Monday, September 25, 2017

Balancing, unlearning, and reflecting highlight IASB Fall Division lineup

Programming has been announced for the Fall Division Dinner Meetings, to be held in coming weeks in each of IASB’s 21 divisions.

One presentation reflects a change from the original schedule. On October 5, the Wabash Valley Division will feature a presentation on “Managing and Developing Teacher Capital,” with Kyle Thompson from Regional Office of Education 11, Charleston, and Mark Doan, the superintendent for Effingham CUSD 40. State Secretary of Education Beth Purvis, originally scheduled to speak, stepped down from her position as of September 15.

The 2017 schedule opens with the September 26 Illini Division event, which includes “Reflections from Retired Superintendents: How to Improve Board/Superintendent Relations.” That panel will feature former superintendents Jim Helton, Rick Johnston, Judy Wiegand, and Preston Williams.

Author, educator, and speaker Jim Burgett will bring his “Art of School Boarding” presentation to the Northwest Division on October 2, Starved Rock on October 12, North Cook on October 18, and DuPage on October 19. Burgett and colleague Kevin Heid will present “Creative Funding Ideas for School Districts” on October 26 for Central Illinois Valley attendees.

On October 11 in the Lake Division, Michael Lubelfeld, superintendent for Deerfield SD 109, and Nick Polyak, superintendent for Leyden CHSD 212, will present on “The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today,” which is also the title of a book they co-wrote.

Thomas Bertrand, superintendent of Rochester CUSD 3A, will present “Don’t Lose Your Balance,” offering strategies to focus on and align actions to core values, to the Three Rivers Division on October 30.

Other division dinner meeting topics include collective bargaining, social-emotional learning, the teacher shortage, school safety, the future of STEM, and student discipline.

Visit and click “My Account” for full information on Division Dinner Meeting programming, dates, times, and registration.

Each of the 21 meetings offers networking opportunities and updates from Association staff and division directors and chairpersons. Attendance will earn participants five points in IASB’s Master Board Member Program.

The following organizations sponsor IASB activities, including Division Dinner Meetings.

  • Premier Sponsor and Service Associate: Workers' Compensation Self-Insurance Trust and Illinois School District Agency
  • Premier Sponsor: NaviGate Prepared
  • Legacy Sponsor and Service Associate: Kings Financial Consulting, Inc.
  • Legacy Sponsors: edEdge, Guin Mundorf, LLC
  • Millennium Sponsor: NextEra Energy Services
  • Century Sponsor and Service Associate: First Midstate Inc.
  • Division Meetings Sponsors and Service Associates: GCA Education Services, Inc.; Larson and Darby Group, Legat Architects, Inc., OpTerra Energy Services, and  Wight & Company

Friday, September 22, 2017

School district labor
scene quiet at start of year

Four teacher strikes were called last school year.
There have been no teacher strikes since the school year began about a month ago for most districts in Illinois. Some contract disagreements have been reported, including one involving a federal mediator.

According to data provided by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, federal mediation is ongoing in Quincy SD 172, where the teacher union’s membership voted down a tentative agreement reached two months ago. The contract talks, underway since February, included sessions with a federal mediator on Aug. 31 and Sept. 12.

The talks reportedly will continue, even though the next scheduled negotiation is not yet scheduled. The mediator, who is now arranging the next meeting date, was called in from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent agency of the U.S. government that provides mediation services to schools, and government and community organizations, as well as to industry. Typically a mediator offers a helpful outside perspective, with the goal of bringing the two sides together to reach an equitable agreement.

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board says school districts and unions commonly bring in a mediator after both sides cannot find common ground on issues following expiration of an existing contract.

Quincy public schools had previously encountered a strike just last school year: the strike began Jan. 11, and ended Jan. 19, 2017. The Quincy SD 172 Board of Education ratified the teachers’ current one-year contract Feb. 2, but in seeking a longer-term pact, recurring issues led to further disagreements. This may have been complicated by the fact that the union reorganized this year to bring non-teaching school district employees into the labor organization.

Statewide, four teacher strikes occurred last school year, each settled within a matter of days, except a stoppage in East Moline CUSD 37 that lasted more than two weeks. It involved 263 IEA teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, and nurses, beginning Jan. 27 and ending Feb. 15.

