Fox River Grove Consolidated School District 3 Board met Nov. 11.
Here is the minutes provided by the board:
I. CALL TO ORDER AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Board Vice President Tom Mollet called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
II. ROLL CALL
Members present were Sara Brubacher, Melissa Brennan, Tom Mollet and Laura Byrd. Also present were Superintendent Dr. Tim Mahaffy and Principals Dr. Sandy Ozimek and Director of Special Education, Mrs. Heather Trom. Absent were Board members Kristine Hester, Gerry Blohm and Steve Pickering.
III. WELCOME TO VISITORS, GUESTS, COMMENTS & QUESTIONS
Audience members included Mrs. Sara Erdmann, Mrs. Theresa Meshes, Mrs. Jen Arendt, Ms. Karli Kurschardt (3rd grade teacher), Ms. Cassie Buchman (Northwest Herald), Mr. Joe Bartkus (Henry Brothers), Mr. Fred Schuster (Wold Ruck Pate), and William Trom were all welcomed to the meeting.
No one signed in to address the Board.
IV. CONSENT AGENDA
A motion was made by Melissa Brennan to approve the consent agenda, approve and open to the public the regular minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of October 21, 2019 and the Special Board meeting of November 4, 2019, approve the closed minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of October 21, 2019 and the Special Board meeting of November 4, 2019, approve the October, 2019 Treasurer’s Report, approve the November 2019 bills and payroll from October 19, 2019 through November 8, 2019 and approve the October Activity Accounts Report. Laura Byrd seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Voting aye – Melissa Brennan, Tom Mollet, Laura Byrd and Sara Brubacher. Voting nay – none. Motion approved.
V. REQUEST FOR RECORDS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
VI. OLD BUSINESS
Review 2019-20 Enrollment and Class Size – Dr. Mahaffy stated that the current enrollment has not changed much with 220 students at Algonquin Road School and 174 at the Middle School for a total of 394 in-house students.
Facility Project Update – Dr. Mahaffy stated that the District had a really good bid turn out and bid response. This item was covered in detail under Item A. – New Business.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
Approve Facility Project Bids – Dr. Mahaffy stated that last spring when we went out to bid the total project came in at about $4.2M. This year the total amount with all 13 bid packages came in at approximately $2.5M. Dr. Mahaffy said that with the amount of work that was done this summer was exactly what we needed to do plus some. Abatement and flooring was done this summer.
Mr. Joe Bartkus, Project Manager for Henry Bros., Co., briefly reviewed the bids. Bid opening for the 2020 Additions and Alterations bid packages were opened on November 5th, 2019. Henry Bros. performed scope review meetings and met with some of the contractors. Two bid packages that need some more work and research (painting and roofing) will be presented at the December Board meeting. All the other bid packages (i.e., excavation, concrete, paving, structural steel, general trades, aluminum storefronts and glazing, ceilings, drywall, plumbing, HVAC and electrical) are being recommended tonight for approval. Everything is the same finishing scope as before. Actual bid tabulations were shared with the Board members. All recommendations include Alternate #1.
Dr. Mahaffy’s recommendation is to approve these 11 bids as we are still under the tentative budget. We will work on the remaining two at the December meeting.
Mr. Bartkus stated that the contractors for the general trades, aluminum storefronts & glazing and HVAC have some long lead items and really need to get started right away with their contracts. We still plan to be breaking ground around May 1st. A different entrance for Algonquin Road School will need to be made. Contractors will start walking the building over the holidays to find anything that may be a problem in the future. Progress meetings will be held as we go along.
A motion to approve Matteo Construction (excavation) for $124,750, Honch Concrete (concrete) for $82,699, Chadwick Contracting (paving) for $11,498, T.A. Bowman (structural steel & misc. metals) for $139,200, Hargrave Builders (general trades) for $587,950, Lake Shore Glass (aluminum storefronts & glazing) for $153,094, Alpine Acoustics (ceilings) for $164,315, International Decorators (drywall) for $268,000, Jensen’s Plumbing (plumbing) for $159,400, Mech. Concepts (HVAC) for $390,000 and Carey Electric (electrical) for $385,000 was made by Laura Byrd and seconded by Melissa Brennan. A roll call vote was taken. Voting aye – Tom Mollet, Laura Byrd, Sara Brubacher and Melissa Brennan. Voting nay – none. Motion approved.
