SWIC conference and tournament.

    Carson Banker

    Jerling Junior High student Carson Banker was recognized for taking home a 1st place individual medal in the mathletes competition.


    (NOT PICTURED): The Century Junior High boys basketball team was recognized for placing 1st in the SWIC tournament.


    AAUW Women's History Month Writing Contest Winners

    The following students were recognized for 

    their winning entries in the Women's History Month Writing Contest, sponsored by Palos-Orland Area AAUW:

    • Katelynn Cabrera
    • Jackson Canellis
    • Ilija Erkapic
    • Karyn Galindo
    • Emmanuel Jimoh
    • Delaney May  
    • Finn Rafferty
    • Gavin Vahl


    Community Spirit Award

    Orland Park Public Library Youth Services

    The Orland Park Public Library Youth Services Department was nominated by the 5th-grade team at High Point School for a Community Spirit Award.


    Staff Recognitions (ABCDE Awards)

    Gary Gow

    Gary Gow was nominated for the value of COMPASSION by Lauren Billo.

    (NOT PICTURED): Ken Kronberg was nominated for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT by the 2nd-grade team at Center School and Mary Ellen Delia.

    Angie Ogean

    Angie Ogean was nominated anonymously for the value of INSPIRATION.

    Jeff Nightingale

    Jeff Nightingale was nominated for the value of COMPASSION by Beth Eliadis.

    (NOT PICTURED): Katlin Davis was nominated for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT by Cathy and Mauro Franzese.

    Mark Garrity

    Mark Garrity was nominated for the value of INSPIRATION by Kim Guiliano.

    Lynn Duehr

    Lynn Duehr was nominated for the value of COMPASSION by the 5th-grade team at High Point.

    Kathy McNicholas

    Kathy McNicholas was nominated for the value of INSPIRATION by the 5th-grade team at High Point.

    Debbie Siegel

    Debbie Diegel was nominated for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT by the 5th-grade team at High Point.

    Maureen Bober

    Maureen Bober was nominated for the value of EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION by the 5th-grade team at High Point.

    Nancy Watt

    Nancy Watt was nominated for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT by the 5th-grade team at High Point.

    Elise Kroll

    Elise Kroll was nominated for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT by the 5th-grade team at High Point.

    Cheryl Burns

    Cheryl Burns was nominated for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT by the 5th-grade team at High Point.

    Lindsay Zilly

    Lindsay Zilly was nominated for the value of INSPIRATION by Brenda Feltman.


    Citizen’s remarks

    Citizen’s remarks included a request to hire a 10th media specialist so each school has their own, a request to look into current grant money expenditures and the possibility of applying for more, and an interest in applying for the National School Lunch Program.  Additionally, citizen’s remarks included a request to maintain and expand on walking math for honors students, an inquiry about the transportation budget, and a request to the Board to clarify budget numbers for the public so they can better understand the District’s financial situation.



    The Board approved all agenda items for the regular meeting on April 8, 2019.   To view the agenda, visit BoardDocs.

    Comments (-1)
  • March 11, 2019

    Posted by Administrator on 4/1/2019

    March 11, 2019

    Committee of the Whole

    Citizen’s Remarks

    Mr. Maratea moved to place the citizen’s remarks agenda item at the end of the meeting.  The motion was approved 6-0 (Mr. Okon was absent).


    Advisory Committees

    Dr. Berry provided a brief description of the purpose of Board Advisory Committees.  The Board discussed possible options for advisory committees, that included finance, communications/transparency, teaching and learning, operations, and special education programs.  The Board also discussed communication vehicles to solicit interested community members, which included text/email blasts, website postings, social media, and traditional news media.  

    It was noted that an application process would be put in place for selection of committee members, which would be available online and in a paper format.   The Board suggested partnering with the Parents for Education (PFE) organization to help solicit and select committee members. It was determined that an application would be developed for the Board’s review and that the committees would be discussed further once the new Board is seated on April 29th.

