Here’s what’s going on at District 205

The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board held a regular meeting on May 28 at the District 205 Center, 162 S. York St. Board member Karen Stuefen was absent from the meeting.

Option for all-day kindergarten approved

The board voted unanimously to approve an all-day kindergarten option for the district. See story elsewhere in this issue.

Board approves settlement agreement with PSRP

The board also voted unanimously to approve a settlement agreement between the board and the Elmhurst Paraprofessional and School Related Personnel Council (PSRP), Local 571, IFT/AFT. The agreement reportedly has to do with a contractual clause stating the district would maintain at least two permanent traveling substitutes who go to the district’s schools to fill in for educational assistants who are absent. The district stated it tried to recruit, hire and retain a person to fill one of those positions. One person who accepted the offer stayed in the position for one week, while another person stayed for two weeks. As part of the settlement agreement, the district will take the money it did not spend on the second position and spread it out to more than 100 employees in recognition of their efforts. The district reportedly has a commitment from someone to fill the second position during the 2019-20 school year. The person who did fill the one position during this last school year will reportedly return next year.

Non-union salaries approved

The board also voted unanimously to approve the 2019-20 non-union salaries as recommended. Each May, the administration recommends salary adjustments for the upcoming school year for all employee groups not covered by other negotiated agreements. The board traditionally awards an increase equal to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The board approved a CPI-related increase of 2.1 percent for the 2019-20 school year for most of the employees who are not covered by negotiated agreements or individual contracts. The board approved 5 percent increases for food service employees, summer help employees and student workers to proactively account for the minimum wage increase that was recently enacted.

Board to transfer $2M to Capital Improvements Fund

The board also voted to approve a resolution to transfer $2 million from the district’s Operations and Maintenance Fund to its Capital Improvements Fund. The $2 million will fund several capital projects that will be completed at district buildings this summer. The projects include roof replacements at Madison Early Childhood Education Center and Jackson Elementary School and paving work at York High School, Bryan Middle School and Jackson. The projects also include district-wide seal coating and concrete work and district-wide exterior door replacement.

Beck’s Bookstore contract extended

The board voted unanimously to approve a contract extension with Beck’s Bookstore for management services for book store operations at York High School. The district’s existing contract with Beck’s was set to expire on Sept. 30, 2019. The board voted to extend the contract for 21 months, through June 30, 2021.

According to the district, sales of textbooks have plummeted at York’s book store, as parents, who are provided a list of textbooks used in each course, have an opportunity to purchase those books elsewhere. Additionally, the move to online purchases and digital textbooks have affected the business model for school bookstores.

The district paid Beck’s an annual administrative fee of $60,000 under the terms of the existing contract. The contract extension calls for that annual fee to be cut in half to $2,500 per month, or $30,000 per year.

Board awards waste disposal, recycling bid to Republic

The board voted unanimously to award its bid for waste disposal and recycling services to Republic Services from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2020. Republic Services was the lowest of four bidders for the contract to provide waste disposal and recycling services for the district’s daily operations. Waste Management is the district’s current provider for waste disposal and recycling provider.

Podraza approved as Jefferson principal

The board approved the reassignment of Christina Podraza to principal of Jefferson Elementary School. Podraza will have a base salary of nearly $114,000 and a start date of Aug. 1. Podraza had been the interim principal at Emerson. She joined the district in 2017, when she was named the assistant principal at both Hawthorne Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary School.

As principal of Jefferson Elementary School, Podrazais is replacing the outgoing principal Leslie Weber, who will move to the district office to become the director of curriculum.

Contract with hospital for nursing services approved

The board also approved the district’s contract with Elmhurst Hospital to continue to provide nursing services to the district. The salary increase and increase in paid school holidays will generate an overall cost increase of 4 percent for the district. There was reportedly an increased need for paid school holidays to keep compensation competitive.

Donations approved for acceptance

The board also voted to approve several donations to the district, including a donation of $100,000 from the York Athletic Boosters to purchase new fitness equipment during the upcoming renovation of the York Fitness Center. The equipment will be used by members of York’s athletic teams and the school’s physical education students. Other donations approved by the board included a $10,000 donation from the Jefferson Dads Club to purchase two Gaga pits, a $13,000 donation from the Jackson PTA to purchase items for the school’s art program and a $17,400 donation from the Hawthorne PTA for a classroom library.

Next meeting

The board will hold its next regular meeting on June 18.


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