Here’s what’s going on at District 205 schools…

By Chris Fox

For The Elmhurst Independent

The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board held a meeting on Nov. 14 at the District 205 Center, 162 S. York St. All seven commissioners attended the meeting, which lasted about 4 hours, 30 minutes. Board member Jim Collins left the meeting shortly before its conclusion.

Brief public hearing on drivers ed fees

Immediately before the meeting, the board held a brief public hearing related to the district’s driver education fees. The district’s current fee is $245. The district is seeking a waiver to set the fee at an amount not to exceed $325 during the next five years. There were no comments during the hearing, which was described as procedural by Christopher Whelton, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance and operations.

Awards all around…

The meeting featured recognition of staff and community members who received Awards of Merit and Recognition at the Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel banquet, which took place on Oct. 28 in Bloomington-Normal.

District 205 Superintendent David Moyer noted during the meeting that Nov. 15 was School Board Member Day in Illinois. He thanked the board for its service and noted the district has an annual budget of about $120 million and includes about 8,600 students and about 1,000 employees.

Survey said…

The meeting included a presentation of findings from a recent telephone survey of 301 district residents. Strategies 360 conducted the survey between Oct. 16 and Oct. 25. Surveyors contacted a combination of landlines and mobile phones. The survey’s margin of error was reportedly plus or minus 5.7 percent. Surveyors randomly called phone numbers in the district and did not use a predetermined list featuring only families with a child in a district school.

According to the survey, about 85 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the quality of education that children in the district receive. About 57 percent of respondents said property taxes were too high. About 41 percent of those respondents said property taxes were much too high.

Approximately 81 percent of respondents stated they would support offering access to all-day kindergarten to all incoming students. By a 3 to 1 margin, respondents favored introducing access to all-day kindergarten at neighborhood schools instead of a central location.

When asked how they typically receive news and information about schools in the district, 31 percent said they received it through a friend or neighbor, while 25 percent received it through the Elmhurst Independent.

Presentation on proposed changes at middle schools

Mary Henderson-Baum, the district’s assistant superintendent of learning and teaching, gave a presentation during the meeting regarding middle school curriculum and schedule adjustments for the 2018-19 school year. The goal of the proposed changes is reportedly to shorten the middle school day for students in band, orchestra and/or choir, while expanding choices and options for all students. Band, orchestra and/or choir would be incorporated into the school day, while still allowing students to participate in two of the three options. The adjustment also calls for making physical education mandatory only if a student is not in interscholastic or extracurricular athletic programs.

Henderson said board approval for the changes would be sought at the Dec. 12 meeting. Later in the Nov. 14 meeting, board member

Phys. ed. waivers proposal pulled from agenda

Margaret Harrell proposed removing the physical education waiver from the consent agenda. Harrell said it felt to her like the waiver was being pushed through to be passed by January of 2018. The issue of the physical education waiver was then pulled from the consent agenda. The board may schedule a meeting on Nov. 28 to further discuss the policy.

Public forum brings up several issues

Eighteen people, including district teachers, spoke during the public comments segment of the meeting. Michele Bowles, a teacher at Bryan Middle School, commented on the school’s new schedule this year. Bowles asked if the learning that takes place during the new Acceleration periods outweighs the loss of instructional minutes in English, social studies and science. Acceleration periods are blocks of time in which students take part in intervention or enrichment activities.

Lauren DeAngelis, the physical education department chair at York High School, saidthe district needs to slow down on altering its physical education policy. DeAngelis said other districts value daily physical education classes. Some district parents who spoke also expressed their concern about offering physical education waivers in the middle-school level. Other speakers voiced their concern about plans for dual-language programs in the district. At least one speaker said discussion of a dual-language program had been removed from the agenda of the evening’s meeting.

Donations to schools approved

The board voted unanimously near the end of the meeting to approve five donations to district schools. The donations included $1,700 from the Hawthorne School PTA to pay for reading books, $2,000 from the Emerson School PTA toward enhancing classroom libraries, $2,500 from the Lincoln School PTA for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) materials, nearly $2,500 from a Churchville parent to provide nine charging units for mobile devices and about $7,500 from the Field School PTA for a variety of items.

Board approves new, modified classes at York

In another vote, the board voted unanimously to approve several new and modified courses at York High School for the 2018-19 year. Board members also voted unanimously to disenroll two students from the district effective the end of the Dec. 22 school day, unless those students establish residency. The two students reportedly have not been residing in the district since the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.





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