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.