November 30 Board Meeting

Board+members+discussed+areas+of+improvement+for+the+high+school.+These+decisions+regarding+where+to+allocate+the+district%27s+money+and+what+fixes+are+most+important+are+not+taken+lightly+by+the+board+or+administration.

Board members discussed areas of improvement for the high school. These decisions regarding where to allocate the district’s money and what fixes are most important are not taken lightly by the board or administration.

On Mon., Nov. 30, all of the Kaneland Board members were present for the board meeting via Zoom. The night began with a moment of silence held for former Kaneland High School Treasurer Christine Steenwyk, who passed away last week. The Pledge of Allegiance and a salute to the Kaneland nurses and educational directors followed, leading the board to their next topic: finances.

The first presentation given by Associate Superintendent Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs concerned the five-year future financial plan for Kaneland. This presentation is usually given later in the year, but was ready and presented early because of the uncertainty of the future due to COVID-19. The presentation was composed using 5Cast, which is a financial planning system used by the Kaneland School District. 

The next topic that was covered was the assumptions required in order to complete the five year plan. This included certain factors that the Kaneland School District has not yet received concrete information about, and other unknown factors that will be accurately inserted into the plan at a later date. 

Fuchs began to discuss the plan and walk through the coming years’ funds at Kaneland. When the technology budget was discussed, a question was raised by the board’s vice president Ryan Kerry concerning the technology budget two years ago compared to now. 

“I remember the number being lower maybe a year or two ago, and it seems like it’s jumped up substantially,” Kerry said. 

This question was resolved slightly later in the presentation when Fuchs displayed the budgeting from previous years concerning technology. She pointed out where the money was being spent and why the budget has increased within the past year. This included new Chromebooks, hotspots and IT expenses due to online learning. 

Following the description of the proposed outlook on Kaneland’s funds, the board inquired about areas the district can restrict unnecessary spending. The main area that was discussed was the replenishment of the district’s school buses. Board member Teresa Witt questioned the desire to replace the buses and felt this money could be used elsewhere.

“[Buses] didn’t get as much use this year as they normally would, and I don’t think we need to replace so many, especially with the budget looking like it is,” Witt said. 

One of those things the school is looking to put their money towards is updating the science labs in the high school. There are many concerns from the science department regarding the safety and functionality of the rooms. The biggest reason for these imperfections is the year in which they were built. 

“[Science classrooms] are in the C-wing. It’s the original portion that was built in 1959,” Fuchs said. 

She went on to explain that these classrooms include original electric, plumbing, gas and built-in tables and cabinets. The board covered possible plans and blueprints for the labs but ultimately acknowledged that while they would like to renovate, the cost is overwhelming and they will be holding off.

The last topic briefly discussed was the learning plan going forward. Superintendent Todd Leden reiterated how the education staff plans to handle full remote learning and eventually the transition back to hybrid learning or full in-person learning. There was little controversy over this subject, though there were still some uncertainties going forward into the coming school year due to COVID-19 

The meeting was concluded by accepting a donation towards the FFA Club from a returning donor, as well as previewing topics for future board meetings. The meeting was unanimously adjourned by all seven board members.