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Board Briefs - November 14, 2023

  • The Board Briefs are highlights from the most recent Board of Education meetings. The purpose of the Board Briefs is to provide a timely summary to keep our staff, parents and public informed of the key items that were discussed or acted upon. More detailed information is available under the Board Schedules, Agendas and Minutes section of the District’s website. Official minutes are not posted until approval at the following meeting.

    Tentative 2023 Tax Levy
    Superintendent Mark Cross presented the tentative 2023 tax levy. The recommended levy of $10,934,124 excluding debt service, compared to last year’s actual extension of $10,360,739, is an increase of 5.88 percent. The final amount of taxes on an individual property could be higher or lower and will depend on any changes in assessment of the individual property, as well as what other taxing bodies levy for taxes. Mr. Cross provides the detailed Questions and Answers about Local Property Taxes for anyone interested in learning more. After some discussion, the Board approved the tentative levy and established a public truth-in-taxation hearing.

    Review of 2022-23 School Report Cards
    Mr. Cross and Principals Christine Marcinkewicz and Laura Anderson provided an in depth review of the 2022-23 Illinois School Report Cards. In addition to reviewing the data, Mr. Cross explained some of the changes that ISBE has implemented with reporting, and the Board discussed the clarifications of how ISBE defines “proficiency”, which is a much higher bar than actual “grade level”.

    The district will be sharing more updates and details with parents and the school community at a later date, after teachers and administrators have had the opportunity to study and discuss the data in more depth. The administration also plans to provide a presentation on current growth data from our local NWEA MAP assessments in February.

    Some of the highlights of the 2023 report cards are as follows, with much more information under the link:

    • The percentage of students meeting or exceeding proficiency in both the English Language Arts and Mathematics has increased for three straight years.
    • English Language Arts proficiency at Cass Junior High increased 11 percent over the previous year, while mathematics growth at the junior high will be a continued area of focus for improved growth.
    • Despite the overall mathematics growth scores not being as high as expected, Cass Junior High has an incredible 92 percent of 8th graders completing Algebra before high school.
    • Mathematics growth at Concord Elementary was 68 percent, one of the highest growth rates in the area, while English language arts growth will continue to be a focus area for growth.
    • Concord missed overall “Exemplary” status by less than one half of one percent.
    • Attendance in District 63 is also much stronger than the state average with only 2.7 percent of students defined as a “chronic truant” (5 percent of a school year without a valid excuse), far below the state average of 19.9 percent.

    In Other Key Action Items, the Board of Education… 

    • Approved a resolution establishing a public truth-in-taxation hearing for Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at 7:00 p.m.
    • Approved the employee health, dental, and life insurance renewal.
    • Approved the low recommended bids of $61,045 from Valor Technologies and $88,880 from Husar Abatement to complete upcoming asbestos abatement projects at Concord Elementary and Cass Junior High Schools, respectively.
    • Approved a $50,000 school maintenance matching grant application to cover some of the cost of the asbestos abatement projects.
    • Approved the employment of Cathy Fisher and Kris Walsh to job share as part-time interim assistant principals at Cass Junior High School.
    • Established Board meeting dates, times, and locations for the 2024-25 year.
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