Monday, November 12, 2018

2018 school design winners announced

All entries in this year’s competition will be displayed
at the Conference in Columbus Hall, Hyatt East Tower
Three school projects have been named 2018 Award of Distinction winners in the annual Invitational Exhibition of Educational Environments, sponsored by IASB Service Associates. Awards go to projects displaying innovative solutions to challenges both in new school construction and facility renovations.

Wight & Company earned Awards of Distinction for work on New Trier High School and Sunset Ridge School. ARCON Associates Inc. was honored for their design of Stratford Middle School.

The awards will be presented at the First General Session of the Joint Annual Conference on Friday, November 16 in Chicago. Winning projects were selected by a jury pool of architects and superintendents in September. In addition to the Award of Distinction winners, the jury chose three projects for Awards of Merit and five Honorable Mention recipients.

All 27 entries in this year’s exhibit will be on display throughout the Conference in Columbus Hall, Hyatt East Tower. This year’s winning entries are listed by school, district, and firm:

Award of Distinction
New Trier High School
New Trier THSD 203
Wight & Company

Stratford Middle School
CCSD 93 (Bloomingdale)
ARCON Associates, Inc.

Sunset Ridge School
Sunset Ridge SD 29
Wight & Company

Award of Merit
Early Learning Center
CCSD 59 (Mount Prospect)
Legat Architects

Center for Innovation
Yorkville CUSD 115
DLR Group

Jacksonville Middle School
Jacksonville SD 117
BLDD Architects, Inc.

Honorable Mention

Bensenville Early Learning Center
Bensenville SD 2
STR Partners LLC

Geneseo High School
Geneseo CUSD 228
BLDD Architects, Inc.

John Schroder Early Childhood Center
Lombard SD 44
ARCON Associates, Inc.

River Trails Middle School STEAM Lab Renovation
River Trails SD 26
FGM Architects

Science Addition at Lockport High School
Lockport THSD 205
DLA Architects, Ltd.

Projects selected for awards were chosen through a “blind” evaluation process. The judges considered criteria that included suitability for stated program requirements, functional relationships, aesthetics, grade level or departmental organization, compatibility with external environments, uses of new technology, and security and building orientation, among others. To be eligible, the construction had to be completed in time for occupancy with the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

All of this year’s entries will be added to IASB’s School Design Database. The searchable online database contains data, illustrations, and commentary for more than 500 design entries in the annual Exhibit of Educational Environments over the past 25 years.

Friday, November 9, 2018

In Memoriam: Jerry Glaub

Jerry Glaub
Gerald R. Glaub, a nationally recognized leader in school board communications, who worked for 38 years at the Illinois Association of School Boards, died Thursday, November 9, 2018. He was 81. 

Glaub began his IASB career in 1969 as the communications department director, coming over from a communications position at the University of Illinois. He served as the head of the department throughout his long career, but also headed up the member services department for several years. Glaub served for a short time as interim executive director. He retired in May 2007 but continued as a part-time consultant. 

Prior to his years at IASB, Glaub  worked in corporate communications in Chicago, and spent several years affiliated with higher education institutions, including time at Purdue University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, working in university communications. He was a graduate of the University of Illinois.

Known throughout the state as a school public relations expert, Glaub received communications awards for his work as an editor of both The Illinois School Board Journal and Illinois School Board Newsbulletin. He also reflected on his career and service to school boards in the IASB centennial book, “1913-2013 Lighting the Way for 100 Years.”

A memorial gathering will be held from noon until the time of a funeral service at 1 p.m. on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at Vancil-Murphy Funeral Home; in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Inner City Mission of Central Illinois Foodbank.

Winnetka District 36 administrative professional wins Holly Jack award

Linda Wehrheim
Linda Wehrheim, the executive assistant to the superintendent and board secretary of Winnetka Public School District 36, has been chosen the winner of the tenth annual award for school district secretaries.

Wehrheim was chosen to receive the 2018 service award by a selection committee of previous Holly Jack winners, and Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials past presidents, and retired administrative professionals. She will be honored Friday, November 16, at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago as part of the Administrative Professionals Program.

Nominations were made by district superintendents and school board presidents. The judges considered the following criteria: performance, initiative, innovation, staff development, self-improvement, passion for public education, and dedication to the district and community. Letters of support were also accepted.