    The Board discussed general training of Open Meetings Act guidelines that would need to be put in place for committee members, and that options for training would be discussed at a later time.

    PTAB History & Resolution

    Mr. Bryk asked for the Board’s consideration to authorize the Board attorneys, Klein Thorpe and Jenkins, ltd., to act on behalf of the Board in regards to all PTAB matters for tax years 2017-2019.  A brief overview of PTAB refunds was provided, indicating an overall amount of $10,345,215 in real estate refunds received by the District between 2010 - 2017.


    Live Streaming/Video Recording Board Meetings

    The Board discussed the possibility of video recording or live streaming their meetings, mentioning that the March 11 meeting was being live streamed at the time.  The Board agreed that, although minor technical difficulties may surface, as they do with any new technology, it would move forward with a live stream and recorded video of its open meetings.


    RFP - Surplus Maintenance Vehicle

    Dr. Skogsberg reported that one of the maintenance department vehicles, a 2005 Chevrolet box truck, is recommended for disposal via sale since it is no longer feasible to maintain in-house.  It was noted that an RFP would be more cost-effective than continuing to care for the vehicle, so a resolution would be presented for the Board to approve at the regular meeting.


    Support Staff Contract

    Dr. Skogsberg congratulated the negotiations team on their efforts to reach an agreement on the new support staff contract.  It was noted that the union had voted to approve the proposed contract and that the Board would need to ratify the contract during the regular meeting.


    Financial and Staffing Planning for the 2019-2020 School Year

    The Board discussed a number of possible reductions in staffing and programming as well as opportunities to create additional revenue for the District.  The list of items brought forth for consideration can be found on BoardDocs.

    Concerns were raised by the Board regarding adequate time to review the recommendations and thoroughly understand job responsibilities prior to making any decisions on specific positions.  The Board decided that they would vote to approve cutting district-sponsored field trips and use of fleet vehicles at the regular meeting this month, and will bring the other items for consideration at the April 8 Committee of the Whole meeting.


    Citizen’s Remarks

    Several citizens addressed the Board with concerns regarding the financial and staffing plan, which included concerns about the cuts proposed on the March 11 agenda and their impact on student programs.  Concerns were also raised regarding hiring processes and District leadership. Suggestions were provided for the Board to consider moving forward.


    Board of Education Meeting

    The Board approved all agenda items for the regular meeting on March 11, 2019.  The staffing and financial plan was amended to only include fleet vehicle usage and district-sponsored field trips.  To view the agenda, visit BoardDocs.

    Comments (-1)
  • February 25, 2019

    Posted by Jennifer Obright on 3/8/2019

    February 25, 2019

    Committee of the Whole:

    Citizen's Remarks:

    During citizen's remarks, a large number of community members and District stakeholders expressed their concerns regarding the financial and staffing plan that had been approved at the Board's February 11th meeting.  A list of those concerns and solutions/responses has been compiled and can be found by clicking here.

    The February 25th meeting was recorded, and a link to that recording can be found on BoardDocs.


     Special Board of Education Meeting:

    The Board of Education approved in a 6-0 vote to rescind the financial and staffing plan that had previously been approved.  


    Comments (-1)
  • February 11, 2019

    Posted by Administrator on 2/25/2019

    Committee of the Whole:

    Citizen’s Remarks:

    During public comment, two different topics were addressed:


    Junior High German:

    Several community members mentioned concerns about the Board discontinuing the German language course offered at Century and Orland Junior Highs.  It was requested that the Board reconsider this decision due to the benefits it provides students.


    Holiday Waiver:

    Two staff members raised concerns regarding the holiday waiver process.  They each mentioned that these holidays are important to families and requested that the Board reconsider the waiver for next school year.




    Amended School Calendar:

    Dr. Skogsberg noted that in May of 2018, the Board approved a holiday waiver that allowed for the use of holidays such as Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and Casimir Pulaski Day to be used as emergency make-up days. He also stated that, while late starts are not currently an option, the bus company is working to adjust the tiered transportation system in order to arrange for a late start schedule in the future.  Dr. Berry noted that the Board would like to see a survey of parents and staff regarding the holiday waiver in order to make a decision moving forward. It was decided that, for the 2018-19 school year, the District would be in session on Presidents Day and not in session on Casimir Pulaski Day, leaving two emergency days to be made up at the end of the year (June 3rd and 4th).

