Monday, March 27, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-12


One of the hang-ups with the Senate “grand bargain” was the fact that a school funding overhaul was discussed as part of the package, but no language was filed. Senate Bill 1, the placeholder for funding reform, was given that specific language on Thursday, March 23. Even though the prospects of the “grand bargain” may be slim, recent actions of the legislature have shown that the concepts contained in the “grand bargain” are still viable.
The language of SB 1, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), is similar to that of House Bill 2808 which is the Evidence Based-Funding Model, supported by the Alliance and a Vision 20/20 initiative. Although the two pieces of legislation are similar, there are some differences, including the amount of per pupil funding for technology and a class size adjustments for low-income students.

The Alliance is still reviewing the details of SB 1 and we will keep you updated to any and all school funding reform bills as they move through the process.


The House of Representatives has set a deadline to move House Bills out of committee for March 31. The deadline, while not an absolute, usually means two things, a great deal of work needs to be done in committees in the days before that deadline and a clearer picture of where things stand after that deadline. Failure to meet the self-imposed deadline often times means that a bill will not be heard in the current legislative year. We have provided a list of some of those bills that will be heard in committees this week in this report.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-12, including summaries of other education-related bills.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Online student safety symposium to be held in Joliet

School administrators, technology officers, safety and security directors, board members, and others interested in online student safety are invited to a free seminar to be held in Joliet on April 11.

The program will feature a number of Illinois speakers from school districts, law enforcement, and the legal community. Among the presenters will be Chris Budzynski, director of information technology for Huntley Community SD 158, speaking about how their district keeps students safe while online. Ron Wolflick, commander of the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, will join Christine Feller, cyber-crime specialist with the Illinois Office of Attorney General, for “Internet Crimes Against Children: Cyber Safety in Schools.”

An interactive question-and-answer session will be led by John Armstrong, director of technology at Joliet SD 86; Maria Kilgore, instructional technology coordinator with East Aurora SD 131; Nicki B. Bazer, partner with Franczek Radelet, who will be focusing on school legal issues; and Ron Wolflick.

After a complimentary lunch, attendees will participate in a roundtable discussion about protecting students from the various online threats that were discussed throughout the day.

The event begins at 9 a.m. at Joliet Junior College. To register for the Symposium, click here

Friday, March 24, 2017

Applications available for School Board Governance Recognition

IASB is now accepting applications for the two-year School Board Governance Recognition. The focus of the recognition effort is to acknowledge full board development and participation, rather than individual board member accomplishments.

To qualify, boards must demonstrate how they are meeting the Foundational Principles of Effective Governance in areas that include:

  • Adopting and communicating the districts’ mission, vision, and goals;
  • Connecting with the community on issues of importance to the district;
  • Implementing a superintendent evaluation process that culminates in an annual superintendent evaluation;
  • Conducting regular policy reviews and maintaining an up-to-date policy manual;
  • Having an agreed upon, written, and adopted code of conduct; 
  • Monitoring district ends and using data to show progress;
  • Creating and applying an orientation process for newly seated board members; and
  • Practicing effective governance behaviors by participating in board development programs and events.

Applications for School Board Governance Recognition are due Aug. 1 and available for download on the IASB website. Applicants must satisfy all of the criteria outlined within the application in order to qualify. 

Additional information about the recognition program and guidance about the application process can be found in the tutorial video above. Questions about the award program should be directed to Peggy Goone by phone at 217/528-9688, ext. 1103, or by emailing her at

Governance Recognition is a two-year award, so recipients from 2016 need not apply. A list of 2016-2017 and 2015-2016 recipients is posted here. Boards that earn Governance Recognition will be presented with plaques at IASB’s fall division meetings. Recipients will also have their photos displayed at the 2017 Joint Annual Conference in November.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Illinois represented at
2017 NSBA conference

Keynote speakers at the conference will
include U.S. astronaut and Navy Captain Scott Kelly.
Illinois school officials will be well represented at this year’s National School Boards Association annual conference, to be held March 25-27 at the Colorado Conference Center in Denver. This year’s event is asking attendees to “Reach, Elevate, Inspire,” and the theme will be conveyed throughout conference activities.

