Major Facility Repairs Needed – Life Safety Bond Hearing Tonight

28f22d5e6564b80038f7129403ecde3aOur facilities are aging.  Believe it or not, Thompson and Martin, our newest schools, are almost 20 years old.  Hooper Elementary and Palombi Middle School  which have been through multiple additions are much older.

In 2015 the district architect working with our Facilities Team determined that Lake Villa 41 facilities required large-scale maintenance and repairs to address its aging infrastructure.  The plan that was developed for these necessary upgrades was detailed in our 2015 Decennial Health/Life Safety and Capital Plan. (Each school district is required to file such a plan with the state and regional office per School Code.)  You can see our plan here:  2015 LV41 Long-Term Facilities Plan – FULL – DRAFT 2015-11-18

Our 10-year plan identified  $21.4 million of capital improvement work. Funding for these projects will come from various sources including cash reserves, the tax levy, and/or bonds. To date, $800,000 in completed projects which included district-wide interior/exterior doors improvements, asphalt work, playgrounds improvements, bathrooms renovations, flooring,  LED  Gym Lighting in Palombi, partial roof replacement, fire alarm and intercom systems in Hooper were funded by operating funds in our existing budget.  In addition, $2.3 million will come from existing district cash reserves.

So why does the district need to issue Life Safety bonds? Our annual Operation & Maintenance budget simply does not allow us to address all the major facilities problems identified in our plan. We are very concerned about the safety of our buildings as well as extending their use for future generations.  Issuing bonds is one of the few ways public schools have to access money for these repairs.  Please understand that this $1.2 M in addition to what we have already spent is just the tip of a much larger iceberg.  To keep our schools operational and safe, we have $21.4 M of work that needs to be accomplished by 2025.

Tonight the district will hold a public hearing in order to issue $1.2 million in Life Safety Bonds.  These funds can be used only for facility improvements which have been identified in our plan. The $1.2 million will be primarily used to cover the cost of replacing the roof at Thompson Elementary School as well as other smaller projects listed and prioritized in the plan such as window replacement at Palombi, and  replacing Hooper’s roof over the 1961 addition.  Should the bidding process be lower than anticipated (and we hope it is) we will also be able to get a few more smaller projects on our plan completed.

A great deal of planning on multiple levels has gone into making the decision to replaceroofer1.gif Thompson’s roof.  We have consulted with district architects as well as performance contractors.  It has to be replaced since it is beyond mere patching.  The cost of the roof right now is simply an estimate of the actual cost – we won’t know that fully until the bidding process has been completed.  Per School Code we are required to go out to bid which we will do in September.  That process will also be made public and the board will then award a contract to the lowest responsible bidder.

How much will it cost?  The issuance of these bonds will cost the average homeowner in the district (value $233,300) an additional $60 annually for three years.  The bonds will be paid off after three years.  Delaying these necessary projects will only increase costs.  Likewise a number of these projects will generate substantial cost savings by increasing efficiency and reducing energy costs.  Most importantly our schools will be safe for students and staff.


Help Secure State School Funding!

Currently Illinois has a budget AND a revenue to pay for that budget.  However, schooldownload districts will only receive money if there is an “evidence-based” model in place by August 3rd.  Schools would then receive funding on August 10th.

The GOOD News – SB1 which was passed by the House and Senate is such a model.

The BAD News – Governor Rauner is threatening to veto SB1 when it reaches his desk because he believes it helps Chicago Public Schools too much.

The REALITY – Schools across the state won’t be able to open their doors this fall.  (Luckily, that is not the case at Lake Villa 41, but even our reserves are limited.) With SB1 no school district loses money.

What can you do?  Time is of the essence! Contact your legislators to ensure that we get the budget that was promised.  Better yet – call the Governor’s office  217-782-0244 and tell him to sign SB1.  I just did that myself and a friendly man wrote down my message verbatim and said he would deliver it directly to the governor this afternoon.  It took me less than a minute to make my voice heard.

I hope all Lake Villa 41 parents join me in making sure all kids get what they deserve!

imagesOnce again that number is 217-782-0244

Evening Parent Meeting on Discipline

download-1Just a reminder that Palombi Middle School will be hosting a Parent Meeting on Thursday,  June 8th from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m in the Board Room for ALL parents interested in learning more about how student discipline is handled.

Participants will learn about the district’s referral system, the student discipline policies, the PBIS approach, bullying, the impact of social media and recent legislation impacting discipline decisions.  Parents will be provided strategies to help children feel safe and valued.

All parents across the district are invited to attend.

There will be time at the end for questions and answers.

