Monday, April 24, 2017

Journal offers referendum guidance

May/June 2017
The May/June 2017 issue of The Illinois School Board Journal offers new trends and important guidance to school board members and staff in districts considering a referendum, as well as success stories of referendum campaigns. Three school districts in Illinois shared their stories, establishing that you get what you work for, not what you wish for. The Journal also welcomes new board members with advice on protecting their reputations as they serve their communities, and commentary on board members' roles as stewards of public education.

Readers will also find information on teacher salary schedules, settling in with a new board, and how a district managed a quarantine situation that made headlines and even garnered the attention of "Saturday Night Live."

Check your mailboxes, or click here or below to read the complete digital edition of the May/June Journal.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

‘After bell’ law encourages easy access
to school breakfast

Some districts face
additional breakfast requirements.
Among the bills that came into effect with this calendar year, Public Act 99-0850 generally requires school districts to provide a “breakfast after the bell” program where there are large groups of qualified students. But the requirement applies only if 70 percent or more are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, are classified as low-income, or can be claimed for free or reduced-price meals. 

The new law requires those districts to implement such a program next school year. Districts are exempt, however, if 70 percent or more of free or reduced-price eligible students are already participating in existing breakfast programs or if, due to district-specific circumstances, the expense reimbursement would not cover the costs of implementation.

“We worked with sponsors of the bill to make sure that there were exemptions, some flexibility, and an opt-out. One-size-fits-all policies do not work in a state as diverse as Illinois," said Deanna Sullivan, IASB’s Director of Governmental Relations.

The purpose of the bill is to increase access to a breakfast at school to ensure students can start their school day with a healthy meal. Students have been offered breakfast in Illinois schools since 2009. But the new law specifically refers to breakfast provided to children after the instructional day has begun.

Each district may determine the service model that best suits its students. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) offers examples of “breakfast in the classroom, grab and go breakfast, and second-chance breakfast.”

Of course, a drawback to the mandate is paying for it. According to ISBE, “State reimbursement to offset a portion of the cost of the meal is available if a site serves a reimbursable meal to a student eligible for a free meal and the site is enrolled in the Illinois Free Breakfast and Lunch Programs. Both state and federal reimbursement is available if a site enrolls in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and/or School Breakfast Program (SBP).”

A Chicago newspaper recently reported that one of the larger suburban districts there will seek an exemption for its elementary schools, based on the reimbursement not covering the cost.

Also considered a drawback is the potential loss of instructional time.

Proponents include University of Illinois Extension Educator Jessica Gadomski, a registered dietitian for SNAP-Education. She says “While initially it may take some getting used to, teachers can use the time to take attendance, read classroom announcements or collect homework assignments. It is worth it to have a class with children who are fed, focused and ready to learn.”

For more information on the law and its implementation, visit the Nutrition and Wellness section of
the ISBE website.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-15


GENERAL ASSEMBLY SET TO RETURN TO CAPITOL 
 
The Illinois General Assembly is concluding a two-week break and will return to action next week. The House of Representatives will re-convene on Monday, April 24 and the Senate will resume on Tuesday, April 25. Most action will take place on the respective floors of the chambers as the deadline has passed for a bill to be considered by a committee. Committees will be meeting as needed, however, to consider amendments to bills. The deadline for floor consideration in the chamber of origin is Friday, April 28.

The state continues to struggle without an operating budget in place for most agencies and programs. Before the legislative respite, the majority in the House passed their budget plan to get through the rest of this fiscal year. Called by many names – the lifeline budget, the stop-gap budget, the partial budget – the plan is intended to fund higher education and some social service agencies through the end of June. It is unclear at this time if the Senate will entertain that budget contained in HB 109.

On the larger budget scale, there have been reports that key players have been trying to salvage the “grand bargain” budget plan in the Senate, though there has been no visible movement regarding these components. Thus far, the chilled relationships among Republican and Democrat, House and Senate, and legislature and governor have not seemed to show any defrosting.

There are dozens of significant pieces of legislation that will be considered next week for passage out of the first chamber. Alliance members are urged to talk with their legislators regarding those bills that would impact their school districts. A “Hot Bills” list can be found here.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-15.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Resolutions invited for Delegate Assembly

Resolutions will be voted upon
at the IASB Delegate Assembly.
Local school boards are invited to submit resolutions for consideration by the 2017 Delegate Assembly. Resolution forms and information were mailed to IASB member district superintendents and board presidents in early April.

IASB’s Delegate Assembly is held yearly at the Joint Annual Conference to help determine the direction of the Association by setting policy-driven goals.

Proposals can be submitted as new IASB resolutions, amendments to existing position statements, reaffirmations of existing position statements, or belief statements. The deadline to submit resolutions is June 21.

The IASB Resolutions Committee, consisting of one elected member from each of the 21 Association divisions, will meet on Aug. 4. After resolutions are submitted, IASB staff will review the proposals and consult with a representative of the district that crafted the measure to prepare background material for review by the Resolutions Committee. Districts proposing resolutions must have at least one board member present at the committee meeting to speak to their proposal.

The committee will review the submitted proposals and recommend either the approval or disapproval of the offered resolutions, and determine which ones will be presented to the entire Delegate Assembly. This year’s committee will be chaired by IASB Vice President JoAnne Osmond.

Resolution forms and additional information about the process is available by contacting Mary Ellen Buch at ext. 1132. A fillable 2017 resolution form can also be downloaded from the government relations page on the IASB website

Monday, April 17, 2017

Woods announces retirement,
other staffing changes planned

Cynthia Woods
Cynthia Woods, director of advocacy, has announced her retirement from the Association effective June 30. Woods has dedicated 23 years of service to the IASB as an advocate for public education in general, and school boards in particular.