Teacher strikes last school year also occurred in Red Hill CUSD 10 (Bridgeport), which involved 78 teachers, custodians, and cooks; Quincy SD 172, which involved 870 teachers; and Pinckneyville SD 50, which involved 30 teachers.

More recent strike authorizations by bus drivers were filed in two different Minooka school districts on Aug. 3, and in Decatur SD 61 on Aug. 31. None of those strike authorizations has led to a strike, but negotiations are ongoing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

State ESSA plan wins federal approval

U.S. Department of Education officials recently gave final approval to the Illinois plan for implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a 2015 law that broadened authority for local governance of schools.

ESSA, which supplanted the No Child Left Behind Act, requires testing in reading and math at various grade levels. Although standardized tests remain part of school accountability, each state develops its own accountability model. The accountability model in Illinois’ plan for ESSA incorporates factors of importance to local school leaders, such as post-secondary readiness, school climate, and school safety.

Accountability is measured for groups of students, but school districts can develop interventions based on local needs if a subgroup is identified as underperforming, with equity as the grounding principle.

State officials say the plan transitions Illinois to a system of balanced accountability. They say the plan gathers and examines multiple indicators of school quality and student growth to inform differentiated levels of support for schools.

The plan advances specific long-term goals for all students to attain by 2032: 90 percent or more of third-grade students are reading at or above grade level; 90 percent or more of fifth-grade students meet or exceed expectations in mathematics; 90 percent or more of ninth-grade are students on track to graduate with their cohort; and 90 percent or more of students graduate from high school ready for college and career.

“Illinois is committed to supporting the whole child in transforming learning opportunities for all students in our state” said Illinois State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith.

The Illinois State Board of Education reports that it is still strengthening the state plan by engaging stakeholders, particularly through working groups assigned to develop grade-level accountability indicators and advise educators on school-based expenditure reporting methods. ISBE will finalize all indicators to be used in the new accountability system by Dec. 31, according to an ISBE memo dated Sept. 13.

The newly approved ESSA plan is available on the ISBE website.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Workshop boosts division leaders’ skills

The second of three leadership workshops designed for IASB’s division officers, this one held in Mt. Vernon on Sep. 16, drew nearly fifteen board members. The training focuses on improving leadership skills and allows those in leadership posts to work together on best practices and to be recognized for their service to the Association.

The purpose of the event is to give division officers an additional professional development opportunity as they help the Association achieve its mission and goals.

Highlighting the day’s discussion and activities was guest speaker Patrick Muhammad, a terrific athlete from East St. Louis who went on to graduate from Kentucky State University, then teach for awhile, and earn his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University. He ultimately became an assistant principal before completing his Education Specialist in Educational Leadership.

Muhammad said true leadership is about who you inspire. Emphasizing that decisions are made 60 seconds at a time and leaders have to make a number of decisions, “those sixty-second intervals can change a life,” he said. “The decisions you make determine a human being’s future.”

Muhammad added that leadership is not about management, adding, “Managers manage things; leaders lead people.”

After lunch, the division leaders split into groups for part two of the workshop. Activities focused on roles within IASB divisions and allowed members to share concepts and practices that they have found beneficial for their areas.

The initial exercise allowed division officers who share the same title/position to work together creating an elevator speech. Attendees were tasked with defining what their position means within the Association, why it is important, and how it impacts member districts. The speeches are intended to be no longer than 30 seconds, or the time it takes for an average elevator ride.

One board member noted the value of the activity, stating that members don’t always understand the governing roles within IASB, so it will help the division leaders to be ready to explain the process.

The final table activity split members into three groups with the goal to discuss division meeting planning. Each group was tasked with sharing success stories that have been well received by board members in attendance.

Everything from meeting locations within a school or at an outside venue, program speakers and topics, breakout sessions, and even candidate briefings were discussed. After the success stories were recorded, the groups reviewed the suggestions to find concepts that would work within their own divisions.

