On the Books: January 24, 2017

On the Books News Image

On the Books provides a recap of the Sycamore Community School District #427 Board of Education meeting  that occurred on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. The Agenda and all supporting documents from this meeting and minutes from previous meetings, can be viewed through BoardDocs. If you would like to receive a notification for when On the Books is ready for viewing, please sign-up for our District Communications


2017-2018 Academic Year Calendar

The Board of Education voted and approved the 2017-2018 Academic Year Calendar. The calendar continues to allow for the Friday of Pumpkin Fest weekend off due to the public use of buildings during Pumpkin Fest and to allow the use of President’s Day in February as an Emergency Day. This allows for instructional time to be made up earlier, rather than adding time on at the end of the year.

Communications Update

The Board of Education received an update from the District’s Communications Department on the progress of the District’s goal to “Provide two-way communication that is transparent, updated, and accessible.” Current initiatives include the community newsletter entitled The Torch, the redevelopment of the District and School websites, having a presence on social media, a Board of Education recap entitled On the Books, and a new weekly staff newsletter.

Transportation Update

The Board of Education received an update regarding the exploration of different options in regards to the start time for the District’s buildings. Currently, the District’s schools start between 8:15 and 8:30 AM. District Administration is currently exploring multiple options and will report back to the Board of Education at a future meeting.

Legislative Update

The Board of Education received an update on recent legislative actions. The State of Illinois recently mandated that all elementary schools that are hooked up to a community water supply complete lead testing. As part of the mandate, each drinking fountain will need to be individually tested, which will be an estimated cost of $8,800 for the District. Buildings constructed before January 1, 1981 (the year lead plumbing was banned) will need to be tested by December 31, 2017, while buildings constructed between 1981 and 2000 will need to be tested by 2018. For buildings constructed after January 1, 2000, a determination regarding testing completion will be made by June 30, 2019.. The Board also received updates about: SB1, School Funding Reform; SB2, Minimum Wage Increases; and SB13, Property Tax Freezes.

Approval of Updated Budget Reduction Plan

As District #427 begins to prepare for the final year of the three-year budget reduction plan, originally approved during Fiscal Year 2015, the Board reviewed the forecast prepared by Forecast 5, financial advisors for the District. In reviewing the updated fiscal forecast, the District will reduce its budget by $2.3 million in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Board President, Jim Dombek, stated, “You can see a dramatic difference between the original financial projections compared to the updated financial projections.” The Board of Education voted to approve the updated Budget Reduction Plan.