    Student Assessment:

    Ms.  Nichols presented an overview of student assessment data, which demonstrated significant growth in reading and math between Fall 2018 and Winter 2019.  The data indicated that the implementation of full-day math interventionists led to 81% of students in that program meeting or exceeding their growth targets.  Ms. Nichols mentioned that 4th grade did not meet their math target and 3rd grade did not meet the reading target, so they will continue to review practices with a focus on growth for the future.


    School Improvement Plan:

    Dr. Snyder presented the School Improvement Work Plan for Orland Junior High School, which must be approved by the Board.  As previously reported during the November 12 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Illinois State Report Card designated Orland Jr. High as underperforming.  The improvement plan is a required component for schools receiving an ‘underperforming’ rating. A grant of $15,000 was approved by ISBE to use toward resources identified in Orland Jr. High’s improvement plan.   It was also noted that the Department of Teaching & Learning will continue to develop two-year plans for each of the other nine buildings in a similar fashion to the one required for OJH.

    Technology Surplus:

    Mr. Bohula went over a list of surplus Apple devices and provided an overview of the bid process.  He noted that the devices listed as surplus are no longer of use to District 135. Mr. Bohula mentioned that they received 5 responses to their bid request and designated Tech Defenders as the best offer, which will need to be approved by the Board.  He also noted that the District will continue to sell devices to 8th-grade graduates at the end of this year. This year, they will be sold for $200 because of the $50 technology fee.


    Financial Planning:

    The Board discussed a financial plan to alleviate the $2.5 Million deficit that the district is currently running.  Dr. Skogsberg noted that in June of 2017, the Board had a planning discussion and made some cuts to the budget that equaled $1,082,600.  Needing to realize additional savings to create a balanced budget, the Board continued to work with the administration to identify cost-saving measures.  The administration made several recommendations, including raising class sizes, which the Board did not want to do. At this meeting, a financial plan was approved that included making the following changes:

    • At the elementary (primary/intermediate) level, with an estimated savings of $210,000:
      • Add Split Grade 1 / 2  Self-Contained Enrichment class in accordance with the Accelerated Placement Act (PA 100-0421) and the district’s Accelerated Placement Plan as required by the Illinois State Board of Education.
      • Add Grade 3 Enrichment Math (accelerated mathematics in compliance with the Accelerated Placement Act [PA 100-0421] and the district’s Accelerated Placement Plan as required by the Illinois State Board of Education).
      • Maintain current Grades 3 - 5 Self-Contained Enrichment classes.
      • Reduce enrichment staff by 5.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff.
    • At the junior high level with an estimated savings of $132,000:
      • Maintain current Honors English / Language Arts and Mathematics at Grades 6-8.
      • One-year phase-out of Honors Spanish
      • One-year phase-out of German
      • Two-year phase-out of Honors Science
      • Two-year phase-out of Honors Social Studies
      • Restructuring of Grade 6 exploratory rotations to remove a quarter rotation of Spanish and add a quarter rotation of technology effective the 2019-2020 school year.  


    In addition to the changes above, the plan also included cuts to several other areas of the budget.  This plan would allow for an approximate savings of $992,600. The District would be able to make additional cuts once some of the initial framework is set.


    Regular Board of Education Meeting

    The Board approved all agenda items for the regular meeting on Feburary 11, 2019.


    Student Recognitions:

    The 6/7th and 8th grade girls basketball teams from Century Junior High were recognized for each winning their SWIC tournament as well as being named conference champions.

    CJH Girls Basketball Team

    Staff Recognitions:

    ABCDE Awards

    Ekram Jaber-Askar Ekram Jaber-Askar was nominated anonymously for the value of INSPIRATION.


