Anthony Borrelli 
  District 64
School Board Member
A Message to Park Ridge Taxpayers

As President of District 64 School Board, I have the task of planning and conducting our meetings, as well as serving as the public voice of the consensus of the Board.

As a Board member I also have the right to speak as an individual Board member.

Pardon me while I have a few words of my own in rebuttal to a malicious blog recently written about me.

I have been fortunate to be elected by my peers to the public office of membership in the District 64 Board of Education twice.

Each election time I have pledged to do the following:

* Foster increased communication between the district and our taxpayers

* Improving overall academic achievement throughout all of our schools and grades

* Providing financial accountability to the taxpayers to honor their property tax investment in the education of our children

During my first four-year term on the School Board, I set out to create a respectful transformative process of changing the culture and landscape of 25 years of developed expectations and status quo. I believe that I am achieving what I set out to do.

I offer the following facts as evidence of my accomplishments and the change I have brought to the School District:

* I was the first to raise the issue of videotaping our meetings for the general public, a district service which is very prominent today

* I personally led the effort to improve the communication value of the district web site and I continue to foster additional developments which are now in progress

* I have repeatedly been outspoken about our student test scores, have challenged the constant references to state or national norms and have refused to accept lower scores due to a philosophy of “Teaching the Whole Child”

* I continue to point out the lack of any District 64 schools in the annual ranking of the “Top 50” schools in Cook County and have sought ways to improve that ranking

* Through the Board and my suggestions combined with the hard work of our current administration, Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) will soon provide a comparison against districts to whom we will compare ourselves. This will provide for the first time a true comparison against very similar school districts both in Illinois and across the country.

Also I am proud to state, as shown in our last regular meeting, our Math scores have improved by almost 50% from the mid 50th percentile to over the 80th percentile across all grades. At the same time, our reading scores continue to be in the 90th percentile across all grades.

Financially, when I first joined the D64 Board four years ago, all the talk of the Board and administration was of wishing and hoping that we could stretch the referendum dollars to reach 2017. The plan I inherited was that every drop of that money was to be used and then some by 2017.

I am proud to state that we have made the following investments in student learning.

* A district wide 1:1 technology initiative wherein each student receives their own internet device, either iPad or Chromebook

* Absorbed the costs of lunch time monitoring to lower the fees to families,

* Increased technology coaching and other support for staff in the use of 
state of the art instructional aids

* Invested $11 million in improving our aging buildings and ensured that 100% of our buildings are air conditioned for possible future use year round

As well as slowing the growth of expenses in salary and benefits, (I voted no on the current PREA contract and voted no on administration extensions last year and this among other votes), we continue to run a positive end of year balance and I am proud to state that we now expect that our financial situation will be positive for another 3-4 years beyond the original 2017 date.

By all accounts, I believe that is a good record of accomplishment!

* I take my elected responsibilities seriously.

* I cannot do any endeavor half-heartedly.

* I combine my vision of a positively charged district with respect and understanding of those whom those decisions would impact. That is both, taxpayers and staff.

* I am sensitive to the view of the taxpayers who want justification for the taxes they spend and yet I am also sensitive to those who families and lives are dependent on those salaries that we oversee.

Today, we are undergoing a change in culture. Such a significant change takes time in order to weather and implement the changes without a drop in efficiency, morale and results.

Change will happen and the speed of that change will vary depending of the obstacles to be overcome. Change has already happened and more will come.

Early on, during my first elected term a vocal former retired staff member printed derogatory, subjective and inflammatory statements with which to denigrate and dismiss my actions of change. I responded just once in an open meeting to counter the negative demagoguery.

I am confident in my beliefs and secure in my knowledge of the effect of my efforts that to provide a single retort would belay any misinformation that could be sputtered.

Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I have recently read an accusatory and inaccurate blog written by a person whom I had respected in the past.  

This is a person with a solid intellect and if he so chooses, he could help make great improvements in both our city and our schools.

Instead, I find that his words are no more than the same demagoguery in a different form that I encountered when I was first elected.

He professes a self-idealized, non-secular, organzational pogrom on my efforts within District 64. Should anyone differ they would be castigated to the full extent of his, self-defined and self-imposed law.

A true reporter utilizes only the facts and avoids hearsay. A true reporter is intent on exposing the facts and avoids innuendo.