As a former school board member, Woods has brought valuable experience and insight to her duties in developing IASB’s advocacy and grassroots efforts, acting as liaison to the Illinois State Board of Education, and working with other education organizations and coalitions.

“We thank Cynthia for her loyal dedication to the Association and wish her well in the future; her skill and knowledge will be missed,” said IASB Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm.
Susan Hilton

Woods’ duties will be assumed on July 1 by Susan Hilton, Director of Governmental Relations.

Hilton will also be working on specific state issues and enhancing the Association’s focus on federal legislative issues and relationships with the Illinois congressional delegation.

Also effective July 1, as part of the transition due to Cynthia Woods retirement, Shanell Bowden will become assistant director of governmental relations. Bowden, currently an IASB policy consultant, will serve as a day-to-day lobbyist in the
Shanell Bowden
Capitol and join in all other activities of the governmental relations department’s team.

“Cynthia will be truly missed, but by refocusing Susan’s duties and adding Shanell, IASB will continue to provide the high-quality legislative and advocacy efforts school board members have come to rely on,” Schwarm added.

In other staff news, Catherine Finger has accepted the position of consultant in the Executive Searches office. She will take a part-time position beginning on July 1. She is currently completing an 12-year superintendency at Grayslake SD.127 and has more than 32 years of experience in education, including service as a teacher, coach, dean, principal, and superintendent.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

School finance book updated

The Illinois Association of School Boards has published an updated edition of its top-selling book, Essentials of Illinois School Finance: A Guide to Techniques, Issues, and Resources, authored by James B. Fritts. It’s both an informational guide and a desktop reference for public school leaders.

This, the seventh edition, has been updated by Fritts with the most current information available, including state budget data for Fiscal Year 2017 and recent numbers from various agencies of state and federal governments. The book also reflects the budget pressures and uncertainty that confronted state officials, boards of education, and school leaders as the 2016-2017 school year got underway.

The first part of the book deals with the budgeting and management of revenue, including where schools get it, how they maximize it, protect it, manage it and plan for it. The second half of the book addresses expenditures and describes ways to assess a district’s overall financial health, including how schools budget for expenditures, reduce them, and make plans to deal with them.

Together, the two sections provide a solid base for financial management and long-range planning. The final chapter describes the essential role of school board policy in setting standards for fiscal and business affairs.

Essentials of Illinois School Finance is now available at the IASB Online Bookstore, or by calling 217/528-9688, extension 1108.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Packets help new members
get fast start on school boards

IASB has prepared a packet of helpful information for newly elected school board members. These materials are being mailed free of charge to all new board members who are identified by their local school district.

Mailings will be made after board secretaries update their rosters in the IASB member database. This will also enable new board members to create their own accounts and manage their own records in the database.

The New Board Member Packet contains the following information and documents:

  • Memo from IASB Executive Director  
  • A memo to the family of the new board member
  • Membership Guide booklet
  • Article – Protect Your Good Name
  • The Basics of Governance booklet
  • New Board Member Workshops brochure
  • Field Services division map
  • Open Meetings Act bookmark
  • Policy Services “First Call” flyer
  • 2017 Joint Annual Conference flyer
  • Stay in touch access to Association website, social media, and member database flyer
  • IASB publications brochure
  • The Effective School Board Member book
  • March-April issue of The Illinois School Board Journal


Local boards have 28 days after the consolidated election, or until Tuesday, May 2, to reorganize and seat new board members. That is also when the board will elect its officers and fix a time and place for regular board meetings.

Districts that have questions about the New Board Member Packet or IASB member database may call 217 528-9688, ext. 1131.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lawmakers propose new school mandates but still haven't approved a budget

Ben Schwarm
IASB Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm comments on the stalled state budget and the prospect of more unfunded mandates for schools, while urging board members and administrators to contact lawmakers about the issues.

As the Illinois General Assembly begins its two-week break, it is a good time to assess what our lawmakers have been up to the past three months. Unfortunately, it is much more of the same we have seen over the past several years.

First, let’s start with what the legislature has not done. Number one on that list would be approving a state budget! Illinois will soon be at two full years without an adopted, balanced budget. The result is a deficit in the tens of billions of dollars and growing by the day. Hopes of a grand bargain early this year eventually melted away and few see any chance of this discussion being seriously renewed. In fact, some see hopes of salvaging portions of the compromise, such as new reliable revenues and school funding reform, as being tossed by the wayside as well.

So what has been done? We can start with the introduction of over 6,000 bills – many of which would establish new programs and directives that would add to state spending which is already in deficit mode. Or, ideas that pass the cost onto local governments and school districts that are already suffering due to the budget situation and years of under-funding.

The above picture highlights the number of school policies
added last year due to laws approved in 2016. 
Though the School Management Alliance has been successful in stopping a few bills that contained new mandate proposals (must waive summer school costs, must post nutrition counts, must adopt trauma response protocol), about a dozen bills have been approved by committees that would add new requirements for school districts.

Some of the new requirements would be substantial, such as requiring seat belts in buses, with no revenue source provided. This would increase the cost and reduce the capacity of school buses, and likely require adding new personnel as bus monitors – all while the state has not paid transportation reimbursements to districts! Other proposals call for adding new instruction and courses in elementary and middle schools for civics, “work ethics,” and cursive writing, which would require additional staff, space, and time.