    Cheryl Knight and Lisa Weston Jenna Spagnoli, Kyle Haworth, Cheryl Knight, and Lisa Weston were nominated by Edward Boswell and Lauren Bushwaller for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.


    Lori Mathias Lori Mathias was nominated by Jennifer Mase for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.




    Katharine Schmidt was nominated anonymously for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.

    Ray Walsh was nominated by the Torgerson family for the value of COMPASSION.

    Mark Rotkvich was nominated by a Century Junior High staff member for the value of RESPECT.



    Comments (-1)
  • January 14, 2019

    Posted by Administrator on 1/16/2019



    Committee of the Whole

    RFP - Surplus Maintenance Vehicle:

    Mr. Hansen stated that one of the maintenance department's fleet trucks is too difficult to maintain in-house, so they are putting out a request for proposal to sell it.  It will be more cost effective for the District to sell it than to try to continue to maintain it.

    Proposed Disposal - Surplus HVAC Controllers:

    Mr. Hansen also noted that the HVAC components from Meadow Ridge and Century Junior High have been replaced, and they need Board approval to dispose of the items since the District will not be able to collect any money by selling them.

    State of the District:

    Each District department presented a brief overview of their mid-year state of affairs.

    • Communications: Mrs. Obright presented on the cost savings to the District by eliminating all print newsletters and school handbooks, noting that these have been replaced with digital sources of information.  She also touched on the growth of BoardBlog and the District's social media accounts as a source of reliable information for the public. Mrs. Obright also noted that continued website accessibility training will occur for all staff members.
    • Curriculum: Dr. Snyder presented that according to the "All Students" group, all of the ten D135 schools were "Commendable". He also noted that, while the District did not go to Standards-Based Grading due to the State Assessment, that test is entirely standards-based, and students are expected to have a better understanding of those standards now.  Dr. Snyder additionally discussed several resources and processes that are being implemented in the District.
    • Teaching & Learning: Dr. Zeder noted that as of January 2019, 16% of certified staff have their ESL (English as a Second Language) endorsement, compared with the targeted goal of 10%.  She noted that a third of incoming students require ELL (English Language Learner) services, particularly at the primary level. Dr. Zeder also presented on the ongoing school improvement meetings happening at each building.  In addition to the required plan for OJH, the Administration will work with each building to develop an improvement plan.
    • Special Education & Student Services: Mrs. Janettas noted that two special education coordinators have been added to the staff to assist with student and staff needs.  She presented data showing that D135 special education students are exceeding state proficiency in language arts and math, and she mentioned that a new dyslexia resource is being piloted in D135.  Mrs. Janettas said that the District continues to see diversity among its student body. She also noted that vision screening will be available on site for students.
    • Instructional Technology: Mr. Bohula presented on his department targets, including increasing efficiency of staffing and resources, cutting costs by removing classroom PCs, and increasing the balance of teacher versus technology time.  He also noted that his team is working to improve network security across the District. Mr. Bohula stated that beginning this summer, students in grades 3-7 will be able to take their devices home with them. This initiative would eliminate the need for summer interns and allow students access to instructional tools while on break.  Parents may opt-out of having the device go home for the summer.
    • Human Resources: Mrs. Owens stated that she continues to work on updating administrative procedures and exhibits, as well as implementing state-mandated training requirements.  She discussed the summer substitute training program, which will include classroom management, as well as managing the substitute shortage. She noted that D135 currently fills 94.7% of sub requests, which is good in comparison to surrounding districts.  Mrs. Owens also noted that the implementation of the Employee Assistance Program, Wellness Program, and additional professional development opportunities are going quite well.
    • Finance: Mr. Bryk noted that all registration payments will now be processed online, and that seems to be going well.  He also stated that his department is working on cross-training so that responsibility can be shared among several people if a need arises.  Mr. Bryk mentioned that he will continue to evaluate the current food service program and work with Quest to make improvements based on a recent survey.  He noted that the department would like to eliminate cash handling in FY20.
    • Risk Management & Safety: Mr. Hughes stated that transportation services are running efficiently.  He noted that a review of surveillance at each building is underway, and updates will be made as necessary to address blind spots.  Mr. Hughes noted that an Emergency Action Plan has been put in place for the Administration Center, and drills have taken place. He additionally noted that the WAVE PLUS safety system will be installed in the remaining buildings, and administrators will continue working on Threat Assessment Protocol training.
    • Buildings & Grounds: Mr. Hansen stated that, during inspection, minor violations were discovered and corrected immediately.  Mr. Hansen said that due to the replacement HVAC controllers, a $48,000 ComEd rebate was received. He noted that remodeling at Park will continue both inside and outside, the carpet will be replaced at Meadow Ridge, and roof work is pending at Orland Junior High and High Point.  Mr. Hansen also noted that the District can save nearly $9,000 annually by replacing the alarm monitoring system, which they plan to do.