Nary a post from this individual goes by where we encounter, not a report of activity and what it may mean to our taxpayers, but a scathing and often times personal reproach of any action that may differ from the writer's thoughts or opinions, regardless of accuracy and regardless of the true intent of the person he is writing about.

The blog exists to excoriate and tear asunder any function outside of the writer's goals and ambitions and not an analysis of the true merits of whom he is talking about.

In essence, it is a bullying tactic to force a cowering response through intimidation.

Just as we do not allow bullying anywhere within District 64, I personally do not countenance any bullying from an obscure, distant and hard-hearted observer of the many positive improvements in our community.

I value my contributions to the D64 School Board. I have remained consistent in my thoughts and deeds during my terms, which are now in the 5th year.

To have my sincerity and truthfulness questioned in light of my consistent attempt at reformation in this District is beyond disrespectful.

I believe in respectful thoughts and actions. While I may not agree with someone that does not mean that I should impugn their integrity. The writer of the referenced blog apparently feels otherwise.

* To constantly look for hidden messages and motivations where none exists

* To constantly denigrate hard working individuals of differing opinions or 
actions

* To label and condemn people and undervalue their contributions

is nothing short of hated McCarthyism at its root!

I am sure that there will be a posted reply to this message.

When it arrives, I will not tolerate his words nor will I sit still and be shaken with his effrontery.

Unfortunately for this misdirected individual, I and many others in this town, have come to realize that his blog has worn out its welcome.

Reading his words only invites suspicion, rumor mongering and denigration of other individuals while doing nothing to improve the quality of life of our fellow residents.

While change is occuring and accelerating here in District 64, at least I can lay claim to my belief that we are seeing continuous improvements to educate our children, as evidenced by:

* Improved test scores

* Continued stretching of our budgets

* Continued focus on cost controls

* Extending the referendum timeline

* Maintaining our property values

all resulting in an improvement in the overall quality of life for all Park Ridge residents.

In closing, I paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, who in 1987 implored General Secretary Gorbachev to remove the Berlin Wall, by calling out

"Mr. Trizna, clean up your blog!"

************


Issue # 1 - Voted “No” On 2012-16 Teacher 
Contract To Protest Above Inflation Salary Raises
Teacher Contract
“In the fall of 2012, I was one of two members of the seven member board to vote a resounding “No” to the proposed teacher contract.

The USA had just lost 12.3 million jobs during the “Great Recession” between December 2007 and October 2011, average family net worth had fallen by 27%, personal take home pay had decreased while taxes were going up. In my opinion our board members, “Gave Away the Farm” when negotiating with our teachers.

The new contract includes a step increase, lane increase and a base salary increase of 2 % for each year of the agreement. 

The “Step” increase that Teachers receive is based on length of service, experience and education and is not merit based. These step increases vary and when added to Lane changes increases the average 3.5 %.

So the total contract guaranteed average raises of 5.5% (2% + 3.5%) for the four-year term of the agreement while our nation was losing millions of jobs and individual families were suffering the monetary effects of the "Great Recession".

Since then, the rate of inflation in the USA has been: 

* 2012 - 1.7%
* 2013 - 1.5%
* 2014 - 0.8%

While the total inflation increase has been 4% in the past three years the Teacher increases have been averaging a 5.5% increase per year equaling 16.5% over three years.

So our teachers received a compound income increase over the last three years that was 400% of the inflation rate.

Other districts were being much more careful with their taxpayers' money.  

For example, in the summer of 2012, Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, negotiated a three year agreement with their teachers effecting a 0.64 % raise in the first year of the agreement and 2.9 % increase in the second year.

In our next teacher contract, I will lead the effort to tie any future increases to the rate of inflation as many Districts already do and our high school District 207 did in their 2015 - 2020 contract with their teachers.

************

Issue # 2 - Improved Transparency by Adding 

Videotaped School Board Meetings

Videotaped Meeting - July 11, 2014

I am a strong believer in improving the transparency, the public window, on how we make decisions within District and in sharing where we spend taxpayer money.


After being seated on the Board in May of 2011 I was concerned that D64 did not have video tapping of its meetings. By June of 2011 I introduced the concept at an open meeting.  


The Superintendent at the time viscerally disliked the idea and, as was his style, dredged up an objection that it was against Illinois State Law, which it was not.  