Many other proposed mandates are on a smaller scale. These include adding to the hours of suicide awareness training needed during teacher in-service days, requiring 20 minutes of recess per day in elementary schools, and adding new financial reporting requirements to be posted on the internet. However small, they all increase the load on local public schools and usurp local control. Each one of these new requirements alone may not look like it would be a problem, but added together (like the 50 new mandates placed on public schools in the last five years) with no new funding, no days added to the school year, and no minutes added to the school day – they certainly become a huge problem.

Now is a good time for school board members and administrators to tell their legislators that the real work of the state needs to be done. Adopt a true budget. Forget about new mandates on school districts and programs for state and local governments until the fiscal health of Illinois is addressed.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Downstate school districts file lawsuit to require adequate funding

On Wednesday, April 6, 17 downstate school districts filed a lawsuit against the governor and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) claiming the state has not done its part to adequately fund education. At a press conference announcing the filing, the districts and their administrators further stated that Illinois is not meeting its required constitutional duty to provide a “high-quality education.”
David Lett

In an accompanying news release, David Lett, superintendent of Pana CUSD 8, said, “The 17 districts that have joined this case so far did so because we are all at a breaking point. We as school administrators and superintendents have been forced to increase class sizes, lay off qualified teachers, and eviscerate social services for students, all because the state is not living up to its constitutional obligation to adequately fund the Learning Standards it mandates.”

According to the complaint, students and schools are held accountable to meet key benchmarks as outlined by the Illinois Learning Standards. However, the state has never provided enough additional money to meet the increased mandates to achieve the higher standards.

The Illinois Constitution, Article X, Section 1, requires that the state “provide for an efficient system of high quality education.” Those filing the lawsuit argue that because their districts have less property wealth, the state of Illinois should create an evidence-based system to determine the additional financial aid necessary to meet the requirements of the Learning Standards.

Further, the plaintiffs state that as the standards have become more rigorous over time, the state has failed to provide an adequate level of assistance to pay for the resources necessary to achieve the higher academic requirements.

According to the press release, “ISBE has adopted and held all school districts accountable to meet the Learning Standards, disregarding the districts that lack sufficient local finances to cover the costs of special programs, curriculum, and professional development that the Learning Standards inherently require.”

To read the lawsuit in its entirety, click here.

View the video below, courtesy of the Belleville News-Democrat, to hear reaction from Grant CCSD 110 (Fairview Heights) Superintendent Matthew Stines. Grant 110 is party to the lawsuit filed against the state and ISBE.


The 17 districts that have joined the lawsuit are:

  • Bethalto CUSD 8
  • Bond County CUSD 2 (Greenville)
  • Bunker Hill CUSD 8
  • Cahokia CUSD 187
  • Carlinville CUSD 1
  • Gillespie CUSD 7
  • Grant CCSD 110 (Fairview Heights)
  • Illinois Valley Central CUSD 321 (Chillicothe)
  • Mt. Olive CUSD 5 
  • Mulberry Grove CUSD 1 
  • Nokomis CUSD 22 
  • Pana CUSD 8 
  • Southwestern CUSD 9 (Brighton)
  • Staunton CUSD 6 
  • Taylorville CUSD 3 
  • Vandalia CUSD 203 
  • Wood River-Hartford ESD 15

Friday, April 7, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-14

HOUSE MOVES FORWARD
WITH “LIFELINE” BUDGET
BEFORE SPRING BREAK
The Illinois House of Representatives passed what is being described as a “lifeline” budget on Thursday. House Bill 109 (Harris, D-Chicago) was passed mainly along party lines with 64 in favor of the measure. HB 109 would provide $800 million in funding to social service providers and higher education. While these two areas have been some of the hardest hit without a state budget, opponents believed that this measure would only delay a vote on an actual budget. The supporters of the bill, stated they were giving a “lifeline” to institutions of higher education that have faced unprecedented cuts and instability, as well as social service agencies that may have shuttered their doors without receiving funding from the state of Illinois. While Governor Bruce Rauner has previously agreed with the stop gap budget approach, he has been on record as opposing any future stop gap measures. The bill was passed after the Senate had already adjourned for the two week legislative spring break. It is unlikely that HB 109 would see the governor’s desk until early May. The 64 affirmative votes in the House would not be enough to override a predicted Rauner veto.

The House of Representatives expedited passage of a bill containing its version of property tax relief. HB 156 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg) was amended on Tuesday, passed out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee and passed out of the House of Representatives, Thursday to be considered by the Senate upon its return after the spring legislative break. The bill would:
  • Expand the Homestead Exemption for Veterans with disabilities to any veteran who is 75 or older, changes the levels of exemption per percent of disability and adds extending the exemption to surviving spouse in the case of death of the disabled veteran.
  • Increase the Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption from $5,000 to $6,000
  • Create a new Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption for those receiving Supplemental Security Income beginning in taxable year 2017 for property improved with a permanent structure and disallows a person receiving this exemption from receiving the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze or the new Long-time Occupant Homestead Exemption.
  • Increase the General Homestead Exemption from $6,000 (all other counties) and $7,000 (Cook) to $8,000 for all counties
  • Create a new Statewide Long-time Occupant Homestead Exemption providing an additional exemption based on the length of time a homeowner has resided at a residence. The exemption would be $2,000 for 8 years of residency up to $4,800 for 21 years or longer.
  • Increase s the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral limit from $5,000 to $6,000

The legislative spring break is a great time for school board members and administrators to reach out to local legislators to advocate on behalf of local schools. During the next two weeks, legislators will be in district seeking input from constituents on a variety of issues. Make sure your voice is heard on the pressing issues for your school district during this important advocacy time. Provide your legislators with data demonstrating the impact of property tax relief measures, newly proposed mandates, and other important pending legislation.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-14.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Voters pass 11 tax hikes, 11 bond issues, two sales tax plans

Unofficial school referendum results from the April 4 election show voters approved 11 of 15 tax increase questions, 11 of 20 bond propositions, and two of eight county sales tax plans. The passage rate was 73 percent for district tax increases this time around, more than twice the historical average of 36 percent recorded since 1989.