The award honors the memory of Holly Jack, a long-time employee of the Illinois Association of School Boards, who served as an IASB field services administrative assistant and was instrumental in promoting and developing professional development programs for board secretaries. The award not only honors Holly Jack’s contribution and memory, it also recognizes the dedication and extraordinary work contributions of secretaries administrative professionals who serve and assist their local boards of education.

Wehrheim has served as Executive executive Assistant assistant to thefor Winnetka SD 36 superintendent and board since 2009, winning praise for her enthusiasm, dedication, and competence: “In all of my years in education, Ms. Wehrheim stands out as one of the most hard-working, professional, and conscientious co-workers I have ever met,” said Assistant Superintendent Daniel P. Ryan.

“While her work is exemplary, it is Wehrheim’s generous spirit and deep commitment to what is best for children that makes her stand out even more,” Ryan added. “Our administrative team constantly engages in discourse around curriculum and other areas to best serve our students…. [and] Ms. Wehrheim is a full participant…her perspectives help the administrative team with our decision-making process,” Ryan wrote.

Trish Kocanda, superintendent of Winnetka 36, called Wehrheim “a life-long learner.” Kocanda added: “She is continually trying to improve her skill set and is an effective systems thinker. She is immersed in coursework in human relations at a local university…and generously shares her knowledge and resources to enhance district outcomes.”

Praising her dedication, Kocanda also praised Wehrheim’s passion for the district, evident in her strong advocacy: “The district’s mission and vision drive her remarkable work ethic,” Kocanda said. “She knows the power of each interaction with families, staff, and board members. She has helped families who were in the midst of tumultuous situations … [and] above all else, Linda knows that every decision that is made by the superintendent and board needs to be grounded in what is best for the students served in the district’s schools.”

Alliance Legislative Report 100-78


The Illinois Senate and House of Representatives will begin reviewing gubernatorial action on bills next week. The Veto Session is set for November 13th-15th and November 27th-29th and expected is a strong push to override the governor’s veto of two important bills. SB 2892 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) would provide a mandatory increase in teacher salaries across the state by setting a statewide minimum teacher salary of $40,000. SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) would mandate 150 minutes of physical education per week for all students kindergarten through 12th grade.

Administrators and school board members are urged to contact their legislators and advocate for them to vote “NO“ on overriding the governor’s vetoes. Below is information on both bills that may be helpful for conversations with lawmakers.

SB 2892 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) would take effect in the 2019-2020 school year by requiring beginning teacher salaries to be at least $32,000 per year, then increasing salaries incrementally over four school years until the $40,000 minimum is reached by the 2022-2023 school year. Each year thereafter, the minimum teacher salary would increase yearly by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

It is estimated that nearly 2/3 of the school districts in the state would be affected by such a new salary requirement. Any gains in funding due to the new Evidence-Based Funding Formula would be totally consumed by the new salary mandate in many school districts. Under such a law, the net result could actually be a detriment to classroom teachers as school districts could be forced to reduce the teaching force in order to pay the higher salaries.

Additional talking points:
  • Illinois has a collective bargaining law that empowers local school boards, together with their teachers and support staff, to set salaries in consideration of the revenues available to run their schools. School leaders and staff must take into consideration all aspects of its budget and make very difficult decisions to provide an effective education program that meets the needs of all students, while considering the will and ability of their local taxpayers to pay for these mandated increases. Often, bargaining sessions include items other than salary, such as health insurance costs and pension contributions.
  • Coupled with the recently enacted law requiring school boards to contribute the normal pension costs for any salary increase above 3 percent (PA 100-0587), enactment of this proposal could require local school districts to increase pay above 3 percent, then require the school districts to pay the normal pension cost because of the increase.
  • Over 80 percent of school expenditures are for personnel costs. Parents, community members, and taxpayers should know that a mandated increase in teacher salaries without specific state funding to pay for those increases will result in cuts to other areas of the school district budget and fewer needed services to students.
  • Of the 1,400 unfilled positions in Illinois schools last year, 90 percent were in school districts funded below the statutory adequacy level. These districts will be disproportionately affected by this mandate.
  • “One size fits all” mandates do not work well given the diversity of our state.
SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) would dismantle the physical education (PE) mandate flexibility that school districts were granted August 2017, under the Evidence-Based Funding reform measures enacted in SB 1947 (PA 100-0465). The new law only requires students to engage in physical education three out of five days per week, which allows schools and students/families flexibility while recognizing that PE is an important part of student learning. SB 2572 would remove the three days a week requirement and mandates a 150 minute per week minimum.
  • The time minimum requirement is not flexible for students or school district scheduling and does not account for weeks with fewer than five days of attendance. The impact this would have on local school districts and a student’s ability to prioritize additional required course work is unworkable.
  • School districts would be forced to prioritize physical education over other courses. Schools would also have to change schedules often to accommodate physical education when weekly schedules do not provide five days of student attendance.  
  • Schools have not even had the chance to utilize the flexibility provided in Public Act 100-0465 given that schools began the 2017-2018 school year before the bill became law. Sustaining the veto will allow schools to utilize this flexibility and study its effects before new mandates are enacted without data to support proposed changes.
  • Sustaining the Governor’s veto protects local decision-making and student/family directed class scheduling.
Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-78, including details of November 6 election results and upcoming governmental relations panels at the 2018 Joint Annual Conference.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Voters adopted most school
finance referenda on November 6