Digging Down into Palombi’s Discipline Data

download (1)There has been a lot of chatter recently about the number of discipline referrals at Palombi Middle School.  In an effort to help parents better understand student discipline and have an opportunity to provide the school feedback, a meeting was held yesterday and almost 30 parents attended.  The meeting will be repeated on June 8 at 6:30 p.m. so working parents and interested others will be able to attend.

The attached letter details specific information regarding Palombi’s discipline and referral data.  This letter is being sent to all Palombi parents and 6th grade parents.  Not only does this letter breakdown the data, but it also outlines what staff, administration and parents can do to ensure that Palombi continues to be a positive learning environment for all children.       Parent Letter on Discipline Details

While 1,326 referrals seems like a lot, almost 80% of Palombi’s discipline referrals were issued for minor, not major infractions.  Almost half of these were for missing assignments.  Assignment completion is certainly an area that needs greater attention.

In August we will hold more parent workshops on understanding the teen brain and on technology safeguards for parents.  In the meantime, if imagesyou feel your child is struggling or is having peer problems, please reach out to your child’s teacher, principal, or social worker and make them aware so we can help.

A Fond Good-bye to LV41 Retirees


CONGRATULATIONS Len, Patty, Becky and Diana!!!

Just a quick shout-out to four tremendous teachers who will be retiring at the end of this school year.  Collectively, these four educators have contributed 95 years of service to our district!

We wish Thompson’s Speech and Language Therapist Patty Bohman, our District Instructional Coach Becky Stellwag, and Palombi’s 8th Grade teachers Len Benning and Diana Rogers all the best in their new journey.  They have positively touched so many lives during their tenure in Lake Villa 41 and they will be greatly missed!


Join Us!

download-1Join Us for a Focus on Student Discipline

Palombi Middle School will be hosting a Parent Meeting on Thursday, May 18th from 9 – 10 a.m. in the Board Room for ALL parents interested in learning more about how student discipline is handled.

Participants will learn about the district’s referral system, the PBIS approach, bullying, the impact of social media, the teen brain and recent legislation impacting discipline decisions.  Parents will be provided strategies to help children feel safe and valued. download (1)

All parents across the district are invited to attend.

There will be time at the end for questions and answers.

Strategic Planning a Success!

img_0156On Saturday over 30 participants joined together for the day to actively plan for Lake Villa 41’s future.  The group was lead by Barb Toney from the Illinois Association of School Boards.  Happily, over half of the participants were parents and/or  community members.  This was especially important because the district improves when all stakeholders have a voice.

Throughout the day participants worked in small groups to identify core values and beliefs, articulate both the district’s mission and vision and create high-end district goals.  Participants also completed an analysis of the district’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of student achievement, programs/services, curriculum, facilities, finances, and community relations.  A great deal of work was accomplished in a little under seven hours. The board will use all of this input in the upcoming months.

A special THANK YOU to all of those willing to give up their Saturday to help make our district even better for our students!  

We Need Your Help

We are looking for parents and community members help us with our district’s download-1Strategic Planning on Saturday , February 11 from 8:30 – 3:30 PM.  Your input is vital in moving our district forward.  Please sign up using this link RSVP Strategic Planning

It is critical that all stakeholders in the district are represented and have a voice.   As it stands we are in need of a larger group of both parents and community members.  Your support of our district is greatly appreciated!


Please Join Us!

download-1Every organization needs a road map to advance from where it is now to where it wants to be in the future.  Residents and community members now have a direct opportunity to shape Lake Villa 41’s future.  On Saturday, February 11th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. our board will be hosting a Strategic Planning Event at Palombi Middle School’s Library.  This event is aimed at engaging community members, business leaders, residents, recent graduates, and staff in planning the direction of the district.  It is a time for everyone’s voice to be heard. This meeting is open to the public.

The strategic plan is the driving force for the district’s actions. It guides all planning, fiscal decision-making and student achievement efforts.  A good strategic plan can improve student outcomes, keep great teachers and involve the community in the business of the schools.  If you are interested in joining us, please let the district know so we can be sure to have lunch for you and send you materials a week before the event.   Simply call the district office at 847-356-2385 or use this link to register

Hands-Only CPR Saves Lives

download-1Did you know cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States?  Each year, over 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur and about 90% of the people experiencing such an event die.

Hands-only CPR, especially if done immediately, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.  Please take 2 minutes to watch this short video to learn how.  Hands Only Training video – IHSA

Here is also a link to more information from the American Heart Association. 2016 Hands-Only Fact Sheet

(And for those of you who may be wondering, all Illinois public school districts are mandated to share this information with parents and staff.)