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January 2018 RNA Board Meeting

1.       Notes from RNA board meeting on January 11, 2018 at Full Circle Architects: was called to order at 7:01. Board members present: Mike Stroz, Doug Purington, Michael Babian, Amy Lohmolder, Dan Baigelman, Justin Kee, and Jean Meier. Board members absent: Brett Tolpin, Jeff Stern.  A quorum was present.

2.       President Report:

2.1.    Justin has taken over the newsletter on a temporary basis. He is urgently looking for content.

2.2.    Ed Kugler will write up something for the newsletter on the 40th anniversary of the Ravinia Farmer’s Market.

3.       Treasurer’s report by Mike Babian:

3.1.    Account Balances:

3.1.1. Checking account $6746

3.1.2. CD $5298

3.1.3. Total $12,045

3.2.    Hippy Christmas Party Expenses

3.2.1. $389 expenses for the party

3.2.2. We had 25 to 30 people attended, so turnout was anemic, ideas as to why?

3.3.    Treasury Audit

3.3.1. Annual event, slightly behind schedule.

3.3.2. Will occur with Jean, Amy and Justin at Jean’s house in the next month.

4.       Publicity/Membership/Business District Update from Doug:

4.1.    Membership

4.1.1.  One new member. Two renewals.

4.1.2.  Brought in $75 in membership

4.2.    Newsletter and Publicity

4.2.1.  No update on newsletter.

4.2.2. Facebook              With the City personnel due to visit and report back on issues concerning the Ravinia area, we will do a Facebook boost to ask our followers if anything is of concern to them, so that we can ask Drew. Some ideas of issues are in Section 10.

4.3.    Business update:

4.3.1. No update.

5.       Winter Newsletter Update – reported on in President’s report (Section 2)

6.       What’s going on in District 112: one member’s prospective, Alex Brunk (this was discussed earlier in the meeting as a courtesy to our guest but is placed here for continuity with the agenda)

6.1.    District 112 faces population issues, funding issues, facilities issues so a consolidation is inevitable. Recently there were 4400 students in the district, this year it’s about 3800.

6.2.    Board has decided to close Lincoln and Elm Place at the end of this school year.

6.3.    Green Bay will eventually close.

6.4.    Ravinia will stay open for now and is probably safe for the foreseeable future.

6.5.    In the past several years, dual language was expanding to about ¼ of students. But now will be contracting and this will require less facilities and personnel.

6.6.    Oak Terrace and Red Oak will be magnet schools with dual language.

6.7.    Reduction in force probable. No need to carry a larger payroll.

6.8.    The district has hired a superintendent from Deerfield. However, Michael Lublefeld moved though the HP ranks. He has a five-year contract.

6.9.    Not enough attention paid to quality of education with past administrations. This needs to change going forward.

6.10.Boundary changes are being finessed. Disagreement among Board as to whether it should be done globally or just for the schools that are closing? For now, the School Board has decided to just alter the boundaries of those schools that are closing with a liberal granting of parents requests to put their children into a different school other than the one where they reside.

6.11.Next up, the selection of a new architectural firm.

6.12.There may be a new referendum but not imminent.

6.13.Max levy was imposed because the School Board needs to keep options open. Alex abstained because he thought there should have been more discussions.

6.14.SALT tax deduction might be a factor going forward. However, the District has a healthy reserve and the District has no outstanding bonds, and is prevented from doing so.

6.15.Full day kindergarten is $2500. Following Deerfield’s example of how to implement. Hope is that eventually this will move to free.  

7.       Discussion of RNA working with the Ravinia Farmer’s Market. Ed Kugler

7.1.    Ravinia Farmer’s Market needs to be sponsored by a nonprofit organization in order to get maximum support from City and RBDA. They won’t give the same support to a for profit organization. The City does not want to support two Farmer’s Markets but if both were run by nonprofits perhaps we could get some City support, especially in the way of banners, signs and printed material.

7.2.    Ed cannot attend the Feb meeting.

7.3.    Mike S will meet with Ghida Neukirch, to discuss how the RNA and the City can promote the Ravinia Farmers’ Market (RFM) once a vote authorizing the RNA to become the applicant occurs.

7.4.    Jean provided a written motion to authorize the RNA to become the applicant and to empower Ed’s organization to run the market.