Personnel Report -- Dr. Mahaffy reviewed the Personnel Report as of November 11th, 2019. The report included the following employment recommendations: Mrs. Cami Post and Mr. Bryan Nollet as volunteers for the MS play (spring 2020) and Mr. Derrick Miller, Facilities Director, for his irrevocable notice of retirement at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school-year.
A motion to approve the Personnel Report as presented for November 11, 2019 was made by Sara Brubacher and seconded by Laura Byrd. A roll call vote was taken. Voting aye – Laura Byrd, Sara Brubacher, Melissa Brennan and Tom Mollet. Voting nay – none. Motion approved.
Approve Tentative Tax Levy – Dr. Mahaffy presented the 2019 Tentative Tax Levy for School District 3. The levy process includes the following: the Board of Education approves a yearly budget by September 30th, the Tax Assessors in all townships assess properties and send data to McHenry County, the Board of Education approves a yearly tax extension (Levy) by the last Tuesday in December, the Tax Extension Office calculates the tax rates and amounts and the County extends the Levy and collects the taxes. Dr. Mahaffy reviewed the three main cycles – assessment cycle, tax levy extension and collection cycle and a budget cycle.
McHenry County is under PTELL (Property Tax Extension Limitation Law) which limits the tax extensions to an increase of 5% or the CPI, whichever is lower. The CPI average for the last 5 years was 1.52%, the last 10 years was 1.8% and the last 20 years was 2.07%. The CPI for 2019 is 1.9% (2.1% in 2018). New property is taxed at its full value.
The CPI (Consumer Price Index) is determined in December of 2018 and finalized in January of 2019.
The EAV is the Equalized Assessed Valuation or one third of the sum of the market value for all properties in the district. The Extension (the dollar amount of the levy) is subject to the PTELL, so if the EAV goes up more than the CPI, the District cannot access it all, except for new properties. If the growth in the EAV is greater than that of the CPI, the tax rate will decrease. If the growth in the EAV is less than that of the CPI, the tax rate will increase. Dr. Mahaffy stated that this is not an exact science.
There is no penalty for guessing too high with the tax levy. The District will not receive any dollars above PTELL. There is a big penalty for guessing too low. If the District does under levy or chooses not to levy, the tax rate gets locked and the difference between what the limited rate is and what the District levies for is lost every year moving forward (Public Act 096-0504).
Dr. Mahaffy stated that at the time the Levy is approved and submitted to the County Clerk’s office (by the last Tuesday in December), a district does not know the EAV, new construction and the true impact of hitting the maximum rates in our various funds. All of these are finalized in the spring and adjustments are made in April in the County Clerk’s office.
Dr. Mahaffy stated that new in 2017 with Senate Bill 1947 – School Funding Bill – eliminated the maximum rate in the Education Fund. District 3 will no longer hit the maximum rate in the Education Fund and will no longer need to balloon levy in the Transportation Fund and then do a transfer to the Education Fund.
The PTELL tax cap does not affect the Bond and Interest Fund. The District has two bond payments remaining and then will be debt free.
A district may choose to abate property taxes which allows a district to capture the PTELL allowable rate while limiting or decreasing the tax increase to taxpayers. District 3 has been abating since 2013 for a total of $928,405 which includes this year’s scheduled abatement. This may change.
Dr. Mahaffy reviewed the 2019 Levy Calculation Page with the Board. The Consumer Price Index is 1.9%. The estimated total EAV for 2019 for District 3 is about $109M. The estimated new construction for 2019 was $400,000. This makes a change of 5.44% from the prior year.
The limiting rate is at 4.92%.
The capped levy amount for District 3 is estimated at $5,847,891. No Truth in Taxation Hearing is required since District 3 is at 4.99%. This levy captures CPI plus any new construction.