Subsequently, two of our residents stated that they were going to videotape our school board meetings and planned to put them on the Internet.  This prompted the District to install a camera and sound system so that by September of 2011 all of the open meetings of District 64 are now taped and placed onto the District web site for reference and viewing.  


I am delighted that today, for each school board meeting, the interested taxpayer can review:


* The board agenda


* The board report including exhibits


* The actual videotape of the entire open meeting


( See examples at: www.d64.org/boe/board-of-education-meetings.cfm )


This way, each taxpayer can decide for themselves how well we serve as stewards of their trust!

************


Issue # 3 – Secure All of Our 

Schools Against All Threats

Shelter-In-Place Within Classroom
Our children are our most precious concerns.  The care and nurturing of these inocent folks, all of the time,  should be our main goal. A "Zero Tolerance Risk" for all of our children, all of the time is my main belief.

The time between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on school days for 180 days of the year means that your students health and wellfare are entrusted to us for their  well being.  To my dismay the District has neglected security for our builings.  Upon my insistence we have now had a security review to provide an understanding of security needs and future secrutiy implementation. 

With your support on Voting Day, I will return to the School Board and lead the effort to make our schools impossible to enter, by door or window, unless a person has a reason to be there.

These changes, some already occured, are likely to include:

* Closed circuit TV cameras indoor and outdoor, at all doors and scanning all first floor windows

* Physical “hardening” of all entrances creating a secure vestibule which will involve two sets of doors with a waiting area between with bullet proof glass, bullet-proof doors and locks that cannot be shot off.

* Emergency exits will be upgraded with bullet-proof glass, bullet proof doors and locks that cannot be shot off.

* Use of electromagnetic locks that require a force over 1,000 pounds of pressure to force open

* Design and install “Shelter-In-Place” structural enhancements for each home classroom and specialty classroom (e.g. art, woods, ceramics, libraries) so that district staff can “Lock Down” the classroom from any threat.  This is likely to involve investments in each classroom, including:

* Bullet-proof glass in door

* Bullet proof doors

* Locks that cannot be shot off

* Doors that lock from the inside

* Ballistic wall coverings so that bullets will not penetrate walls and enter the actual classroom


In addition, we have already improved our school visitor procedures so that no visitor is automatically ever allowed in.  In the future, I plan to have no person will be entered without the presence of a observation person behind the second bullet-proof glass windows.


Finally, in parallel with these physical changes to our buildings and visitor procedures, we will create a plan with assistance from our Park Ridge, Police Department and Fire Department, as well as the Cook County Sheriff Office, to prepare for the rare possibility of an armed assailant, as part of our on-going comprehensive crisis and emergency preparedness effort.


************


Issue # 4 - Continuous Improvement in

How We Communicate With Parents,

Taxpayers, and Businesses in our Communities

Continuous Improvement in How We Communicate


I continue to be personally frustrated, despite four years of my constant orations, by the slow progress of improvement in how we communicate our successes and challenges in District 64 with our parents, taxpayers and businesses in our communities.


Here are several examples of information challenges I plan to invest my time in and improve upon over the coming two years:


1) Our 'New' district website today still makes it near impossible for the casual visitor to find any information on how much of our taxpayer money we spend and where we spend it. (2 levels down from website home page)


2) Our district's financial information is presented in a format that is used by school district insiders, not taxpayers. It delivers information in “Buckets” or “Fund Balances” for “Buckets” with odd names like:


* Tort Immunity

* Operations & Maintenance

* Debt Service


Nowhere does our current website explain what the heck these titles mean and what money is spent in these “Buckets”.  I intend to change the reporting so that it is easily viewed and understood by anyone at any time.


3) Currently, detailed spending is presented in a format that is required by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) that I strongly believe is 100% unintelligible to the average taxpayer!!  I will change this. 


( See the ISBE format called "FY2014 AFR Excel Form" on the ISBE webpage at: www.isbe.net/sfms/afr/afr.htm )


Next Steps:


With your support on Voting Day, I will return to the School Board and ensure that this display of District finance will cease and our taxpayers will have a new format to review before the first day of the 2015-16 school year, on Tuesday, August 18, 2015.  


At my urging, I have already convened a committee to provide a 360 degree review of current format and content and plan for formulated changes for the future. 