Local school districts were successful with four tax increase proposals for educational purposes. Tax hikes per se were approved in Deer Creek Mackinaw CUSD 701 (a 30 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund); Edwardsville CUSD 7 (a 55 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund); Pinckneyville CCSD 204 (a 25 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund); and Princeton Elementary SD 115 (a 70 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund). Seven tax increases were also approved through Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) ceiling increases.

Voters apparently failed to pass tax referenda in Aviston Elementary SD 21, a proposal that fell two votes short on election day, although it could still be adopted if pending absentee vote counts favor it; and another tax hike failed by just 49 votes Metamora CCSD 1.

As mentioned, other local tax increase propositions were on the ballot to increase the funds raised under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL). Such proposals were approved by voters in:

  • Antioch CCSD 34 (a PTELL debt service extension base increase to be used for paying off limited bonds by establishing the base at $1.4 million)
  • Benjamin SD 25 (a PTELL debt service extension base increase from $582,671 to $997,500; it represents a rate increase of the lesser of 5 percent or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index during the prior levy year)
  • Berwyn South SD 100 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of 0.6 percent above the limiting rate for levy year 2015)
  • Dakota CUSD 301 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of 0.70% above the limiting rate for levy year 2015 and equal to 5.58 percent of the EAV of the taxable property for levy year 2017; the amount of taxes extendable would increase to $5.15 million from the total of $4.5 million extended in 2015)
  • Evanston/Skokie CCSD 65 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of 0.595% above the limiting rate for school purposes for levy year 2015; this would raise the limiting rate to 4.166 percent of the EAV of the   taxable property in the district for levy year 2016)
  • Oak Park SD 97 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of 1 percent to bring the total to 4.982 percent for the 2016 levy year; the approximate amount of additional tax extendable against property containing a single family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $266.85)
  • Taylorville CUSD 3 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of .85 percent above the limiting rate for school purposes for levy year 2016; for the 2017 levy year the approximate amount of the additional tax extendable against property containing a single family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $283)

PTELL tax hike proposals were defeated in just two districts: Norridge SD 80; and Sandwich CUSD 430.

Although tax increases fared the best by far, the 55 percent passage rate for building bond issues this time around was just above the mean average approval rate seen for bond issues in April elections in odd-numbered years since November 1989, which stood at 50 percent. But the 55 percent rate this time was slightly below the 58 percent approval rate seen for all building bond elections overall.

Building bond issues were approved in 11 school districts:

  • Brookfield LaGrange Park SD 95 (a $20 million bond issue to help defray the cost of improvements to an elementary and a middle school)
  • Center Cass SD 66 (a $12.9 million proposed construction bonding plan to upgrade two junior high schools, and a grade school)
  • Cerro Gordo CUSD 100 (an $8 million proposition for construction of an addition to the junior high school, and to make repairs to the existing building)
  • Diamond Lake SD 76 (an $11.4 million bond issue to improve the district’s school buildings)
  • Franklin CUSD 1 (a $2.5 million bond issue to create an addition to the Franklin Junior/Senior High School, and repair other existing buildings of the district)
  • Glen Ellyn SD 41 (a $24.2 million bond issue to make improvements at five school buildings, and construct an addition to a junior high school)
  • Hononegah CHSD 207 (a $17.8 million bond proposal to build and equip a new fieldhouse addition to the high school that’s designed to replace a dome that collapsed during a winter storm in 2015)
  • Mount Vernon SD 80 (a $5.5 million bond issue for various building repairs and upgrades, and to construct and equip a middle school gym)
  • Northbrook/Glenview SD 30 (a $36.3 million bond issue to replace a grade school, and to make improvements to two other schools)
  • Oak Park SD 97 (a $57.5 million bond issue for repair of various school buildings)
  • West Chicago CHSD 94 (a $37.5 million bond issue to make repairs to the high school building, and build and equip an addition there)

Bond issues were defeated in nine school districts:

  • Bureau Valley CUSD 340 (a $17 million bond issue to construct a new building in Sheffield, and to make improvements and additions to two high schools)
  • Erie CUSD 1 (a $13.8 million construction bond project to transform a high school into an elementary school, and make a middle school into a combined high school and middle school)
  • Galena USD 120 (a $21.8 million bond proposition to repair one school and construct another)
  • Hawthorn CCSD 73 (a $42 million bond issue for additions and repairs to district schools, including construction of new STEM facilities)
  • Hinsdale THSD 86 (a $76 million bond proposition to repair and replace large portions of two high schools)
  • Metamora THSD 122 (an $11 million bond issue for constructing an addition to the high school, along with making safety improvements, adding a new library and computer labs, and making improvements to the fine arts and vocational-tech instructional spaces)
  • Newark CHSD 1 (a $16 million bond proposition for improvement to the high school building, including construction of a new gym and fine arts center)
  • Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200 (a $132.5 million bond issue to construct a new building to replace an early learning center, and to make repairs and additions to school buildings throughout the district)
  • Winnebago CUSD 323 (a $12 million bond issue to construct and equip a building for transportation and administrative purposes, and make repairs to other buildings)

Of eight countywide sales tax increase proposals earmarked for school facility purposes, voters approved just two, in Cumberland, and Montgomery Counties. Some of those proposals were decided by relatively narrow margins, with a 259-vote defeat (21,846-22,105) in Madison County and a 193-vote victory margin (1,924-1,804) in Montgomery County.  To date 49 counties have adopted a sales tax to benefit school facilities, or nearly half of the state’s 102 counties.

