Search Site

This search form uses an instant search feature. As you type, search results will appear automatically below the search field. When you've entered you desired search terms use tab to navigate through the available results and hit enter to open the selected page or document.
Operations & Business Services Newsletter June 5, 2019
Operations & Business Services Newsletter June 5, 2019
Dr. Frank Evans
Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Official Tax Rates Released By DuPage County Clerk District 48 Will Receive $250,512.25 Over Last Year Collections

Jean Kaczmarek, the new DuPage County Clerk released the final calculations of the 2018 tax rates and extensions for our school district and all other DuPage County school districts. The consumer price index last December 2018 of 1.9% determined the Property Tax Limitation Law percent of new money for the school district over the levy last year. Fortunately, DuPage property tax payers pay their taxes with over a 99% paying them on time. We get two large tax distributions, one in June and one in August with lessor amounts other months.

The Education Fund tax rate is $1.0689 producing $7,344,431.49 in revenue for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Bond & Interest Fund tax rate is $.2564 producing $1,761,729.10 to pay bond holders for principal and interest for the 2019-2020 school year.

The 25-cent rate is what had been predicted during the bond referendum to give voters an idea of what it would cost them in increased taxes each of the six years of bond repayment. We spent nearly half of the bond money last year on the work done to our schools and another chunk will be spent this summer leaving slightly over $1,000,000 for Summer 2020 construction.    

The Operations & Maintenance Fund tax rate is $.1768 producing $1,214,796.04 in revenue for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund tax rate is $.0123 producing $84,513.53 in revenue for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Social Security Fund tax rate is $.0123 producing $84,513.53 in revenue for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Transportation Fund tax rate is $.0742 producing $509,829.56 in revenue for the 2019-2020 school year.

The grand total of local taxes to be collected is $10,999,813.25 in revenue for the 2019-2020 school year. This is $250,512.25 more than we received from local real estate taxes last year! The 2018 Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) is $ 687,101,883 compared to the 2017 EAV of $648,446,724 that produced revenues of $10,749,301.

The total tax rate, including the bond repayment with interest, is $1.6009 per $100 of assessed property value.

The EAV in 2008 was $785,964,391 prior to the Great Recession so we still have a long way to go before getting back to where we were in 2008. That year we had a total tax rate of $0.9561.

Arbor Management Proposes Year 5 Breakfast/Lunch Program Contract

This has been another tough year for Arbor Management, Inc. They have lost money on our account for the second year in a row. This year we lost our on-site manager working with District 45’s director of food service for supervision due to low participation. Arbor Management and the district discussed dropping the morning breakfast service due to the low number of participants, but the program is needed so we will use our employees to pass out the breakfasts and monitor students at the two elementary schools.

Next year we will lose the Arbor breakfast servers at Stella May Swartz and Salt Creek Primary schools in an effort to meet expenses. Arbor will continue to deliver milk and sack breakfasts to the coolers in each school for distribution to students who ordered them. An assistant in each building will have pass out a milk and sack breakfast. Building principals did not like having to assign this task to assistants but also wanted to retain the breakfast program for students.

Arbor has not been able to employ part time workers to come in early to work in the schools to pass out breakfasts. Arbor will provide each school with a check list for verification of who was given a breakfast so that claims and billing can be done. Arbor will credit the district $68.30 each serving day each payroll period, based on hourly wages of $8.50 or $8.75 (the amount they would have paid if they were able to employ servers at that time of morning). Albright Middle School breakfast is not affected since an Arbor Management, Inc. employee is there prepping for lunch.

What Is The Future Of Our Contractual Relationship With Arbor Management, Inc.?

The Arbor Management, Inc. original contract was awarded in 2015 for the 2015-16 school year. The Illinois State Board of Education permits four renewals after the initial contract before having to seek bids for a new contract. Either party can decide to not renew the contract. Arbor’s contract with the school district restricts the amount of meal price increase next year to the Consumer Price Index. For 2019-2020 Arbor can increase prices by the same 1.9% CPI increase we receive from local property taxpayers under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law. 2019-2020 is our last year with Arbor as our food service vendor. Five-years is the maximum length of a food service management contract.

District 45 also will be advertising for a new food service vendor for the 2020-2021 school year and we have had preliminary talks to have them include District 48 in their Request For Proposals. This would place our schools under District 45 supervision as satellite schools.