One more division leadership workshop is scheduled for Jan. 27 in Naperville. Registration is available only to division officers, which includes the positions of director, chair, vice-chair, and resolutions chair. IASB maintains 21 geographic divisions that serve as a basis for Association governance and service delivery.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

PARCC testing, school polling places, PTELL levies win resolution support

Resolutions will be acted upon at the Delegate Assembly Nov. 18.
The IASB Resolutions Committee met in August to review five resolutions, one amendment to a current position, a reaffirmation of an existing position, and a new Association belief statement. After debate among committee members and the sponsoring districts, the committee recommended adoption of two resolutions, the amendment, and the new belief statement.

Chaired by IASB Vice President Joanne Osmond, the resolutions committee is charged with recommending either approval or disapproval of the submitted proposals. The recommendation determines which resolutions are presented to the full Delegate Assembly at the Joint Annual Conference. Resolutions that get a “Do Not Adopt” designation can be appealed if the sponsoring district submits the appeal in writing at least eight days prior to the Delegate Assembly.

The resolutions suggested for adoption this year include the following proposals:
  • School-as-polling-place reimbursement, submitted by Indian Prairie CUSD 204. The Illinois Association of School Boards shall support legislation that amends the Election Code and the School Code to mandate that the appropriate officer or board having responsibility for providing a polling place for the election shall reimburse the school district for any costs, including security to ensure student safety, in acting as a polling place. Estimated costs shall be provided to the appropriate officer or board in advance of any decision to use a particular public building in order to ensure efficient use of public resources.
  • PARCC testing results, submitted by Altamont CUSD 10. The Illinois Association of School Boards shall petition the Illinois State Board of Education to fairly report discrepancies in the scoring of state-required standardized testing: (1) between paper-and-pencil, versus electronic, test results and (2) within the electronic testing method. Further, such discrepancies will be made public so that schools may provide said information to parents and the media when the testing results are reported as required under state law.
  • PTELL, no penalty for under levy, submitted by Naperville CUSD 203. As amended, The Illinois Association of School Boards shall support legislation that allows school districts to levy an amount less than the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) formula would allow without penalty in future years. When a district “under” levies, the district will have the ability to reassess the reduced levy taken in a given year and recover the full entitled levy for a period of three years from the effective date of the reduced levy. A district will not be entitled to reassess the reduced levy once the three-year limit has expired.
In addition to the new and amended position statements recommended for adoption, a new belief statement was suggested for approval. The statement reads:

The Illinois Association of School Boards believes school boards should employ competitive bidding practices for upgrades in technology and energy savings and should also provide an energy savings contracting model policy and training opportunities for school districts.

The panel also made motions of “do not adopt” for three resolutions and a reaffirmation of an older position statement. Resolutions that were not approved include proposals to permit school faculty to carry firearms on school grounds, a one percent statewide sales tax increase, and changes to the Open Meetings Act to allow closed sessions for discussion of shared personnel in districts that have entered a Joint Cooperative Agreement.

The committee’s Report to Membership will be mailed to districts in mid-September and made available online. In addition to the committee motions, the report also contains rationale provided by the districts for the suggested changes, and the reasoning offered by committee members for their recommendations.

“School board members once again showed that they are paying close attention to the education issues; this year topics include PARCC testing and school safety procedures,” said Ben Schwarm, IASB deputy executive director. “The committee process and meeting was impressive from a membership point of view. We had nearly 100 percent participation among our resolutions committee chairmen and the school boards that submitted resolutions.”

IASB member district delegates will meet at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago. Resolutions approved by the Delegate Assembly will be added to IASB Position Statements and used to guide Association policy for the coming year.

The current IASB Constitution and Positions Statements can be found online.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Division leaders’ workshop focus
is on roles, practices, governance

Small group discussions were included on roles
within IASB divisions and shared concepts and practices.
Kicking off the first of three leadership workshops targeted toward IASB division officers, the Springfield event saw nearly twenty board members gather on a Saturday. In addition to a focus on improving leadership skills, the training allows members serving in leadership positions to collaborate with colleagues on best practices and be recognized for their service to the Association.

“The purpose of the event is to provide division officers with an additional professional development opportunity as they help the Association achieve its mission and goals,” said Reatha Owen, field services director for the Blackhawk, Central Illinois Valley, Corn Belt, and Western Divisions.

