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Board Summary: November 13 Work Session

The Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 Board of Education met on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in the Liberty Middle School Auditorium for its monthly work session.    

These are not the official meeting minutes, but rather a summary to assist the District #7 community. The official minutes can be found on the District #7 Board of Education Board Docs once approved by the Board.  

Middle School English Language Arts
Tara Fox, Director of Curriculum, along with Becky Artime, District Literacy Coach, Sarah Hollis, Liberty English Language Arts teacher, and Jenn Brown, Lincoln English Language Arts teacher, led a discussion on the Middle School English Language Arts curriculum review. Since November 2022, a collaborative committee of teachers and staff has been diligently working to identify a new English Language Arts curriculum for the middle school, aiming to replace the outdated current curriculum that has been in use for nearly two decades.  

The committee initiated a proposal process involving nine companies, narrowing down to three after receiving six proposals. Following observations in local school districts implementing two of the three programs and hearing from company representatives, the pool was further reduced to two. The committee decided on Amplify due to its comprehensive features such as varied instructional support, skill integration, vertical alignment, resources for MEL (Multilingual English Learners), diversity, technological features, student engagement, and ongoing professional support.  

The decision is pending approval at the upcoming monthly board meeting, and if approved, training and professional development are scheduled to commence in December 2023 and continue throughout the spring semester, with the implementation slated for the start of the 2024-25 school year. 

Tax Levy
David Courtney, CFO/COO, delved into the tax levy projections for the upcoming 2024-25 school year. Due to a significant adjustment in the estimated township multipliers, the district is currently projecting an increase in its 2023 Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) of approximately 9.55%. The current year EAV increase for the district was 7.16%.  

Courtney discussed the tax levy and how township multipliers impact property values and expected tax revenues for the district. He explained that property must be assessed at 33.33% value and may be assigned multipliers to reach this valuation. For the 2023 EAV estimate, the multipliers for townships within the district are projected to range from 1.0818 to 1.1029, leading to the expected increase in the 2024-25 property tax revenues.  

The assigned township multipliers drive nearly all of the tax increases on an annual basis, especially when the actual tax levy rates remain the same or decline. The district’s projected tax levy rate is estimated to decline from the current year amount of $4.69 to between $4.67 and $4.68 for the 2024-25 school year. 

His discussion also touched on the importance of estimating tax revenue based on the provided multiplier information from the county and pointed out that the levy is not set based on the rate, but rather on the dollar amount assigned to various funds, such as education and transportation, and that these amounts directly impact the tax levy. Additionally, Courtney discussed the differences with the individual levies, some with statutory maximums and some determined by the budgetary need of the district, that comprise the total tax rate. 

School Achievement/School Report Card
Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton gave the board a high-level presentation of the Illinois School Report Card and how it works. The school report card can help a district identify areas for improvement and monitor progress. Noted were the challenges of stagnant achievement and the need to update curriculum studies to align with standards and best practices in education.  

Shelton shared the ability to drill down into various data points on the report card and demonstrated how to use the report card to compare the district’s performance with state averages and trends over time, particularly in areas such as graduation rates and racial and ethnic diversity. 

 Shelton noted the changing demographic composition of the school district, noting a decrease in the white student population and an increase in the low-income rate. He stressed the importance of understanding and adapting to these demographic shifts for cultural and educational purposes. 

Tara Fox, Director of Curriculum, followed with a presentation on FastBridge and IAR cohort scores, which showed three-year trends of students versus one single test year. A look at those presentation slides can be seen here 

In action, the Board Approved:  

  • The issuance of $6,196,573 in general obligation school bonds for roof replacements at Edwardsville High School ($1,793,355.50), Glen Carbon Elementary ($411,224.00), Leclaire Elementary ($384,912.00), Woodland Elementary ($1,233,008.50), and Liberty Middle School ($2,374,073.00).  
  • The issuance of debt certificates, not to exceed $13,000,000 to complete solar panel installations at Worden Elementary, Jon Davis Wrestling Center, Success Academy, Edwardsville High School, Hamel Elementary, Leclaire Elementary, Glen Carbon Elementary, Cassens Elementary, Goshen, Elementary, and Liberty Middle School. The debt certificates will be paid annually from the energy savings generated from the installation of the solar panels at these building locations.  

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates
Monday, Nov. 27 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, Dec. 18 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, Jan. 8 – Board of Education Work Session (6 p.m.)
Monday, Jan. 22 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 12 – Board of Education Work Session (6 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 26 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, March 11 – Board of Education Work Session (6 p.m.)
Monday, March 25 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, April 8 – Board of Education Work Session (6 p.m.)
Monday, April 22 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Tuesday, May 28 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
All meetings are held at Liberty Middle School