Under that arrangement District 45 would be able to use our production kitchen and refrigerator/freezer space to support the dual district operations and provide servers and management of our food service operations.

If it is determined that this is not possible we would then seek to enter into a contract with District 45 to produce the breakfasts and lunches for our district and our courier would pick them up from one of their middle school production kitchens and deliver them to our schools billing us for the meals. This arrangement is the same as we provide meals to SASED free and reduced students housed in our district. We bill them and they file their own claims providing us with their free and reduced meal payments. If District 45 is not agreeable to that arrangement we will send out a request for proposals for the 2020-2021 school year from food service vendors.

Lunch Prices To Increase For Next Year

Arbor Management, Inc. reimbursable breakfast meal rates will increase from $1.6269 to $1.6578 for FY 2020. Reimbursable lunch rates will increase from $3.3066 to $3.3694 for FY 2020. District 48 will absorb the breakfast increase continuing to charge $1.65 for breakfast in an effort to keep counts from dropping in the final year of the Arbor Management, Inc. contract. However, we are recommending to the Board of Education that the current $3.25 charge for lunch increase to $3.40 for FY 2020 and adult lunches increase from $3.75 to $3.90.

Arbor Management & Westway Coach/Richlee Vans In Discussion To Share Employees

Our food service vendor and transportation vendor share the same problem, not being able to attract or retain employees due to the limited amount of time they work. Getting and retaining part time workers is a chronic problem for the service industry as well as having enough substitute teachers.

Both companies will see if they have employees who would like to drive bus and prepare and meals providing them with a longer day so that they can make additional compensation. Perhaps an Arbor employee could drive in the morning and then work the lunch periods. Or, a Westway/Richlee Van could do morning bus run, serve during the lunch periods, and then run their afternoon shift. This type of creative use of employees could help the companies and provide employees with more work and pay.

Biden Outlines Education Plan At AFT Gathering In Houston

The New York Times reports that former Vice President Joe Biden on unveiled “the first major policy platform of his campaign, a sweeping education proposal that urges federal investment in low-income schools, supports universal prekindergarten and higher teacher pay, and, he added in a public appearance later, opposes for-profit charter schools. But in keeping with his more moderate tendencies, the” proposal “focused on priorities that are widely accepted in Democratic circles, appearing to stop short of the bolder promises from some of his” 2020 Democratic presidential primary foes “and skirting entirely a number of the more controversial issues in education policy.”

The Washington Post reports that Biden’s plan “would help teachers tackle debt, triple funding for districts with a high proportion of low-income students and boost the number of psychologists and other health professionals in schools. The proposal came as Biden addressed a town hall in Houston hosted by the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers union in the country, which is staging as series of town hall meetings with Democratic contenders vying for the union’s endorsement.” The Post adds that Biden “said nothing in his plan about the teacher or school accountability ideas that animated both the Bush and Obama administration but irritated teacher unions.”

The Wilmington News Journal  reports that Biden’s proposal includes “gun legislation that bans assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.” The article adds that at Tuesday’s town hall in Houston, AFT President Randi Weingarten “called Biden her ‘good friend’ and the union’s ‘north star’ during the Obama administration. While the union didn’t always agree with President Barack Obama, Biden was the ‘go-to guy, who always listened to us,’ she said.” 

CSPI, Trump Administration At Odds Over Proposed Changes To Nutritional Guidelines For School Lunches

Fox News reports President Trump is “taking a big bite out of regulations that set nutritional guidelines for school lunches,” with the White House revoking a “rule limiting the amount of sodium kids can be fed at school lunches.” The Administration is also “saying only 25 percent of the grains served need to be whole.” In response, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is “taking the US Department of Agriculture to court.”

2020 Candidates Sanders, Castro Propose Free School Meals For All Students 

Politico  reports that 2020 presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-NY) and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro “have proposed universal free meals in schools, regardless of students’ family income.” Proponents of the idea “say it would increase ‘buy-in’ to the program, help all kids establish healthy eating habits,” and remove “the potential for ‘lunch shaming.’” The Center for American Progress Action Fund’s senior director of K-12 strategic initiatives Lisette Partelow said that presidential candidates in the 2020 race have “gone bigger and bolder with their education policy ideas than we’ve seen in previous cycles.”