My promise to you is that during the summer of 2015 our District Administration will create a new, taxpayer friendly budget format that is as easy to read as your annual budget summary from your place of worship and will include taxpayer friendly terms like:


* Regular operating income


* Sources for our regular operating income


* Total income from all sources


* Regular operating expenses


* Departments where we spend our regular operating expenses


* Total expenses in all departments


* Net revenues less expenses


* Checking account balance before this year’s budget (i.e. “Rainy Day” money for emergencies)


* Checking account balance after this year’s budget (i.e. “Rainy Day” money for emergencies)


* Identical budget formats for the last five years so a taxpayer can compare changes in various income and expense categories


* 6th day of enrollment, student head count report, by school, for the last 10 years so a taxpayer can review changes in student enrollment


* Teacher, full time equivalent, head count report, by school, for the last 10 years so a taxpayer can review changes in teacher staffing


* Total administration head count, salaries, bonuses and benefits for the last 10 years so a taxpayer can review changes in administration expenses


In summary, with your support on Election Day, these are only some of the changes that I will be spending my time and energy on this year.


If you have other helpful suggestions, on how to improve the clarity and transparency of how we communicate to you on how we use your tax dollars, please reach out to me via to my e-mail address to:


borrellid64@gmail.com


************


Issue # 5 - Voted Against 

Administration Merit Raises

Voted Against Administration Merit Raises

In February 2013, former Superintendent Bender recommended a new merit based program for Principals, Assistant Principals and Administrators at District 64 headquarters as well as the continuation of a non merit based bonus for administration.

Under the new plan, Superintendent Bender would determine what the raise would be, ranging from 0 to 4 %. The evaluations were to be done by Dr. Bender and the Board would have no oversight on this.  The bonus had been a regular  'award' for administration as determined by the Superintendent but passed by the Board.  I felt that the recommendations were spurious and not creditable and therefore not allowable. 


The 2013 proposed average salary increase for administrators would have been 2.75 % while in the past raises had been along the lines of the PREA contract and therefore currently 2%. To make matters worse, the evaluations were based on 3 months of evaluation rather than a full year.

I thought this was too high given that a full evaluation was not taking place and the amounts given were above contracted increases given to other areas and way above the rate of inflation.

I voted "No" on this plan because it was too much money in a low inflation period.  I also voted not to the administration bonus money as I felt that the bonus was given for activity that was already included in the job functions. 

In August 2013, I stated that a performance evaluation of Superintendent Bender would determine if his  raise was warranted and could wait for several months for newly elected board members to really understand a lot of these issues.

I also urged the board to adopt specific goals and objectives for the Superintendent during an intensive, two-day workshop in August.


This allowed us the opportunity to accurately assess how the Superintendent was working and how the entire administration team was working based on the goals set by the board.

************

Issue # 6 - Enforcement Of Existing Written 

Agreement With The City Of Park Ridge

District 64 Enforced Its TIF Agreement

In 2003 the City of Park Ridge developed a TIF area with which to drive commercial development.  While initially doing well, the recession of 2008 decreased land values and soon the TIF area became a financial drag on City funds.  


As part of the TIF development, the City was to provide annual payments to School District 207, School District 64 and the Park Ridge Park District in exchange for constraining our ability to collect taxes from rising property values inside the boundaries of the TIF District. 


As the economic downturn was occurring and tax money from the TIF started drying up, the City of Park Ridge began to withhold and decrease its obligated payments to D207, D64 and the Park District. 


However, this money was already earmarked into the Capital budgets for District 64 and represented a considerable deficit. 


In March 2013, I personally led the effort to force the City of Park Ridge to live up to their written commitments to compensate District 64 for lost tax opportunities from the Uptown TIF.


At the time, District 64 was owed payments of approximately $344,000 that were 90 days past due.


I personally met with Alderman Dan Knight and led an amicable discussion on the needs of both District 64 and the city.


When that intervention did not shake lose a payment, I then  told City Manager, Shawn Hamilton, to pay up immediately or District 64 would take the city to court to enforce our written agreement that the city had honored in every year since 2003.


Our resolute approach worked and in June 2014, the City of Park Ridge paid over $500,000 to District 64 in support of our written agreement.  


As we approach Voting Day on April 7, 2015, the City and District 64 are on the verge of agreeing to a compromise agreement.


With this potential agreement, the citizens of Park Ridge will not be tasked with the cost of a legal battle paid for by the taxpayer money within two government entities.