In other voting, a proposed school consolidation failed to combine Alwood CUSD 225 and Cambridge CUSD 227. But another kind of school district reorganization passed in Bismarck-Henning CUSD 1, where the board was seeking voter authorization to enter into an agreement to jointly operate a cooperative high school with Rossville-Alvin CUSD 7.

Meanwhile, voters approved at least two of five propositions to require at-large election of school board members.  Such proposals were adopted in Community High School District 117 (Lake Villa), and Northwestern CUSD 2 (Palmyra).


Monday, April 3, 2017

School board elections, financial referenda on tap April 4

As voters prepare to choose their next school board members, some districts will also be watching the fate of eight county sales tax propositions in tomorrow’s general elections.

The following counties are voting on County Sales Facility Tax referendums:

Voters have passed six or more county sales tax proposals in
five of the past eight elections, often with high success rates.

  • Cumberland, 
  • Effingham, 
  • Hancock, 
  • Madison, 
  • Marion, 
  • Montgomery, 
  • Moultrie, and 
  • St. Clair 

Forty-seven of the state’s 102 counties currently levy a sales tax to benefit local school facilities since a 2007 state law was adopted to allow the referenda options. CSFTs are gaining momentum, with voters enacting 35 of the measures within the past four years.

In fact, voters have approved six or more county sales tax proposals in five of the past eight elections, with success rates of 50 percent or greater seen in three of the four most recent elections.

On Tuesday, another 35 local school district finance questions will be decided, including 20 bond issues and 15 local tax increase questions. Proposed bond issue amounts range from $2.5 million to $132.5 million; meanwhile, suggested tax increases range from 25 to 70 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation.

School board elections will be held in nearly all of the state’s 850 school districts. The four-year terms are decided in staggered elections every two years. The net turnover rate of school board members has ranged between 21 and 24 percent over the past 20 years.

IASB will report on the outcome of the April 4 local school referendums and county CSFT’s as soon as results are available.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Treasurer partners with IASB
to return unclaimed school cash

Some school districts have over $5,000 in unclaimed cash.
Some Illinois school districts have hundreds or even thousands of dollars waiting for them at the state treasurer’s office, which now is partnering with IASB to notify school districts and return unclaimed funds.

Unclaimed money belonging to districts might be a vendor payment filled out to the wrong name, such as to the school board of a named town, or it could be a refund from a rental deposit, or a lost bank account, or one of many other types of cash that has simply been misdirected or forgotten. It is the job of State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs to hold on to all these unclaimed funds and try to reunite them with their owners.

“We safeguard about $2 billion,” Frerichs said. “That includes more than 14 million properties. And it’s my job to get that money into the hands of Illinois residents.”

The treasurer’s office becomes the custodian of unclaimed property after private entities such as banks try for at least five years to locate the owner. Much of the money has been left behind or forgotten in a bank account. Some school districts could even have rightful ownership of cash in other states if they’ve done business there and somehow lost connections.

“Recently, we’ve notified several school districts that had more than $5,000 in unclaimed funds,” Frerichs said. “And we are encouraging all schools to check the I-CASH website to see if there are funds in the name of your district or individual schools.

“Please let your board and staff know that they too might have funds to claim. One in four Illinoisans discover property to claim through the Treasurer’s I-Cash program; with an average payout of $2900, they could be in for a big surprise,” he said.

For additional information on promoting I-CASH through your schools to staff and parents, or if you have questions about claiming property for your school, contact Dave Clarkin, Deputy Chief-of-Staff, dclarkin@IllinoisTreasurer.gov.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-13

VISION 20/20 INITIATIVES ON THE MOVE
Three important pieces of the Vision 20/20 legislative agenda moved one step closer to passage this week as they were approved by House committees. House Bill 734 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) would allow for three current educators to serve on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The bill was approved by the House Education: Licensing, Oversight, and Administration Committee on Wednesday.

Also moving out of that committee was House Bill 3820 (Crespo) which would further overhaul teacher licensure in the state by deepening the pool of qualified teachers available for local school districts. HB 3820 is a follow up to Senate Bill 2912 from last year, which also was signed into law.

Most significant, however, was the movement of House Bill 2808 (Davis, D-Hazel Crest), the evidence-based funding model. The bill was approved nearly unanimously by the House Appropriations: Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on Thursday. HB 2808 has 27 different factors that establish a funding formula that is based on evidence, data, and best educational practices.

The evidence-based model was discussed prominently in the governor’s Illinois School Funding Reform Commission and provisions were included in the panel’s final report as it embraced setting a unique funding adequacy target for each school district. Also, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) included a modified evidence-based model in his amendment to SB 1 on school funding reform. The amendment was assigned to the Senate Education Committee but it was not considered this week.

Future discussions, and perhaps some scrutiny, are likely awaiting these funding bills. Last month, the House Democrat Caucus sent a letter to the chairman of the governor’s funding commission, Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis, stating, “Commission members did not explicitly endorse the Evidence-Based Model or these 27 elements. At this time, there remains a lack of general understanding regarding the elements and how removing, adding, or changing elements would impact school districts.” The letter was signed by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, and Representatives Will Davis, Rita Mayfield, and Emily McAsey.

The Alliance remains committed to working with the legislature on future discussions and negotiations regarding this important funding proposal and for the passage of an improved school funding formula for the state.