IASA Provides Update On Property Taxes, Capital Bill & School Consolidation

The Illinois Association of School Administrators reports figuring out a way to provide property tax relief is a complicated issue for the legislature. For one, there are disparate rates across Illinois, including communities adjacent to each other. Some communities have also voted to increase their own taxes to better fund schools via referendum.

Of course, the state isn't even involved in the collection of local property taxes. That's handled, and then spent, by local governments.

Therefore, the state doesn't have many options. It can either pay for property tax relief itself or try to reduce or cap the amount of money local governments can raise through property taxes or on the rates they charge.

The new Property Tax Relief Task Force, created by legislation approved in a House committee, will study these options and make recommendations for short-term and long-term property tax relief for homeowners.

In addition, lawmakers approved the creation of a fund  to provide property tax relief, although it is unclear how much money will be put into the fund or where that money will come from.

The fund is intended to provide financial relief to property owners who qualify for a general homestead exemption. One idea that has been floated is to initially allocate $400 million in 2021, which would be enough to provide an estimated $200 in property tax relief for every Illinois resident claiming a Homestead exemption.

What's good for school districts is this plan won't impact local government levies because it essentially acts as a rebate from the state. However, the problem is it can be extremely expensive and eat up new revenue generated under a possible graduated income tax.

We'll see what happens next with property taxes. The governor has made the commitment for property tax relief and seems to be serious about wanting to take meaningful action.

What we do know now is more about the task force itself. According to the legislation, the task force will be charged with using a racial and economic equity lens to identify the causes of high tax rates across the state, review best practices in creating property tax relief and make recommendations that can be used to develop administrative, electoral and legislative changes to create property tax relief.

The task force will include members appointed by the governor, members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker and members of the Senate appointed by the Senate President, under a new amendment filed. The task force is then directed to issue its report 90 days after the law is enacted, a short time frame for such a complicated and far-reaching issue.

Capital Spending Bill

We are still optimistic vertical construction will be included in a capital bill. The governor has been adamant that is what he wants. The hang up has been how to pay for it, specifically gaming expansion.

That has been viewed as the lynchpin to securing vertical construction programs. Discussions are underway on this issue and some lawmakers have indicated they believe gaming expansion will pass. If it doesn't, the capital bill will likely only include money for roads and bridges.

If your district has a major project, like new construction or significant renovations, we encourage you to reach out to your local legislator about how their support of a capital bill will help the school district in the community they serve.

School Consolidation

We have been cautiously optimistic school consolidation could be put on hold, but we can now report it is officially dead this session.

The Senate Government Accountability and Pensions Committee moved an amended HB 3053 to a subcommittee. The amendment was a slight change from the original version but not enough to change the opposition of the Alliance and teacher unions.

Westway Coach & Richlee Vans Raise Prices

I met with the Vice President and terminal manager to review their proposal for busing next year. They cite a difficult labor market causing wages to increase. Increases in liability insurance, fuel, and replacement buses costing over $90,000 each. They try to use a bus for 10-12 years.

Proposed increases are 3.7% over last year. The cost per bus route/day will be $70.40 while the cost of a special education route per bus route/day increases to $241.68. Preschool special needs buses cost $120.62 per bus route/AM and PM.

We require that all buses have cameras that can have clips downloaded and available to the appropriate building principal. This year we discontinued double running five buses providing different starting and ending times and instead went with ten buses making one trip (cost was the same).

After we ended our own busing program in 2003 we used Cottage Hill Operating Company and changed to Westway Coach/Richlee vans in 2008 and have remained with them.

 Stella May Swartz School Office To Be Tested For Mold

Principal Gerrie Aulisa requested that the General Office and Principal’s office be checked for mold after she and other staff members report constantly having cold symptoms for months at a time. We will use the same company that does all of our testing for mold, asbestos, and lead testing. The testing will occur early in June according to the company due to a backlog of testing scheduled ahead of ours.

This year we tested for mold and asbestos in the LMC/Library and a special education classroom. Those tests were positive for mold and positive for asbestos floor tile under the unit ventilators and cabinets. Remediation work was done in those areas. We also did mold testing this year in a the AMS large gym and district office after similar complaints of constant colds plus an unusual smell in the gym. Those tests were all negative.

Quote For The Week 

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Andy Mcintyre