A preliminary look at the results of the November 6 elections shows good results for bond and tax proposals, with 11 of 16 bond issues on the ballot winning voter approval, and one of two tax increase plans getting a green light. A tax increase was adopted in Glen Ellyn SD 89, calling for a $133 increase in taxes per $100,000 of home value. It is the first tax hike in 32 years in District 89.  Voters meanwhile said no to a $1.3 million increase in taxes in Hawthorne SD 73.

Countywide sales tax increases to benefit school facilities were passed in three of the five counties that voted on such proposals, with voters saying yes in: Jasper, Menard, and Sangamon Counties. Voters rejected such additional taxes in Kendall and Tazewell Counties.

The bond issues that won approval range in size from a $195 million proposal in Maine Township High School District 207 (Park Ridge) to a $225,000 working cash proposition in Farrington CUSD 99.   Voters also approved the following bond proposals:

•    Calumet City SD 155, a $23 million finance proposal to pay claims against the district
•    Elmhurst CUSD 205, a $168.5 million bond proposition to build and equip two elementary schools, replacing existing ones, and add classrooms for full-day kindergarten
•    Gavin SD 37 (Ingleside), a $6 million bond proposition to repair and replace roofs on buildings, among other upgrade projects
•    Hawthorne SD 73, a $48.7 million proposal to renovate six district schools and build an 18-classroom kindergarten center
•    McHenry CHSD 156, a $44 million bond issue to construct school additions and make building repairs at two high school campuses
•    Mt. Pulaski CUSD 23, a $10 million bond proposition to improve the local high school and make repairs
•    Saratoga CCSD 60C, a $10.3 million plan to upgrade the Saratoga school building, including construction of auditorium and cafeteria space, with a STEM facility, kitchen, and learning resource center
•    Tolono SD 7, a proposition to pay $175,591 in principal and interest on existing bonds
•    Wheeling Township SD 21, a $69 million bond proposition for building improvements, and security upgrades

However bond issues were defeated in:

•    Fieldcrest CUSD 6, a $29 million bond issue to construct new school buildings in Minonk and Wenona, and to demolish Fieldcrest High School, as well as part of a middle school
•    Hinsdale THSD 86, a $166 million bond proposition to upgrade two high school campuses and renovate all learning spaces there
•    Minooka CCSD 201, a $50 million bond proposition to build and equip a school
•    Princeton Elementary School District 115, a $35 million bond proposal to construct a new, 109,900-square-foot building for grades 3 through 8. The plans also call for demolition of two schools and $500,000 in upgrades at another school
•    Smithton CCSD 130, a $5 million proposal to build and equip an addition to Smithton Elementary School

In other voting, at-large election of school board members was a winning idea everywhere it was proposed, namely in Chester East Lincoln SD 61, Polo CUSD 222, Oakland CUSD 5, and Villa Grove CUSD 302. The lone school district reorganization known to be on the ballot was approved. It calls for deactivating the high school in Paw Paw CUSD 271 and to send pupils from the school to Indian Creek CUSD 425.

Passing rates of school finance referenda since 1989 are available online.