For more on these bills and all Vision 20/20 initiatives please visit the Vision 20/20 website.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-13.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

FAQ available to assist districts with water testing

The FAQ document is now online.
By the beginning of 2018, thousands of Illinois elementary schools will need to have completed lead testing on water that is consumed by students, whether through drinking fountains or used in food preparation.

While most districts are aware of the new lead testing law, there are some very specific guidelines schools must follow for the testing to meet the required legal standards. To assist with this process, IASB has created an easy-to-use frequently asked questions document.

The nine-point FAQ will help districts determine whether they need to test their water, when and how samples should be taken, where the samples should be analyzed, and the necessary steps that must be followed when notifying the public. 

Further questions about specific testing procedures should be directed to local water suppliers. IASB will provide additional updates regarding testing school water as new information becomes available.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-12

FUNDING REFORM LANGUAGE FILED
ON SENATE BILL 1
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.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APPROACHES DEADLINE
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 pgoone@iasb.com.

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.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-11

FUNDING REFORM DISCUSSION PICKS UP AGAIN
The Evidence Based Funding Model, a Vision 20/20 initiative, was once again discussed under the Capitol dome as the House Education Task Force met this week. Similar to previous task forces, the House Education Task Force is a bipartisan group of legislators that are looking to come up with a solution to the current funding crisis in Illinois. House Bill 2808, which contains the language for the Evidenced Based Funding Model, is co-sponsored by House Education Elementary and Secondary-Appropriations Chairman William Davis (D-Hazel Crest) and Republican Spokesperson Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore). The legislation has picked up multiple additional sponsors in recent weeks and is the main focus for many working on a funding overhaul. In a meeting of the House Education Elementary and Secondary-Appropriations committee, Illinois State Superintendent Tony Smith said that while the Illinois State Board of Education has not done an analysis of the Evidence Based Funding Model, he believes tying funding to research based metrics to be a positive.

OLD IDEAS ARE NEW AGAIN
Another major topic of discussion this week, and over the past number of years, was pension reform. The discussion was spurred by the introduction of Senate Bills 2172 and 2173 (Connelly, R-Naperville) which are a combination of ideas that have been seen previously. The reform bills would include a consideration plan similar to SB 16, which was the pension reform plan in the Senate’s “grand bargain.” To entice more votes on an idea, which has already failed twice in the Senate this year, Senators Connelly and Tracy also included $215 million dollars for Chicago Public School pension that was previously vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. However, the governor said he would sign this combination plan if it made it to his desk.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-11, including summaries of a number of bills under consideration by the Senate and House. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More than 40 school finance questions on April ballots

A preliminary look at school district referendum plans shows at least 35 local school district finance questions will appear on the April 4 general election ballot, including no fewer than 20 bond issues, and 15 local tax increases.

At least eight county sales tax propositions are also proposed for the benefit of their local school districts, along with a proposed school district consolidation, a cooperative high school, and several miscellaneous or advisory referenda.

School districts placing building bond issues before voters, in amounts ranging from $2.5 million to $132.5 million, include:

  • Brookfield LaGrange Park SD 95 (a $20 million bond issue to help defray the cost of improvements to an elementary and a middle school)
  • Bureau Valley CUSD 340 (a $17 million bond issue to construct a new building in Sheffield, and to make improvements and additions to two high schools)
  • Center Cass SD 66 (a $12.9 million proposed construction bonding plan to upgrade two junior high schools, and a grade school)
  • Cerro Gordo CUSD 100 (an $8 million proposition for construction of an addition to the junior high school, and to make repairs to the existing building)
  • Diamond Lake SD 76 (an $11.4 million bond issue to improve the district’s school buildings)
  • Erie CUSD 1 (a $13.8 million construction bond project to transform a high school into an elementary school, and make a middle school into a combined high school and middle school)
  • Franklin CUSD 1 (a $2.5 million bond issue to create an addition to the Franklin Junior/Senior High School, and repair other existing buildings of the district)
  • Galena USD 120 (a $21.8 million bond proposition to repair one school and construct another)
  • Glen Ellyn SD 41 (a $24.2 million bond issue to make improvements at five school buildings, and construct an addition to a junior high school)
  • Hawthorn CCSD 73 (a $42 million bond issue for additions and repairs to district schools, including construction of new STEM facilities)
  • Hinsdale THSD 86 (a $76 million bond proposition to repair and replace large portions of two high schools)
  • Hononegah CHSD 207 (a $17.8 million bond proposal to build and equip a new fieldhouse addition to the high school that’s designed to replace a dome that collapsed during a winter storm in 2015)
  • Metamora THSD 122 (an $11 million bond issue for constructing an addition to the high school, along with making safety improvements, adding a new library and computer labs, and making improvements to the fine arts and vocational-tech instructional spaces)
  • Mount Vernon SD 80 (a $5.5 million bond issue for various building repairs and upgrades, and to construct and equip a middle school gym)
  • Newark CHSD 1 (a $16 million bond proposition for improvement to the high school building, including construction of a new gym and fine arts center)
  • Northbrook/Glenview SD 30 (a $36.3 million bond issue to replace a grade school, and to make improvements to two other schools)
  • Oak Park SD 97 (a $57.5 million bond issue for repair of various school buildings)
  • West Chicago CHSD 94 (a $37.5 million bond issue to make repairs to the high school building, and build and equip an addition there)
  • Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200 (a $132.5 million bond issue to construct a new building to replace an early learning center, and to make repairs and additions to school buildings throughout the district)
  • Winnebago CUSD 323 (a $12 million bond issue to construct and equip a building for transportation and administrative purposes, and make repairs to other buildings)

The largest of the bond issues is proposed at Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200, where an additional $132.5 million in bond revenue would be obtained if voters approve a building upgrade. The smallest is the $2.5 million bonding requested in Franklin CUSD 1 to construct an addition to one building, and to make repairs.