While the new payments are less then before, we believe that the payments will help the City with its financial burden and  will be sufficient for the District to carry on its mission:


The mission of School District 64, a vital partnership of staff, families and community, is to inspire all students to embrace learning, discover their strengths and achieve personal excellence in order to thrive in and contribute to a rapidly changing world by providing a rich, rigorous and innovative curriculum integrating civil behavior and fostering resilience.

  

************


Issue # 7 - Collection Of 

Unpaid Student Activity Fees

In September 2013, our board discovered that 20 % of student activity fees were delinquent at the start of the school year. Moreover, this was considered business as usual by the Finance Department and these fees remained uncollected year after year. The determination by the few to avoid these fees forced the ever increasing fee burden onto other families.

With my leadership on this issue, the School Board selected a collection agency to increase efforts in collection so that by the month of October, District 64 had already collected roughly $47,000 of the $168,000 it was owed.

All public schools have some out of pocket costs as a nod to the average taxpayer who pays high property taxes but has no children in school. Therefore, student fees are imitable and must be paid. 

As a result of instituting this new policy uncollected student fees have gone down by over 70% and a new respect for the taxpayer and District families is underway.

************

Issue # 8 - Residency Verification Policy

Residency Verification Before Each School Year


As your current School Board President, I am pleased to spend long hours investing in Park Ridge, our schools and our children.


The result of many years of investments in our schools by our taxpayers has resulted in our schools being more attractive than schools in other nearby communities. 


This has led, on occasion, to families who wish to attend our schools and yet who do not support our District with their tax dollars.


This is patently unfair and I have led the effort in 2014-15 to implement a new policy to confirm that the families who attend our schools actually live within our district boundaries and continue to pay property taxes that fund our schools.


Our new policy will implement residency checks for each coming school year, for every student, before our schools open.


Yes, it will be unnecessary and a slight burden on the majority of our taxpayers. however, it will also ensure fairness in that only those families that fund our schools will be entitled to use them!


************


Issue # 9 - Elimination Of 

A Lunch Supervision Fee

$300 Lunch Supervision Fee Eliminated


On April 23, 2012, I led the discussion and I voted to eliminate the exorbitant parent paid lunch supervision fee, costing on average $300 per child, for any students staying in our schools during the lunchtime.


Not only did this reduce a family fee but also it allowed us to move to a "Closed Campus" to improve the security of all of our students.


************


Issue # 10 - District To Pay 

For Student Chromebooks

Fee Waiver of $322 Per Student
In July 2014, I personally led the effort to reverse the school boards direction to charge families a $322 fee for their child to use a new Chromebook computer.

District 64 already charges extremely high student fees compared too many other surrounding Districts.  While there is no question of the benefits that individual computers can provide to the Education process for our children, paying for them can prove to be problematic.  Adding the cost of $322 dollars to the already high student fee structure would make attending District 64 cost prohibitive.  

Removing or delaying the implementation of the computers would be educational folly.  Paying for the computers with dollars from the general Capital fund protected our families from exorbitant costs while forcing the District to look for means of savings within the District to gather the money together for payment.  

Therefore, this issue became a "Win - Win" for the community.

************

Issue # 11 – Continuous Improvement 

of Student Accomplishments

Baldrige National Quality Award


During the last four years on the School Board, I have worked tirelessly to stamp out any satisfaction with “Status Quo” and a “Laissez Faire” approach to managing our schools.


Instead I have spent many hours redirecting the focus to ongoing, annual improvements in student learning and achievement.


Our new Superintendent, Dr. Laurie Heinz, has experience as an evaluator of schools who have applied for the nationally sponsored, Malcolm Baldrige Award.


The Baldrige Program educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations, and government and nonprofit agencies about the practices of best-in-class organizations.


( For more on the school improvement plan by the federally sponsor Baldrige Program see: www.nist.gov/baldrige/enter/education.cfm )


With your support on Election Day, I look forward to investing four more years in a number of new programs that will involve reaching out to other schools and districts that consistently outperform schools in both Cook County and the State of Illinois.


Our District team of administrators, teachers and community volunteers will make multiple visits to top performing schools and seek out proven ideas and methodologies that we can use at District 64 for improving performance in all of our schools.