To begin the day, participants were treated to the engaging and energetic words of a guest speaker
The Springfield workshop drew nearly 20 division leaders.
with deep ties to Illinois. Patrick Muhammad grew up in East St. Louis. A standout athlete, he went on to graduate and attend Kentucky State University. After moving to Georgia, Muhammad entered the classroom as a teacher and later earned his Masters in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University. He would become an assistant principal and complete his Education Specialist in Educational Leadership.

Speaking about the importance of leadership, Muhammad stressed that true leadership is about who you inspire.

Muhammad went on to explain, “Leadership has nothing to do with titles or seniority. Leadership has nothing to do with personal attributes. Leadership isn’t management. Managers manage things. Leaders lead people.”

After a quick lunch, division leaders were tasked with defining what their position means within the association, why it is important, and how it impacts member districts.

They also had an opportunity for small group discussion on their roles within IASB divisions and shared concepts and practices that they have found beneficial for their divisions as well as sharing their success stories.

Additional division leadership workshops are scheduled for Sep. 16 in Mt. Vernon, and Jan. 27 in Naperville. Additional division leadership workshops are scheduled for Sep. 16 in Mt. Vernon, and Jan. 27 in Naperville. Registration is available only to division officers. IASB has 21 geographic divisions that divisions serve as a basis for Association governance and service delivery.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Conference Preview ready to download

A preview booklet for the 2017 Joint Annual Conference, to be held Nov. 17-19 in Chicago, is now available online

Information in this 24-page guide includes a schedule of events, descriptions and time slots for panel sessions, and descriptions for Pre-Conference Workshops and other on-site activities.

This year’s event – “Leading by Learning” – will be the 85th Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

More than 100 panel sessions will be presented on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Titles, descriptions, and time slots are listed in chronological order (see pages 6-17 of the preview). The 60-minute panels will be presented at 9, 10:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. on Friday; 10:30 a.m., 12:30, 2, and 3:30 p.m. Saturday; and at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at the Sheraton Grand Chicago and Hyatt Regency hotels.

In addition, a Carousel of Panels will be held at 1:45 p.m. Saturday (see page 14).

Other professional development opportunities will be conducted specifically for superintendents, business officials, attorneys (see page 22), and school board members on Friday, Nov. 17 (see page 21). A separate School Safety and Security Seminar is also available Friday (see page 23). Each of these events requires an additional fee and advance registration.

There is no additional charge for those attending the two-day Administrative Professionals’ Program (see Pages 16-17); however, this event does require paid conference registration.

Information about this year’s keynote speakers can be found on page 5.

Additional details and updates will be available in the official Conference Program, which can be picked up Nov. 17-19 at the registration desk at the Hyatt Regency. Those seeking to register or secure housing can access those forms online at:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Burroughs Award nominations sought

There is less than a month left to nominate local school board presidents for the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award, which is given annually to the state’s outstanding school board president. The deadline for the Illinois State Board of Education to receive nominations is Friday, Oct. 6.

Created in 1991 in memory of the late ISBE chairman, the award is presented each November at the Joint Annual Conference of IASB, IASA and Illinois ASBO. This year’s conference will be held on Nov. 17-19, and the award will be presented on Sunday, Nov. 19.

The Burroughs Award is intended to recognize extraordinary leadership on behalf of education at the local level. The criteria for the award recognize the following three areas of accomplishment:

    Leadership on behalf of improved student learning and educational excellence,
    Leadership on behalf of equal educational opportunities, and
    Leadership in resolving a crisis or major difficulty.

Leadership is defined by the award criteria as including group skills, such as consensus-building proficiency and teamwork, as well as individual traits such as vision, courage, integrity, etc.

School districts fortunate enough to have a board president who has provided outstanding leadership in one or all of these areas are encouraged to nominate him or her for the 2017 Burroughs Award. Anyone who has served as president of a local school board in 2017 is eligible for consideration, including those who might have been nominated in prior years.

Nominations should be submitted to Katherine Galloway, via email at: Indicate Burroughs Nomination as the subject. For more information, including award details, and the format for nominations, visit:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Registration still open for school support staff event

Registration for SupportCon Springfield (previously known as the Educational Support Professionals
Conference) is still open for school support staff seeking to further develop their job skills in today’s constantly changing educational environment. The Sep. 19 event will take place at the President Abraham Lincoln DoubleTree beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Listed among SupportCon Springfield’s featured topics are: Maintaining the Board Policy Manual, Basics of the Open Meetings Act (OMA), and Diversity and Inclusion. A full day of professional development opportunities for educational support staff will kick off with opening remarks by Roger L. Eddy, IASB executive director.