Local district tax issues on the April ballot include propositions in:

  • Aviston Elementary SD 21 (seeking an increase of 35 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund)
  • Deer Creek Mackinaw CUSD 701 (seeking a 30 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund)
  • Edwardsville CUSD 7 (seeking a 55 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund)
  • Metamora CCSD 1 (seeking a 31 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund)
  • Pinckneyville CCSD 204 (seeking a 25 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund)
  • Princeton Elementary SD 115 (seeking a 70 cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund)

Other local tax increase propositions aim to increase the funds raised under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL). Among these are proposals in:

  • Antioch CCSD 34 (a PTELL debt service extension base increase to be used for paying off limited bonds by establishing the base at $1.4 million)
  • Benjamin SD 25 (a PTELL debt service extension base increase from $582,671 to $997,500; this represents a rate increase of the lesser of 5 percent or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index during the prior levy year)
  • Berwyn South SD 100 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of 0.6 percent above the limiting rate for levy year 2015)
  • Dakota CUSD 301 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of 0.70% above the limiting rate for levy year 2015 and equal to 5.58 percent of the EAV of the taxable property for levy year 2017; the amount of taxes extendable would increase to $5.15 million from the total of $4.5 million extended in 2015)
  • Evanston/Skokie CCSD 65 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of 0.595% above the limiting rate for school purposes for levy year 2015; this would raise the limiting rate to 4.166 percent of the EAV of the   taxable property in the district for levy year 2016)
  • Norridge SD 80 (a PTELL limiting rate increase from the lesser of 5 percent or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index over the prior levy year to 14.8 percent for the 2016 levy year? For the 2016 levy year the approximate amount of the additional tax extendable against property containing a single family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $92.65)
  • Oak Park SD 97 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of 1 percent to bring the total to 4.982 percent for the 2016 levy year; the approximate amount of additional tax extendable against property containing a single family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $266.85)
  • Sandwich CUSD 430 (a PTELL debt service extension base increase from $87,411 to $787,411 for the 2017 levy year, with such debt service extension base to be increased each year by the lesser of 5 percent or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index during the 12-month calendar year preceding the levy year)
  • Taylorville CUSD 3 (a PTELL limiting rate increase of .85 percent above the limiting rate for school purposes for levy year 2016; for the 2017 levy year the approximate amount of the additional tax extendable against property containing a single family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $283)

County tax propositions, all designed to raise sales taxes by 1 percent to benefit schools, are on the ballot in Cumberland, Effingham, Hancock, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Moultrie, and St. Clair Counties.

The lone school district consolidation proposal on the ballot calls for creating a new community unit school district in the territory comprising Alwood CUSD 225 and Cambridge CUSD 227, in Henry, Knox, and Mercer Counties.

Another kind of school district reorganization is proposed in Bismarck-Henning CUSD 1, where the board is seeking voter authorization to enter into an agreement to jointly operate a cooperative high school with Rossville-Alvin CUSD 7.

Other miscellaneous proposals include five school districts seeking to allow at-large election of school board members, in Bradford CUSD 1, Bushnell-Prairie City SD 170, Community HSD 117 (Lake Villa), Northwestern CUSD 2, and Waverly CUSD 6; and a proposal to require voter approval prior to any future board action increasing a property tax levy, which is proposed in Elgin SD U-46.

IASB will report the April 4 school referenda as soon as results are available.


Friday, March 17, 2017

IASB’s Division Dinner Meetings continue

IASB’s spring Division Dinner Meetings continue throughout the month of March. Each meeting this round includes a briefing for school board candidates in advance of the April 4 general election. Division Dinner Meetings also include breakout sessions with topics such as collective bargaining, online learning, school funding, school safety, student discipline, student performance and assessments, and school referenda campaigns.

Each division dinner meeting also offers networking opportunities and updates from Association staff and division directors and chairpersons. Attendance at division dinner meetings earns participants five points in IASB’s Master Board Member Program.

The remaining meetings involve the Central Illinois Valley, Kishwaukee, Western, Southwestern, and Kaskaskia divisions.

For more information, click here for the IASB upcoming events link.

Several sponsors help make these meetings possible. IASB thanks the following for their support:

Legacy
Kings Financial Consulting Inc.
NaviGate/Lauren Innovations
WCSIT*ISDA (Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance Trust and Illinois School District Agency)

Millennium
NextEra Energy Services
         
Century
First Midstate Inc.

Division Meetings Sponsors
GCA Education Services, Inc.
Larson & Darby Group
Legat Architects
OpTerra Energy Services
Performance Services
Stifel
Wight & Company


Thursday, March 16, 2017

IASB directors honor Ben Andersen

Ben Andersen
Longtime Northwest Division Director Ben Andersen was honored by the IASB board of directors at its quarterly meeting held March 10-11, in Lisle.

Andersen, who has served on the East Dubuque Unit SD 119 board since 1986, is not running for re-election in April. He stepped down from the Association board in November and has been replaced by Chris Buikema, East Coloma-Nelson CESD 20 (Rock Falls).

Chris Buikema
Andersen was elected director in 2007, having previously served as division resolutions chair and as a district delegate for 28 years. He has served on the IASB board’s executive, nominating, and audit committees and co-chaired the annual conference in 2011.