    Financial Planning:

    Dr. SKogsberg noted that a comprehensive cost-savings plan had been provided to the Board, noting that the plan included a savings approximately $1.7M from Teaching & Learning, $1.5M from Operations, and $400,000 from District Office.  He noted that some recommendations are straightforward, while others will require additional consideration. Dr. Berry noted that there would be some discomfort and 'belt-tightening' as we move forward, but it is necessary.

    Regular Board of Education Meeting


    The Board approved all agenda items for the regular meeting on January 14, 2019.

    Student Presentation:

    The Meadow Ridge TV crew presented on their unique way of combining writing and technology to produce video morning announcements, entirely run by students.  MRTV was a key component of Meadow Ridge's journey to becoming an Apple Distinguished School.

    Students presenting at the Board Meeting

    Two students presenting at the Board Meeting

    Students posing with staff at the Board Meeting

    Staff Recognitions:

    ABCDE Awards

    Lisa FInk

    Lisa Fink was nominated by Julie Rein, Meg Carr, Bridget Jordan, and Lori Mathias for the value of COMPASSION.

    Megan Esposito

    Megan Esposito was nominated by Marilyn Bucci and Dana Karczewski for the value of COMPASSION.

    Comments (-1)
  • December 10, 2018

    Posted by Administrator on 12/21/2018

    Committee of the Whole:


    Public comment:

    Citizen Julian Liotine addressed the Board with the current status of market, explaining its effects on the economy and possible impact to education funding. The Board thanked Mr. Liotine for sharing his input.

    Parent/teacher conference survey:

    Dr. Zeder explained that the completion rate of the parent/teacher conference survey doubled from last year with the help of a mass text notification that went out to parents during conferences.  The survey was made available in English, Arabic, Polish, and Spanish. Dr. Zeder noted that the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and that the administration will continue to work on providing opportunities for parents to learn about standards-based grading, internet safety, and other important topics.  Discussion included an issue with the timing of the junior high conference schedule and providing maps for parents prior to conferences, as well as ensuring teachers stick to the scheduled time slots so parents don't miss conferences. Dr. Zeder noted that the administration is considering the proposing the implementation of parent-teacher conferences in the spring. Conversations with the Union would be required, followed by further discussion to be held at a future meeting as plans develop.

    Proposed amended 2018-19 school calendar:

    Dr. Zeder presented two amendments to the 2018-19 calendar:

    • The first change would be to shift the last Professional Learning Day of the year from May 24th to May 31st.  The State Board of Education no longer requires a full day of attendance on the last day of school, so the administrations believes this would better serve both students and staff.
    • The second change is in regards to the snow day that was held on Monday, November 26.  Per a holiday waiver that was approved by the Board in May of 2018, the Board may elect to waive certain holidays to make up for emergency closures.  The proposal would make January 21, 2019, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an attendance day for students to make up for that November closure.

    Brief discussion included whether or not to move the make-up day to a later holiday, however, due to the fact that the snow day occurred so early in the year, the Board decided to continue with the proposed plan.