This year Dr. Mahaffy is manually entering the figure of $10,000 for IMRF and $1,000 for Social Security which was recommended by our auditors for these two funds. We will still expend the needed full amounts but this will get the District from 18 months of reserves in those funds down to about 8 months. The District is not asking for less monies. There is now more money coming into the Education Fund than in IMRF and Social Security.
The total levy comes to $5,976,296.00 which includes the bond and interest.
A motion to approve the Tentative Tax Levy as presented was made by Melissa Brennan and seconded by Laura Byrd. A roll call vote was taken. Voting aye – Sara Brubacher, Melissa Brennan, Tom Mollet and Laura Byrd. Voting nay – none. Motion approved.
IX. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
Board of Education Dashboard – Dr. Mahaffy reviewed the Board of Education Dashboard. The final levy and two bid proposals will be presented at the December Board meeting. The first reading of revised policies will also be in December. PRESS has warned us that this is the largest policy update that they have had due to new laws. The trending CPI-U is at 1.9.
Property Tax Relief Grant – Dr. Mahaffy reviewed the FY20 Property Tax Relief Grant calculation with the Board. Last year was the first year for this grant. As part of the New School Funding Bill, one of the items it indicated was that any year that there is more than $350M put into education, a minimum of $50M has to go to property tax relief. It happened last year and now this year. All 852 school districts go into a calculation – first come, first served for this Grant. Based on the calculation, a District is told how much it must abate in order to get this Grant amount. Last year District 155 was the closest in line for this Grant but were not close enough. The $50M was gone by the time their turn was up. Dr. Mahaffy applied for this Grant last year but District 3 was way down on the list. This year, based upon the calculation (2017 tax year), District 3 is number 31 on the list. Currently there is a little over $50M available, and even if everyone gets funded ahead of us there is still more than $10M left. In order to participate, District 3 would need to abate for two years ($309,313/year). This grant provides our taxpayers relief without negatively impacting District 3. This item will be on the December agenda for Board approval.
ARS Principal – Dr. Ozimek stated that the end of the first trimester is November 12th. Parent/teacher conferences will be held on November 25th and 26th. Report cards will go home on the 19th. The K-2 winter concert will be held at 2:00 p.m. on December 16th followed by the winter concert for grades 3-4 at 2:00 p.m. on December 18th.
Director of Special Education – none.
Spring 2019 IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness) Data -- Dr. Mahaffy stated that this test is very similar to PAARC so we feel we can still look at trend data. Overall in grades 3-8 in McHenry County, District 3 ranked in the top four. There is only 3.1% points separating #1 in the county to #4 in the county. Dr. Mahaffy is very proud of the staff and students at both buildings. In mathematics, District 3 is ranked #2 out of 13 elementary districts with a 0.1% points separating us from the #1 rank. In English Language Arts District 3 ranked 4th out of the 13 elementary districts. Dr. Mahaffy stated that in reviewing the feeder districts to District 155, Fox River Grove is rated 1st in math and 2nd in ELA. Cohort data was briefly reviewed. Our 3rd and 4th grades are really showing great progress. District 3’s staff will continue to identify any weaknesses and provide solutions to improve results. District 3 continues to be in the top 2 of the feeder districts to Crystal Lake District 155.
Illinois At-A-Glance Report Card for 2018-2019 – Dr. Mahaffy stated that District 3 is well above the State average. District 3 is way above the State average in assessment but we are below the State average in the amount spent per pupil and operational amount spent per pupil. This is a good place to be when spending less than most but achieving higher than most and to never be satisfied.
X. COMMITTEE REPORTS -- None.
XI. ANNOUNCEMENTS, NOTICES AND COMMUNICATIONS – None.
XII. EXECUTIVE SESSION – None.
XIII. ACTION FOLLOWING EXECUTIVE SESSION – None.
A motion to adjourn the meeting of November 11, 2019 at 8:09 p.m. was made by Sara Brubacher and seconded by Melissa Brennan. A voice vote was taken. Voting aye – All ayes. Voting nay – None. Motion approved.