Executive Director Roger Eddy reviewed the Association’s R-2 monitoring report. He noted that staff members had a lot of input developing the nine categories of evidence indicators showing what the Association does to support the premise, “Individual board members and
member boards of education will increase their knowledge and skills necessary to effectively govern their districts and provide quality public education, including the ability to”:

  • Understand the importance of placing priority focus on overall student success
  • Understand the role difference between school boards, superintendents, and administration
  • Develop, articulate, and implement a community-based vision for public education in their respective communities
  • Build consensus among their board members and with the community
  • Interpret and use data to monitor student and district progress
  • Communicate effectively
  • Interact with colleagues throughout the educational community
  • Advocate effectively for the welfare of their districts
  • Govern through written board policy

The board of directors also approved bylaws for seven of the Association’s 21 governing divisions, a recommendation for a new Service Associate membership, and its annual work calendar. The board also heard a report from the 2017 Joint Annual Conference co-chairs and received updates on Illinois High School Association activities, state legislation, Association finances, and staffing. It was also announced at the quarterly meeting that Chicago CPS 299 is no longer a member of IASB. The district was most recently represented on the IASB board by Jaime Guzman.

On Friday night, the board heard presentations by State Reps. William Davis, D-30, East Hazel Crest, and Robert Pritchard, R-70, Sycamore. A passionate discussion followed on the need for flexibility in student performance accountability measurements and state education funding commitments.
The next meeting of the IASB board will be held May 12-13 in Springfield.

VIDEO: Hear from Alliance executive directors at the 2017 Leadership Summit

The executive directors of the four associations that make up the School Management Alliance were interviewed by the Illinois Channel at the recent Leadership Summit. Roger Eddy of the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), Jason Leahy of the Illinois Principals Association (IPA), Michael Jacoby of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO), and Brent Clark of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) shared their perspectives on the important issues impacting Illinois public education.

The four videos below were recorded and produced by the Illinois Channel.


IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy



IPA Executive Director Jason Leahy




Illinois ASBO Executive Director Michael Jacoby 




IASA Executive Director Brent Clark
 


The four videos can also be viewed at the Illinois Channel website.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Updated school guidance regarding transgender students now available


IASB has posted an updated guidance document discussing the various legal issues surrounding transgender students. The National Association of School Boards (NSBA) prepared and distributed the guide, Transgender Students in Schools: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Public School Boards and Staff.

The updated information covers significant developments that have taken place over the past year regarding the rights of transgender students. Among the issues covered is the Trump administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter withdrawing the Obama administration’s previous transgender guidance. Also included is the status of various transgender lawsuits filed throughout the nation.

According to NSBA, the intention of the document is “to offer a guide for spotting issues, understanding existing legal frameworks, and, where appropriate, offer recommendations to help schools ensure that all students, regardless of gender identity, are safe and learning at schools.”

Additional information on the guidance document is available on the IASB website.

Monday, March 13, 2017

In Memoriam: Douglas P. Blair

Doug Blair
Douglas P. Blair, a longtime leader in Illinois education who worked for 34 years at the Illinois Association of School Boards, died Friday, March 10, 2017. He was 82.

Blair began his IASB career in 1976 as a field services director for local districts in the Central Illinois Valley, Corn Belt, Two Rivers, Abe Lincoln, Illini, and Shawnee divisions. He served in that department and was its senior director until 2008, when he moved into the Association’s executive searches department. He retired in April 2010 but continued as a part-time consultant. Over his career, Blair was involved with approximately 500 superintendent searches.

Prior to his time at IASB, Blair spent 20 years in education as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. He completed his undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral work at Illinois State University.

Known throughout Illinois as an advisor and mentor to aspiring education leaders, Blair received the Exemplary Service Award from the Illinois Association of School Administrators in 2004. He also participated in the “Education is Key” oral history project conducted by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Blair also reflected on his career and service to school boards in the IASB centennial book, “1913-2013 Lighting the Way for 100 Years.”

Planning is underway for a memorial service; information will be provided as it becomes available.



New school laws info available

IASB’s Governmental Relations Department has announced the distribution of New School Laws 2017. This publication is a digest of state laws affecting Illinois public schools, enacted in 2016, that have taken effect or will take effect in 2017.

Developed annually, the publication informs school leaders about new laws and changes in existing laws. The 2017 edition, available online, was mailed to district superintendents, business officials, and principals, along with each school board’s legislative liaison and president.

Included in the document are 82 new laws affecting school districts, including the new School Board Expense Policy, The Verbatim Recording Access law that took effect in June of 2016, Open Meetings Act alterations, personnel law, and several laws relating to school finance. The publication includes new or updated legislation relating to school safety and student health, including lead testing.

Student-related laws of note include protections of the freedom of speech of student journalists.
Also included in this publication is IASB Policy Reference Educational Subscription Service (PRESS) information regarding new legislation, where applicable. If a new law requires action by the school board, the corresponding PRESS policy number is included with the public act information in New School Laws 2017.

The complete document is also available online; click here to access.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

IASA offers
Aspiring Superintendent Academy

The Illinois Association of School Administrators is accepting registrations for its Aspiring Superintendent Academy, which will take place July 10-14 in Springfield. Individuals interested in becoming a school superintendent may wish to attend this event, which covers “what you didn’t learn in graduate school but may need to know in order to be an effective leader.” Topics include:

  • School district leadership
  • Communication strategies
  • School district operations
  • Community engagement
  • Action planning and next steps

The Academy is organized to provide for active learning, daily reflection time, and hands-on learning experiences. Click here for more information, including testimonials, instructors, and registration.