    Proposed 2019-2020 school calendar:

    Dr. Zeder presented a proposal for the 2019-20 school calendar, keeping in mind that several state requirements had recently changed.  Those changes include no longer requiring a 5-hour instructional day, while adding two additional days of attendance for students, bringing the total to 176 days.  Dr. Zeder proposed a calendar that includes an Institute Day in August, followed by a Professional Learning Day, which would make the first day of student attendance a half-day of school.  This, in addition to a Professional Learning Day just before Thanksgiving break, would provide the two additional days of student attendance (note that each of these days are replacing a full Institute Day that had previously been on the calendar).  The calendar would be brought forth at a later meeting for the Board’s approval.

    Fall housing report:

    Dr. Zeder and Ms. Janettas presented the fall housing report, stating that there are currently 5,235 students enrolled in the District.  They mentioned that this includes 45 new students that enrolled since the beginning of the school year. It was also noted that this school year, District 135 saw:

    • an increase of 165 students in the English Language Learners (ELL) program;
    • a decrease of 15 students on Individualized Education Programs (IEP);
    • an increase of three McKinney-Vento students; and
    • an increase of 80 students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program

    The Board clarified that there would also be an increase of students enrolling after winter break, and the administration confirmed that they have several families who have already begun the process.

    Specific rates of pay:

    Discussion regarding rates of pay for substitutes continued from the October 9 meeting.  Ms. Owens stated that a thorough examination of surrounding districts showed that District 135 was on the lower end of substitute pay rates, and that she was proposing a $4 increase per day (from $96 to $100).  Ms. Owens stated that it is increasingly difficult to fill substitute teacher and nurse positions, and the competitive pay would help with the shortage. The proposed plan would cost the District $26,260. The Board noted that, due to the current budget deficit, it was not in the District's best interest to approve the increase.

    Tax Relief:

    Dr. Skogsberg discussed the Property Tax Relief Grant provided through the Illinois State Board of Education, noting that the District is eligible for approximately $2.5 million.  Dr. Skogsberg mentioned that it would be difficult for District 135 to receive the funding, however, the Board agreed it would be beneficial to still apply for it. Dr. Skogsberg also noted that the money would not be additional income for the District, but rather that the money would go back to the taxpayers from the Levy.



    Board policy updates:

    See BoardDocs.


    Regular Board of Education Meeting:

    The Board approved all agenda items for the regular meeting unanimously except for the following:

    • Specific rates of pay for substitutes was unanimously voted against
    • The Resolution Authorizing and Directing Tax Levy was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Mr. Maratea voting against.


    To view the agenda, visit BoardDocs. 


    Community Spirit Award:


    Dorlene Poe

    Dorlene Poe, bus driver for Sunrise, was nominated for the Community Spirit Award by Laura Bingham, Early Childhood teacher at Centennial School.  


    ABCDE Awards:

    Carita Hall

    Carita Hall was nominated by Noel Cary-Enriquez for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.


    Jackie Valentine

    Jackie Valentine was nominated by Laura Bingham for the value of COMPASSION.


    Patti Loichinger

    Patti Loichinger was nominated by Laura Bingham for the value of INSPIRATION.


    NOT PICTURED: Roxanne Thompson was nominated by Carla Reilly for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.


    Brenda Lee

    Brenda Lee was nominated by Peter Reilly for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.


    NOT PICTURED: Jackie Kitchen was nominated by Michele Goshko for the value of EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION.


    Carolyn White

    Carolyn White was nominated by Lauren Hedenschoug for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.


    Jennifer Madsen

    Jennifer Madsen was nominated by Michele Goshko for the value of COMPASSION.


    Sandy Sotzen

    Sandy Sotzen was nominated anonymously for the value of COMPASSION.


    Mary Fox

    Mary Fox was nominated by Dan Prorok for the value of OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.



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  • December 3, 2018 (SPECIAL C.O.W.)