The conference for school office staff will also include six morning and five afternoon hour-long breakout sessions, with three led by IASB presenters. One afternoon session will feature a diversity and inclusion presentation by Board Development Director Sandra Kwasa, and Trainer Nesa Brauer. A morning breakout session on the OMA will be led by General Counsel Kimberly Small; another early one, on policy manual maintenance, will be led by Policy Consultant Angie Powell.

IASB and Illinois ASBO are helping to sponsor the event, which caters to the range of work performed by support professionals. In addition to the speakers from the Association, legal and financial experts will be on hand to answer questions and guide discussion.

Registration for the event is available at the Illinois ASBO website.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Sample policy, news releases
available prior to Conference

IASB encourages school boards that plan to attend the Joint Annual Conference to be pro-active in documenting their professional development experiences and expenses at Conference.

That includes adopting a policy in support of professional development for board members that permits and encourages ongoing leadership training for board members.

IASB has a sample policy (2:120) on this issue: “The school board desires that its individual members learn, understand and practice effective governance principles. The board is responsible for board member orientation and development. Board members have an equal opportunity to attend state and national meetings designed to familiarize members with public school issues, governance, and legislation.

“The board president and/or superintendent shall provide all board members with information regarding pertinent education materials, publications, and notices of training or development.”

Boards should consider the sample policy or adopt their own before attending the Joint Annual Conference, which is scheduled for Nov. 17-19 in Chicago.

The conference provides training to school board members and administrators through hundreds of panel presentations, workshops, general sessions, and exhibits on school governance and leadership, education funding, student learning and achievement, school law and technology, as well as current education issues and best practices.

Sample news releases are also being developed by IASB to assist those districts that want to pro-actively share what they will do and/or did at the 2017 Joint Annual Conference. Both releases will contain language that allows districts to specify who attended, how much the district spent, and how it fit into the district budget and professional development goals. There will be additional blanks to fill in names and titles with suggested quotes and to make other optional remarks. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Registration open for School Safety and Security Seminar

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
For the second year, a School Safety and Security Seminar will take place in conjunction with the Joint Annual Conference. The 2017 event, titled “Preparation for School Safety,” will be held on Friday, Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

School board members and administrators are encouraged to invite their local emergency responders, school resource officers, school security directors, facility directors, and others who help prepare and carry out security procedures for their districts.

Online registration is available for IASB members registered for the Conference, with instructions posted on the Conference website. Non-members interested in attending should contact Chris Montrey at 217/528-9688, ext. 1143. The extra $140 fee for the Safety and Security Seminar includes a continental breakfast. Advance registration will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, as long as space is available.

“Preparation for School Safety” will include the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program. School districts will be presenting, as well as featured speaker Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a leading author and trainer on school safety.

Colonel Grossman, a U.S. Army Ranger, a paratrooper, and former West Point psychology professor, has five patents to his name, has published four novels, two children’s books, and six non-fiction works, plus a New York Times best-selling book co-authored with Glenn Beck. (Visit the Conference Bookstore to purchase copies of his books.) Grossman’s research has been cited by the President of the United States in a national address, and he has testified before the U.S. Senate, the Congress, and numerous state legislatures.  He has also served as an expert witness and a consultant in state and federal courts.

In addition to the half-day seminar, IASB will offer eight related panel sessions on safety-related issues, including targeted violence prevention, behavioral threat assessments, crisis management, and using social media to thwart violent attacks. These 60-minute panels are open to anyone attending conference.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report (100-44)


Today, Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 1947, enacting a new evidence-based school funding formula into law. With this new law in place, general funds can begin flowing to Illinois’ public school districts. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Comptroller Susana Mendoza have indicated that school districts should receive their first two aid payments in the next couple of weeks.

After months of negotiating over the finer points of the new formula, legislators from both chambers and both parties finally found common ground. The trick was to find a version of the formula that was an acceptable middle ground between SB 1 as it passed the legislature, the governor’s amendatory changes to that bill, and other requests brought by the governor and Republican caucuses.