These nearby, top performing districts and schools, as ranked by ISAT test scores, include:


* Lincolnshire/Prairie View (www.hd.d103.org) - Half Day School


* Hinsdale/Oak Brook (www.d181.org)- Oak, Madison & The Lane Elementary Schools


* Schaumbug/Hoffman Estates (www.sd54.org) - Herbert Hoover School


* Hinsdale/Claredon Hills (www.d181.org) - Prospect School


* Barrington (www.barrington220.org) - Grove, Roslyn Road Schools


* Winnetka (www.winnetka36.org) - Greeley School


* Wilmette (www.wilmette39.org) - McKenzie, Romona Schools


* Northbrook/Glenview (www.district30.org) - Wescott, Willowbrook Schools


* Glenview (www.avoca37.org) - Avoca West School


For the "2013 Illinois Test Scores: Top 50 schools" by the SunTimes.com 

see:

http://voices.suntimes.com/news/2013-illinois-test-scores-top-50-schools

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Issue # 12 - Hiring of 

Instructional Technical Coaches

Smartboard in District 64 Classroom

In both 2011 and 2012, I voted "No" against a significant investment to hire Instructional Technical Coaches to help our teachers apply new technology in their classrooms.

 

I did this as I was concerned that all programs provided for technical instruction up to that time were not well attended by staff.  I would not pay to instruct teachers when they had no drive to lean themselves. 

 

I felt that we were increasing salary costs with little or no return to show for this investment.


Ultimately, the Board mandated that the Administration show results of positive outcomes from individual "One-to-One" coaching to prove that our investment was effective. 


Over the past year, the level of individual technological use and fluency by our teaching staff has increased District wide and I fully support the concept.


************


Issue # 13 – Additional Middle School 

Bus Rides Offered

New Bus Capacity to Lincoln and Emerson Schools


I voted to support free bus rides for approximately 300 middle school students beginning in the fall of 2012.


The State Board of Education approved our application requesting that Lincoln and Emerson be designated as schools qualifying for state bus reimbursement.


This is due to potentially hazardous crossings that students encounter to and from school, especially when crossing the busy streets of Oakton next to Emerson Middle School and Touhy Avenue just north of Lincoln Middle School.


************

Issue # 14 - Recruitment of New Superintendent

District Superintendent Laurie Heinz


As President of the board, I was very pleased to lead the effort to recruit a dynamic leader for the position of Superintendent.  In early 2014 the Board has found just such a dynamic, knowledgeable individual  in  Dr. Laurie Heinz who has since joined us here at District 64. 


I firmly believe that the District had developed a sense of Lassiz Faire!


Basically, it was resting on its laurels, repeatedly announcing that it was a high performing District, yet failing to prove it through Summative testing compared against other Districts. 


With the resignation of Dr. Bender, the Board took on the difficult task of seeking a replacement within a 10-month time frame. 


Not only was this accomplished but our search process uncovered a person with the curriculum knowledge, people and leadership skills that made her the perfect candidate for the position of Superintendent. 


I speak here of Dr. Laurie Heinz.


Dr. Laurie Heinz, served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction with Skokie School District 68.


There Dr. Heinz was involved in the implementation of a new math curriculum, "Focus in Math", which is based on a program from Singapore that focuses on the concepts used to arrive at answers.


Before she joined District 68, Heinz served as a Principal with Northbrook School District 27 where one of her schools ranked in the top fifty in Lake county.  There, she led Shabonee School for three years, and Grove School, for six years.


Dr. Heinz has also been an assistant principal in Palatine, and a teacher in Vernon Hills and Glenview.


Dr. Heinz holds two Master’s degrees and a Doctorate from National Louis University.


Acting as Board President and working with her closely during her first year, I find that she is very well qualified, knowledgeable and tireless in her focus on improving our staff and our schools.


I am personally, very impressed with the many initiatives and improvements that Dr. Heinz has made within District 64 since she joined us on July 1, 2014 and I look forward to working with her to elevate the operational level of D64. 

************


Issue # 15 – Future Teacher Contract 

Negotiation for Period 2016 - 2020 

District 64 & PREA - A "Win - Win"


I am increasingly focused in bringing our exploding salary costs to a level that is closer to the rate of inflation or the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  


By doing so, this act will slow the ever increasing costs of salary and benefits in our District. 