    Posted by Administrator on 12/7/2018

    BoardBlog: December 3, 2018

    Committee of the Whole:  

    Board member reports & requests:

    Linda Peckham-Dodge inquired about the possible adjustment to the school calendar to accommodate for the snow day on November 26th.  Dr. Skogsberg noted that the Board will be asked to approve an amended calendar at the December 10 meeting, where the recommendation will be to hold an attendance day on January 21st (MLK Day).  This option is made possible by the holiday waiver that was approved by the District 135 Board in May of 2018. Dr. Skogsberg also mentioned that, if students are in school on MLK Day, Illinois law requires schools to teach about Dr. King’s accomplishments.  The Board discussed looking into what other area districts are doing in regards to making up the snow day, and agreed to discuss it at the December 10 meeting.

    Budget overview and long-term financial planning:

    Mr. Bryk began the presentation by showing a chart of the current budget and explained that, if the Board continues to conduct business as it has been, by 2024, District 135 may be on the State’s financial watch list.


    The Administration continued with several options for reducing District spending, including:

    • Participation fees:  There are 1,200 students who currently participate in athletics, and 1,300 students who participate in music programs.  By implementing a fee for these students, the District could bring in additional revenue.
    • Transportation - Paid Riders: Several options were discussed to reduce the cost of this program, including an increase to the $220 fee, eliminating the program completely, or only offering it based on available space on current bus routes.  The Board expressed a desire to break even on this program if it were to continue.
    • Building usage:  Currently, many organizations use District buildings at little to no cost.  Implementing a building usage or renters’ fee would provide for additional revenue.
    • Food service:   The intent of the contract with District 146 is to be profitable, however, that is not currently occurring, so District 135 recoups that cost from Quest Food Management.  Mr. Bryk noted that a decision must be made by February 1st if the Board does not want to continue the contract with District 146. The contract would be automatically renewed if action is not taken by the Board.
    • Technology:  The Board discussed the option of looking at different instructional technology tools, however, the current program is comparable to surrounding districts.  The Board noted that it would not make sense to pull back in this area because of its instructional nature.
    • Staffing:  An increase in class size could lead to a potential reduction of up to 10-12 full time certified staff.  There are increasing concerns with class sizes across the District, but the Board requested that the Administration look at ways to reduce staff that would make the least impact on the classroom.


    After the above options were presented as cost reduction efforts, Board President Laura Berry opened the floor for discussing additional ideas for cutting costs.  She noted that those watching and listening should accept the discussion as a brainstorming session, and not assume action is being taken on any of the presented options.  The additional ideas discussed included closing or selling District buildings, cutting staff at District Office, and rearranging the ELL program. The Board requested that the Administration provide a proposal with concrete numbers, keeping cuts furthest away from the classroom.

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  • November 12, 2018

    Posted by Administrator on 11/30/2018


    Committee of the Whole:


    Standards-Based Grading Update:   

    The curriculum department shared a video of students expressing their perspectives on SBG so far this school year.  In the video, students explained how they are better able to sense their understanding of each subject area and to recognize where they may need more assistance.  Discussion included the consistency of feedback to parents and students regarding growth. A concern was brought up regarding the transition to high school, and it was noted that District 230 has recognized the benefits of SBG, and that they may consider utilizing it in the future.  District 135 will continue to monitor the new grading system as the year progresses.


    State Report Card Update:

    The Illinois State Report Card was released in October by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  It was explained that nine schools received a commendable rating, while one school, Orland Junior High, was designated as underperforming.  The designations are given based on a rating system outlined by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A $15,000 grant is available from ISBE to fund a school improvement plan for the underperforming school.  The Board discussed their concerns with the newly reformed rating system, and District administration noted that they will have the opportunity to meet with ISBE to receive clarification.


    Workers’ Compensation Renewal:

    John Bryk, Assistant Superintendent, provided an explanation of the District’s workers’ compensation insurance, which is due for renewal.  The District submitted a Request for Proposal (RFP) to eight insurance carriers, and received one bid from the District’s current insurance carrier,  Alliant/Meisrow Insurance Services. The bid contains a slight increase of $383 for the yearly premium from the previous year. The proposal for workers’ compensation from Alliant/Meisrow Insurance Services in an amount not to exceed $94,903 effective December 1, 2018 through December 1, 2019 was brought forth for approval at the regular Board of Education meeting and was approved.