The governor held a bill signing ceremony this afternoon (Thursday) at Ebinger Elementary School on the north side of Chicago. On hand with the governor were legislative leaders Cullerton, Brady, and Durkin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, bill sponsors Manar, Lightford, Barickman, Rezin, Davis, and Pritchard, Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Smith, ISBE Chairman Reverend James Meeks, several other legislators, and a room full of education advocates.

The Alliance legislative staff is working on a comprehensive analysis of SB 1947. It should be available next week.

IASB school calendar posted

IASB has posted its Annual School Calendar of legal dates and deadlines for 2017-2018.

The calendar is published by IASB in order to assist school districts to prepare their local school calendars. Dates contained in this calendar comply with all statutory deadlines contained in the Election Code, School Code, and selected acts of the General Assembly. It does not contain dates imposed by the State Board of Education or its regulations.

The school calendar is not distributed in a printed version; however, it is posted online so that it is available more quickly and allows for revisions to reflect any new legislation enacted or the correction of any errors. It is also important to note that the calendar is published for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice from the school district legal counsel.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Latest Journal is a matter of time

Time is not only of the essence, it is the essence of the September/October issue of The Illinois School Board Journal.

Readers will discover the circadian science of sleep, and how it impacts student performance in school. In a related matter, discover the process Barrington SD 220 used to alter its start times to make “Optimal time for learning.” The Journal also explores how Maine THSD 207 is setting a new schedule with the goals of maximizing personalized learning and enhancing student services. Find out why IASB recommends reviewing and monitoring policy in a timely manner, and about the KIDS tool being employed in kindergarten classrooms.

Watch your mailboxes for the printed edition, or click here or below to read the complete digital edition of the September/October Journal.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Board of directors meets in Pike County

The IASB Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting on Aug. 25-26 in Nebo. Gathering at the
same rural Pike County lodge where IASB staff 20 years ago began discussing what eventually would become known as the Association’s “Foundational Principles of Effective Governance,” the board spent some time reviewing potential owner engagement topics.

Facilitated by consultant Angie Peifer, the board considered two questions relating to Foundational Principle Two (the board connects with its community): how it can engage owners, i.e., member districts, into supporting the Association’s mission, vision, and results, and, how the board can help members to better understand and support the roles and responsibilities of an effective association governing board.

The comments and suggestions from this activity will be reviewed by the board’s executive committee.

The board also reviewed and approved OE policies (operations) for the executive director and the board, and the R1 indicators of compliance (results) for each Association department. The board’s purpose is to assure that the Association achieves the outcomes described in the board’s Results policies and that it operates according to the values expressed in the Board’s Operational Expectations policies.

In other business, Treasurer Tom Neeley presented the financial report and results of the annual audit.
Neeley said the Association will solicit bids for next year’s auditor.

Co-chairs Carla Joiner-Herrod and Mark Christ gave the board an update on the 2017 Joint Annual Conference. The board of directors will meet twice during conference, on Thursday, Nov. 16, and on Sunday, Nov. 19, when it will review how this year’s Conference went.

Co-chairs of the executive search ad hoc committee, Karen Fisher and Sue McCance, gave a brief update on the search to replace retiring Executive Director Roger Eddy. The committee is accepting applications until Sep. 15. Vice president Joanne Osmond gave a resolutions report, which will be compiled and sent to Association membership prior to the Delegate Assembly.

Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm updated the board on the developments in Springfield relating to the state budget and school aid funding formula. Both Schwarm and Eddy indicated that the situation is very fluid, with likely compromises on sensitive issues such as corporate replacement tax and vouchers.

Board leadership gave a report from the recent NSBA summer leadership seminar and Eddy discussed the recent executive directors’ institute. Eddy also updated the board on staffing and membership.

The board also approved two firms for membership in IASB Service Associates: Nels Johnson Tree Service of Evanston, and Meemic of Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Alliance Legislative Report (100-43)


Today, the Illinois Senate approved SB 1947, the school funding reform bill. Governor Bruce Rauner has vowed to quickly sign the bill into law, thus ending a long stalemate between the partisan caucuses and the two legislative chambers. The bill, which passed the Senate on a vote of 38-13-4, will be effective immediately upon the governor’s signature. Both the Illinois State Board of Education and the Office of the Illinois Comptroller have pledged to process the necessary paper work as soon as possible so funds can begin flowing to Illinois’ public schools.