7.4.1. Jean Meier made a motion to:              Authorize the RNA offers to meet with an attorney and appropriate City of Highland Park officials to explore sponsorship of the Ravinia Farmers Market in 2018 in the following manner:              1. RNA will be named as the not-for-profit organization on any applications required for the City of Highland Park to grant permits that will permit the Ravinia Farmers Market to take place from June 6 to October 31, 2018.              2. RNA will assist with publicity for the Ravinia Farmers Market by advertising it in our newsletter, including it on our website and by other means, if requested by Ed Kugler. However, any additional expenditure of funds for publicity must be considered by the RNA board and adopted by a vote of the board.              2. RNA will entrust Ed Kugler’s company to manage the Ravinia Farmers Market. Ed Kugler will make every effort to assure that all vendors at the Ravinia Farmers Market comply with any and all conditions set forth by the City. In addition, Ed Kugler and his company will guarantee that all vendors have obtained, prior to the opening of the 2018 Ravinia Farmers Market, liability insurance in an amount he sees fit to cover any unforeseen damage to persons or property that might be harmed as a result of their attendance at or involvement with the Ravinia Farmers Market. Ed Kugler will provide proof of said insurance to RNA prior to the opening of the 2018 Ravinia Farmers Market.              3. Adoption of this motion by the RNA does not create any employer/employee relationship between RNA and Ed Kugler, as manager of the 2018 Ravinia Farmers Market.              4. Adoption of this motion by the RNA does not create any  supervisory responsibility on the part of the RNA toward Ed Kugler and his company or toward any vendors or other parties involved with the Ravinia Farmers Market. 

7.4.2. Motion was seconded by Mike Babian, and unanimously passed.

7.5.    Ed Kugler was asked to join the RNA Board.

7.5.1. Mike S made motion to have Ed join the Board, Doug seconded. Unanimously passed.

7.6.    Other actions:

7.6.1. Ed will get the official application to Justin, Mike S and Mike B.

7.6.2. Mike B and Justin will contact the attorney.

7.6.3. Ed to get bio and photo to Doug for website.

7.7.    UPDATE              Mike B followed up with the attorney who gave a pro bono opinion that the RNA making application to the City for the Farmer’s Market would jeopardize our nonprofit status. Individuals on the Board objected to this change in position and asked the attorney for an engagement letter to thoroughly research this issue. Attorney replied that the fee to do research and produce an opinion would cost between $2500 and $3500.              The sense of Board based on this info is not to pursue an arrangement to apply for the Farmer’s Market application with the City. And that the RNA would support Ed as a sponsor but recognizing that his initial reason for approaching us, i.e. to gain more prominent marketing exposure via the City will probably be stymied.              Ed was informed of these results by Mike S and he will continue the status quo, i.e. he will make application to the City with his own company and he will not be moving forward as a Board member.

8.       Nation Builder

8.1.    Justin and Mike S have used in the past successfully.

8.2.    Doug has concerns: With 16 years of experience he perceives that this tool is more for an organization with more volunteers. It’s an advanced tool with transition concerns. Justin disagrees, while there is a learning curve, many can be involved, we can use with Facebook and we can target selected constituencies. We can also automate membership renewals to take away menial work from Membership and can eventually allow memberships and renewal throughout the year, as opposed to now which is renewals only at midyear (note: Justin agrees not to do this immediately but to test the other functionality of the tool first).

8.3.    RNA spends about $700/year now for basic functionality; Nation Builder will give us more functionality for about $400/year.

8.4.    The Board will need to establish a protocol for using the tool and for posting and responding. We should cease the use and payment of Constant Contact also.

8.5.     Mike S makes a motion to test Nation Builder by migrating the current tools to Nation Builder by March 31, 2018. Mike B seconds, vote is unanimous in favor.

9.       Board Meeting Minutes

9.1.    Too much time is elapsing between Board Meetings and the creation and approval of minutes.

9.2.    Need for a Secretary urgent but no one wants to do.

9.3.    New format of notes better than before.

9.4.    Mike S and Jean to temporarily share secretary duties.

9.5.    Target getting minutes to Board within one week of meeting and then approval of minutes within another week.

10.   Other Business

10.1.Potential Drew Awsumb discussion points requests:

10.1.1.    Al Clairmont development status

10.1.2.    Closed Dry Cleaners status

10.1.3.    Ravinia Firehouse status

10.1.4.    Ravinia Streetscape Lighting Project status

10.1.5.    Clavey Road repaving status

10.1.6.    We, the residents, the citizens who live there 24/7, do not want two homes torn down for the expansion of the ravinia fire station and to be replaced by an expanded parking lot when the current parking lot is barely half filled. Julie and Hal Malen, 674  Pleasant Avenue

10.1.7.    I certainly hope they continue to keep Ravinia School open, and that the city accepts new stores and restaurants within our vacant locations.  It really seems like it takes way too long - even years - to reconstruct or reopen a building on Roger Williams. Lianne Plath

11.   Adjournment at 8:55 PM.