    2018 Estimated Levy:

    Mr. Bryk explained that the Board would be voting to approve an estimated levy increase of 2.1% based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The Board approved the resolution, and a final approval will be brought forth at the December 10th regular meeting. The estimated levy would bring in additional money to cover operation costs.  As the District is currently running a deficit, Mr. Bryk explained that the levy increase is essential to continue maintaining current facilities and programs.


    IASB Delegate Assembly:

    Dr. Skogsberg and the Board reviewed the Illinois Association of School Board’s (IASB) 2018 Resolution Committee Report in preparation for the IASB Delegate Assembly during the Joint Annual Conference on November 17th in Chicago.  The report included four resolutions for consideration.


    Regular Board of Education Meeting:


    The Board approved all agenda items for the regular meeting.  To view the agenda, visit BoardDocs.


    Dr. Skogsberg recognized November 21st as Illinois Paraprofessional & School Related Personnel Day, and November 15th as Illinois School Board Member Day, and thanked each of these groups for their dedication to the students of Orland School District 135.


    Students from Centennial School presented several songs in honor of Veterans Day


    Student Recognitions:


    Spelling Bee Winners

    The following students were recognized for their participation in the 40th Annual Orland Open Spelling Bee that took place on October 14, 2018:  Yasmeen Abughazaleh, Alexander Ghannam, Eli Herrera, Jack Hovey, Emma Kanagy, Katherine Kanagy, Rebecca Philip, and Ava Zielke.


    Staff Recognitions:

    I-Innovate Conference Presenters

    The following staff members were recognized for a job well done on their presentations at this summer’s I-Innovate mini technology conference.  The conference was held in August and provided staff an internal opportunity to learn about innovative ways to utilize technology in the classroom. Thank you to the following day two presenters:  Jenny McKendrick, Becky Heidegger, Dan Prorok, Courtney Milligan, Ellen Broad, Katlin Davis, Kristin Beeler, Hala Al-Daker, Jackie Bartolotta, Leanne Brown, Michelle Thorne, Kara McFarlin, Lindsay Zilly, Mary Simms, Laura Prisby, and Joanne Kapsaskis.

    Denise Hazen

    Denise Hazen received a “Those Who Excel” Award from the Illinois State Board of Education last month.  This award is meant to honor those who have made significant contributions to their schools.  Congratulations, Denise!

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  • October 15, 2018 (SPECIAL MEETING)

    Posted by Administrator on 10/22/2018

    Special Meeting - October 15, 2018


    Bilingual Staffing - Instructional Recommendations for 2018-19:  Dr. Zeder presented on the District’s current English Language Learner (ELL) population, and specifically noted that Early Childhood has 36% ELL, Primary has 19%; and Intermediate has 16%.  Prairie as a school has an ELL population of 25%, and its Kindergarten is at 30%. Dr. Zeder also noted an increase in junior high-aged students needing ELL services. Projections show that the ELL population will surpass the Special Education population in the near future.  Dr. Zeder explained that at the junior high level, staffing will be reviewed as needed, and at the other levels, the District will remain cost-neutral by swapping bilingual certified staff with staff who are certified with the English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement.


    Debt Options - Continued Discussion:  The Board recommended that they review the budget and options associated with deficit reduction and discuss it further at a special meeting that will take place after the November regular Board of Education meeting.


    Review of New and Revised Board Policies and Board Policies Scheduled for 5-Year Review:  A list of the policies reviewed can be viewed on BoardDocs.


    Intergovernmental Agreement - Economic Development Plan Proposal:  The Board voted unanimously to approve the agreement between the Village of Orland Park and the other non-village taxing bodies to provide a tax incentive to Von Maur as they take up occupancy in the Carson’s property inside Orland Square Mall.

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