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Where Learning Has No Boundaries

Polaris Charter Academy

Where Learning Has No Boundaries

Polaris Charter Academy

Where Learning Has No Boundaries

Polaris Charter Academy

Board Minutes 3.12.13

Polaris Charter Academy

Board Meeting Agenda

March 12, 2013

Board Topic: Polaris and the Media

Meeting – 6:30   Dinner will be available at 6:00pm

Dial In Number –  (610) 214 0000

Access Code          316557#

 Board Members:  Darren Snyder (CC), Sarah Walker, Greg Borkowski (CC), Mick Domagala, Uday Khedkar, Marion Meers-Rice, Travis Swoope, Michelle Navarre, Keecia Broy (CC), Susan Kajiwara-ansai (CC), Dr. Kameron Matthews, Helen Wolfe

School Leaders: Michelle Navarre (Head of School), Carol Clavadetscher, Roel Vivit, Jamie Samsel

Uday called the meeting to order at 6:05pm. He communicated to the attendees that Micaeh Johnson’s Media presentation would be postponed to the next board meeting, due to the number of individuals that were attending the meeting via conference call.

Uday made a motion to approve the minutes from the February 4th board meeting. Sarah seconded the motion.

State of the School

Michelle shared with the board that ISATs had been administered the week of March 4th, with makeups being completed this week. She also shared that on February 23rd, 2 groups of Polaris students, one representing 3rd/4th and a second representing 5th/6th had presented Expedition-related projects at the annual Climate Cycle event. There were 2 awards given at the event, both to Polaris, who had competed against students from Westinghouse High School, Walter Payton, and Curie.

Michelle shared that 11 staff members participated in the Expeditionary Learning Conference in Baltimore. Six staff members presented workshops on topics ranging from school culture to revision in the classroom. All presentations received strong, positive feedback.

Michelle and Roel will be traveling to Poland over trimester break, leading a series of workshops on building teacher and student leadership. The trip is sponsored by Butler University.

Committee Reports             


Carol provided an update on funding for FY2014. CPS has communicated that ALL schools will move to “Student-Based Budgeting” in 2013-2014, however, the information provided is at a very high level. At first glance, the proposal does not appear to benefit charters NOR represent a true “per pupil” model, as schools with high teacher experience receive additional supplements.

Uday and Carol discussed the need to recruit a new Finance Chairperson to the board, given Uday’s new position as board chair. The board discussed inviting Joel Pomerenk, a 3-year member of the finance committee, to a board position. Uday agreed to follow up with him.

Carol provided a high-level financial update:

  • February 28th cash balance = $787,893 vs. budget $754,305
  • YTD spending is $108,000 favorable to plan, driven primarily by decision to opt out of CPS building services; YTD revenue is ($98,700) unfavorable to plan, driven by fundraising ($70,000) and timing of CPS payments ($30,000
  • Fundraising target per budget = $260,000. YTD actuals = $61,260
  • Significant financial risk to balance of year budget due to
  1. Fundraising (estimated risk $100,000)
  2. CPS start-up funding uncertainty ($40,000)
  3. BOY forecast reflects $40,000 upside; additional $40,000 of possible spending cuts

Carol shared that the final charter has been signed and is official.

The board discussed the Same Schools| Same Funding campaign led by Illinois Network of Charter Schools:

  • House Bill 980
  • Narrows the permissible funding range for charter schools from 75%-125% to 97%-100%
    • NOTE: Elementary schools are currently funded at LESS THAN 75%
    • Per INCS, AVERAGE charter school student received $6,500 vs. $10,000 (includes high schools, which have $1,700 more per pupil)

Carol invited board members to attend the Springfield visit on May 2nd, which will be coordinated by INCS.


Jamie shared with the board that $9,500 of sponsorships had been confirmed for the event, she is targeting an additional $6,000. The event will be held on April 30th at Garfield Park Conservatory. Every board member is asked to commit to bringing 20 guests to the event.

Jamie provided an overview of recent meetings she has held with board introductions, strongly stressing the importance and value of introducing these individuals to the school. She shared an update on approximately $300,000 of grant submissions.


Sarah shared with the board that Mick Domagala has submitted his resignation from the board. His family is moving out of the Chicago area and he will no longer be able to participate in the board. Michelle made a motion to accept Mick’s resignation. Uday seconded the motion. All present board members (8) approved.

Sarah shared an update of potential board candidates, expressing appreciation that the list of potential candidates had grown and was stronger than in the past. 3 potential new board members are in the pipeline, with all 3 having strong potential. Micaeh Johnson has made it through the board process and was recommended by Sarah as a new board member. She has a strong background in Media and Public Relations, with a strong connection to the Chicago community. Sarah made a motion to invite Micaeh to join the board; Kameron seconded the motion. All present board members (8) approved.

Academic Excellence – No report

New Business and Calendar Review

Uday asked that the board determine a date for a spring board retreat. Darren offered to host the meeting at Prairie Capital. Uday recommended Sunday, May 12th from 9am to 1pm. All board members agreed to this date.

Uday moved to close the meeting at 7:40pm; Michelle seconded the motion.




Thursday, May 2nd – Have your say – SPRINGFIELD

Tuesday, May 29th

Tuesday, June 25th (Conference Call)

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Board Minutes 3.12.13