D86 meeting roundup

Hinsdale High School District 86 Board

Among other business Thursday, board members:

• asked Chris Covino, assistant superintendent of academics, to come back with a plan for no more than 12 early release Wednesdays for the 2022-23 school year. The days are designed to give teachers time to collaborate and to create a more consistent schedule by eliminating late start days, Covino said. The recommended plan for 15 days would have provided students with 1,003 hours of instructional time and teachers with 23 hours of collaborative time. Twelve days translates into 1,009 instructional hours and 18 hours of collaborative time.

• decided against pulling the public Freedom of Information Act request log, which includes documents supplied in response to those requests, off the district’s website. District attorney Steve Richart had recommended the board release documents only to the individuals who had made the FOIA request rather than posting them online to reduce the district’s liability. He said District 86 is the only district he is aware of who posts all responsive documents online. Board members who opposed the recommendation said they worried taking the documents down would lead to duplicate and triplicate requests being filed and is not in the interest of transparency.

“Now is not the time to eliminate it,” board member Debbie Levinthal said. “The optics of it are punitive and retaliatory.”

• discussed the possibility of forming an academic and equity committee. Board members Levinthal, Peggy James and Jeff Waters supported the idea. Board President Erik Held and members Cynthia Hanson, Kathleen Hirsman and Terri Walker said they would prefer to see those conversations take place during Parent-Teacher Advisory Committee meetings and suggested adding more of those meetings to the calendar.

• accepted a letter of resignation from and agreement with Brad Verthein, assistant superintendent of student services, whose last day in the district will be June 30.

• learned Hinsdale Central was ranked ninth and Hinsdale South was ranked 71st in the state (out of 724 Illinois high schools) in the new U.S. News and World Report “Best High Schools” rankings. Central came in at 277 and South at 1,490 on the list of almost 18,000 schools nationwide. South moved up 449 points, Superintendent Tammy Prentiss told board members.