MINOOKA — The community has been showing interest in beginning an education foundation at Minooka Community High School District 111, according to school board members, who agreed at this week’s board meeting that a foundation could be of great benefit to the school.
Some residents have approached board members and staff about ways to donate to the school, but their donations might not be tax deductible, according to district staff.
Interim Superintendent Jim Blanche said he has seen community-run education foundations that have risen up to become stable and productive supporters of their school district, bringing in millions of dollars. He’s seen others that have brought in less than many parent-teacher organizations do.
Funds generated by such a community-driven foundation could be used to enhance instruction programs, Blanche said, or for professional development and other causes. A foundation would be a separate entity from the school district, but its members would work hand in hand with school personnel and board members for the betterment of the district’s campuses.
“It does take significant community leadership to make it successful,” Blanche said.
Board members and staff said they would be reaching out to community leaders who might be interested in developing and running the foundation. Community Relations Director Dave DiLorenzo is the district’s contact person for queries.
Superintendent search update
The school board Thursday also heard a report from Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates on what qualities are desired in a new superintendent.
The district’s interim superintendent’s term is nearing its end, and the board has hired the executive search firm to help them find candidates.
A representative from the firm showed the board results from an online survey, community focus groups and input from other stakeholders, such as administrators, faculty, parents, students and the school board.
The surveys showed the quality respondents most want in the new superintendent is financial acumen. That correlates with responses that the biggest challenge facing the district is its financial condition.
Other highly desirable qualities include approachability, ability to collaborate well, honesty, integrity and good communication skills.
The search firm currently has 23 completed applications and nine that have not yet been submitted. After the meeting, board President Mike Brozovich said the board will be presented with a slate of candidates in January, will conduct interviews in February and hope to have the finalists in March.
2015 tax levy approved
The school board also approved the 2015 tax levy of $22.39 million.
The levy includes $14 million for educational purposes, $2.9 million for operations and maintenance, $1.4 million for transportation and $1.3 million for liability insurance.
The levy, according to Chief School Business Official John Troy, is a .97 percent increase over the 2014 levy and an 8.7 percent increase over the 2014 tax extension.
During the past five years, Troy said, the real tax extension revenue has been reduced by a compounded $14.8 million.
“And it’s a $4 million deficit we’re running now,” Troy said.
The levy is based in part on an estimated 4.5 percent increase in Will County equalized assessed value, Troy said, although that figure is before some exemptions and appeals.