In addition to nearly 400 school board members, administrators, and other school leaders in attendance, a number of Illinois school officials will share their insights on school governance, technology advancements, and other education-related topics during panel sessions. Illinois participants include the following districts:

  • Freemont School District 79 has three panels: “UBER-ization of Education: Strategic Leadership for Personalized Learning.” Presenters: Jill Gildea, superintendent; and Elizabeth Freeman, innovative learning director; “Creating Future-Focused, Student Centered Learning Spaces.” Presenters: Gildea, Freeman, and Jason Bonds, board president; and “Mindfulness 101: For the Overbooked and Over-Scheduled Board Member.” Presenters: Gildea, Freeman, and Bonds.
  • Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 also has three panels: “Partnering with Purpose: A Pathway to Trust.” Presenters: Paul Enderle, superintendent; Larry Fetchko, community liaison officer, Brian Nichols, board member; “Performance Contracting RFPs: An Alternative Approach” Presenters: Mike Loftin, assistant superintendent/chief school business official, Paul Andersen, director of buildings and grounds, Jay Lurquin, board member; “Supporting and Retaining New Teachers.” Presenters: Enderle and Kathy Gavin, assistant superintendent for curriculum, assessment, and family engagement.
  • Skokie/Morton Grove District 69, “Education Technology Luncheon: 22nd Century Practices for 21st Century Schools.” Presenter: Steve Dembo, vice president, school board.
  • Woodridge School District 68, “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports-Improving Teaching and Learning through Creativity and Celebration.” Presenter: Justin Warnke, associate principal.

IASB staff will be featured panel presenters, as well, covering the topic of effective governance, and on the school board role in transforming the organizational climate.

Executive Director Roger Eddy will be leading the association presence at the NSBA conference, along with Carla Bolt, director of meetings management; Maryam Brotine, assistant general counsel; Laura Martinez, field services director; Chris Montrey, administrative assistant; Patrick Rice, field services director; Ben Schwarm, deputy executive director; Kimberly Small, general counsel; Cathy Talbert, associate executive director; and Barb Toney, field services director.

Rice will offer insights on Saturday afternoon at a panel on “The School Board Role in Transforming the Organizational Climate: A Look at PLCs.” Toney will present “New Board Member Bootcamp: Understanding Effective Governance.”

Participants from Illinois also will include IASB Vice President Joanne Osmond, who will serve on the NSBA policy and resolutions committee; and Treasurer Thomas Neeley, who will serve on the NSBA nominating committee.

Keynote speakers at the 2017 conference will include U.S. astronaut and Navy Captain Scott Kelly Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, and author Wes Moore.

Illinois districts are invited to the Illinois Reception on March 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Centennial D Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Denver Hotel.

More information about the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference is available on the conference website. Those looking to follow along with live updates should check #NSBAConf on Twitter, or download the conference app.

Click here to view the registration form.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Orientation advice for boards with new members

IASB has updated a popular election document intended to meet the needs of school boards welcoming newly elected or appointed board members to a new board team.

In order to become a high-performing team, each board should address the orientation needs of its newest members. In odd-numbered years, many school boards gain at least one new member, and some even acquire a new majority of four or more new members in the school board election process. New board members may also join the board to fill mid-term vacancies. That’s why IASB developed a self-guided workshop, Orientation: Building the Board Team.

This publication outlines the "nuts and bolts" work of school boards in a process designed to facilitate conversations about a school district's identity, purpose and the board processes available to fulfill that purpose. The 2017 edition of Orientation: Building the Board Team includes sample agendas, methods of sharing the district’s identity, and governance process basics. It also includes an updated section on mandated and other board training/education opportunities.

The orientation process is designed to be conducted in three, 90-minute sessions. They can be part of regularly scheduled board meetings or conducted as special meetings. While the orientation is designed to be self-directed, outside facilitators may also be used.

The document is available to download from the IASB website.