Currently, in the development of our 2014-15 district budget, our administration forecasted the following increases: 


* Salaries are expected to increase from the 2013-14 school year by approximately $2.4 million or 5.3 % for a long list of positions:


* Increases of 2.5 % for administrative staff


* Increases of 3.5 % for secretarial and custodial staff


* Increases of 2 % for exempt staff and technology staff


The school district is also proposing to spend 4.6 % more on benefits, an increase of $401,349 from last year.


Contrast this to inflation or increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the last five years:


* 2010 - 1.5 %

* 2011 - 3.0 %

* 2012 - 1.7 %

* 2013 - 1.5 %

* 2014 - 0.8 %

* 2015 - February YTD = Minus 0.5 % (i.e. deflation)


Looking to the future, in December 2014, the United States Federal Reserve offered the following forecasts for inflation for several of the years covered by a future teacher's contract. 


* 2015 - 1.0 % to 1.6 %

* 2016 - 1.7 % to 2.0 %

* 2017 - 1.8 % to 2.0 %

 

With your support for my re-election on Election Day, April 7, 2015, I plan to reach out to the leadership of our teacher's union, the Park Ridge Education Association (PREA).


I will ask them to join with your School Board to begin a thoughtful discussion focused on mutual goals that will help our teaching staff deal with future inflation in the cost of living, but not profit from union demands for an overly generous future contract.


************


Issue # 16 - Facilities Master Plan

Facilities Master Plan for All Schools

Shortly after my election in April 2011, I threw my efforts behind a new "Facilities Master Plan".


To my personal amazement, previous school board members and school administrators for the prior 25 years had ignored maintenance on the very foundation of Education, that is, the "Bricks & Mortar" of the buildings that shelter our classrooms.


The master plan that I voted to invest in included an in-depth study and recommendations on: 


* Planning for improved school interiors


* Heating and ventilation


* Utilities


* Technology infrastructure


* Flooring and carpet


* Painting


* Internal and external lighting


* Exterior maintenance including drainage, playgrounds, asphalt and landscaping.


Today, four years later, I am immensely proud of our many accomplishments in bringing the quality of our school buildings up to 21st Century learning standards!

************


Issue # 17 - Investment in Facilities

Playground Flooding

Since 2011, I have voted to repair our schools.  A study by the Architect firm, Fanning and Howey, identified $49 million of structural deficits in our buildings.  


The board asked the firm to identify the the most important items.  The most necessary repairs totaled $19 million for improvements in the key areas of:


* Flood mitigation


* Heating


* Air conditioning, 


* Mold removal


* Asbestos removal 


* Roofing maintenance   


The building investments extended included the following amounts:


* Carpenter School, $ 4+ million


* Franklin School, $3+ million


* Lincoln Middle School, $ 500,000+


* Field School, $ 8 + million


The effect of these repairs was to make all the facilities more user friendly and safe. 


By stopping the flooding at Franklin and Carpenter schools:


* Parking lots became usable


* Auditoriums became habitable and functional 


* Classrooms became comfortable locations for learning


Our ultimate goal was to:


* Mitigate draining and flooding issues on site by installing underground stormwater detention and site-drainage improvements


* Improve safety for students and staff


* Try to preserve as much green space as possible


* make the buildings habitable for learning


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Issue # 18 - Statewide Awards
SchoolSearch Bright Red Apple Award


In 2012, Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 was one of only 79 Illinois school districts to earn the 2012 Bright Red Apple Award for educational excellence from SchoolSearch, an independent research and consulting firm. 


In 2013, we were one of 78 districts so honored.


It’s the 19th year District 64 was selected for “…providing students with an outstanding educational environment,” the award notes.


Using objective data from the 2011 Illinois State Report Cards, only 9 % of the state’s 868 districts received the accolade.


District 64’s performance on the ISAT test had consistently been at the 95% level performing in line with other high performing schools. 


In 2013 my  Board determined that the best use of funding and efforts was to concentrate on the individual’s intellectual growth as exemplified by the MAP testing. The District, has and is, performing extensive research not only with the Status reports of the MAP testing but also the Growth component. 


As a result, the curriculum and in particular the differentiation of each student will be driven by a summative metric to produce concrete results.

As both a D 64 parent and Board Member, I feel very fortunate that our District 64 schools enjoy tremendous support from our community.  


The tradition of great schools defines Park Ridge-Niles as a family-friendly community that continues to draw new generations of students here and I intend to maintain that tradition.


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Science Club