Community gives feedback to Lake Zurich Dist. 95

 
 
Updated 9/27/2016 8:03 PM
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  • Brett Clark, spokesman for Consortium for Educational Change, provided direction to those who attended a Lake Zurich Unit District 95 community meeting Tuesday in Hawthorn Woods. The session was designed to garner feedback on issues as part of a strategic planning process.

      Brett Clark, spokesman for Consortium for Educational Change, provided direction to those who attended a Lake Zurich Unit District 95 community meeting Tuesday in Hawthorn Woods. The session was designed to garner feedback on issues as part of a strategic planning process. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

Lake Zurich Unit District 95 launched a community meeting series Tuesday designed to encourage feedback on facilities, student learning and other issues as part of a strategic planning initiative.

Parents, students, teachers, administrators and others are on the 41-member Forward 95 strategic planning group. Superintendent Kaine Osburn said the community meetings are expected to assist in the volunteer committee's work to produce a plan to guide the school system for the next three to five years.

"One of the most important things to remember is this (feedback session) is a part of a process," Osburn said.

An afternoon and evening session began the series Tuesday at Middle School North in Hawthorn Woods. Administrators started each session by giving presentations on District 95 finances, facilities, learning and education spaces.

Facilities Director Lyle Erstad outlined potential projects at all buildings that tentatively would total $86.7 million. That cost -- calculated in today's dollars and not accounting for inflation -- would be for work including life safety, maintenance, capital improvements and air conditioning, along with contingencies for architecture and engineering.

Vicky Cullinan, District 95's assistant superintendent of business and operations, reviewed potential ways to pay for the needed work. Options include continuing with a standard $3.3 million set aside for projects in the annual budget or reissuing debt, without a property tax hike, to gain an extra $4.4 million every four years.

After the presentations, the audience broke into groups to review the strategic planning committee's draft findings on several issues. Some placed stickers next to the findings indicating concurrence or disagreement or posted comments written on sticky notes provided to all attendees.

In the area listed as threats to District 95, the committee listed aging facilities and the potential of pension reform for educators. High-quality, dedicated employees and supportive families and community were among the group's findings on District 95's strengths.

One attendee wrote a danger to the district is an "aging population of community" that will lead to fewer students.

The Chicago-based nonprofit Consortium for Educational Change was hired to assist the district in the feedback process. Spokesman Brett Clark said the organization will look for patterns in the feedback before issuing a report to the Forward 95 committee charged with finalizing the strategic plan.

Osburn said the plan will shed light on "when we're doing something, why we're doing it and why we're doing it when we're doing it."

Another presentation on district finances, facilities, learning and education spaces is set for 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Lake Zurich High School, 300 Church St.

How success should be defined at District 95 and needs beyond the classroom will be on the agenda at 3:15 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at Middle School South, 435 W. Cuba Road, Lake Zurich, and at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the high school.

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