General funds for schools have been held up so far this fiscal year because no evidence-based funding program had been put in place in accordance with language in the budget bill that only allows a distribution of most funds under an evidence-based funding program. SB 1947 contains most elements of the evidence-based model supported by Vision 20/20 and the School Management Alliance. More information on the compromise funding language can be found in the last Alliance Legislative Report.

The approval of a new, more equitable school funding formula, however, was not all good news. Yes, funds can now begin flowing to local public school districts. Yes, using an evidence-based model will direct scarce state funds to those school districts in the most need. But the essence of legislative compromise means that not everyone is happy with the result. Unfortunately, after all of the hard work contributed by school business officials, superintendents, principals, and school board members in the funding discussions, the Alliance could not support the final language in SB 1947.

The inclusion of provisions to allow taxpayer-initiated referenda in school districts that are calculated to be at least at 110 percent of their adequacy target was opposed by the Alliance. Currently, there are numerous tools on the books for transparency, taxpayer/citizen input, and participation in the property taxation process. An annual budget hearing by the school board regarding the adoption of a budget, the Truth in Taxation Act, and, ultimately, an election every two years where school board members face the greatest accountability are components of current statute.

Also opposed by the Alliance were the provisions creating a new income tax credit for taxpayers who contribute money for the purpose of covering non-public school tuition. The tax credit, generally a private school voucher program, creates an immediate diversion of public resources for the purpose of funding private education.

The most striking element that became evident over the past few months was the passion, resilience, and dedication of school superintendents, principals, business officials, and board members. Through all of the acrimony, political wrangling, and dire circumstances for local schools, they consistently took action with the best interests of the students of our public schools in mind.

Alliance Legislative Report (100-42)

A new school funding formula is one vote away from reality, but the road was rocky and the results are mixed. With the legislature caught up between the legislature’s version of SB 1 and the Governor’s version of SB 1, a tweaked evidence-based funding model was added to a new bill – SB 1947

New provisions added to the mix in SB 1947 include an income tax credit for private school tuition and a form of mandate relief for public schools.

When SB 1947 was first called for a vote Monday afternoon on the House floor, it failed miserably on a vote of 46-61-5, far short of the 71 votes needed for passage. After their respective caucus meetings, legislators returned to the floor for a vote on the override motion on the Governor’s amendatory veto of SB 1. This motion also came up well short of the 71 votes needed with only 63 representatives voting for the override. The Speaker of the House then recalled SB 1947 for a vote and it was approved on a bipartisan vote of 73-34-3.

The bill will be taken up in the Senate later today (Tuesday) for final action.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report (100-41)

House Amendment #5 to SB 1947, the 550-page school funding compromise language, has been filed in the House of Representatives.

The Alliance is currently reviewing the amendment, though it will be impossible to thoroughly analyze all provisions given the short timeline. It appears that everything agreed to by the legislative leaders is contained in this one piece of legislation – including all evidence-based funding language and a new income tax credit designed to redirect public funds to non-public schools.

The amendment is expected to be called for a vote on the House floor this afternoon (Monday) – there is no committee hearing set to discuss the legislation at this time.

Though the amendment contains many of the desired components from the Vision 20/20 plan for an evidence-based funding model, other provisions generate significant concerns for the Alliance. As highlighted in the last Alliance Legislative Report, the income tax credit for private school tuition would drain hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools over the next four years.

Another provision added to the funding reform plan would allow any taxpayer to place on the ballot a referendum to require the school district to decrease its property tax levy if that school district was calculated to be at 110 percent of its adequacy target. This usurpation of the school board’s responsibilities, based on an arbitrary depiction of a school district’s financial stability, will be debilitating to local schools.

Based on these two egregious provisions, the Alliance opposes SB 1947 as currently drafted. School board members and administrators are urged to contact their legislators as soon as possible and let them know how these provisions would affect their school districts.

Alliance Legislative Report (100-40)

The School Management Alliance is opposed to the plan for a statewide income tax credit program for the amount paid to a non-public school for tuition. The $75 million proposal is nothing more than a private school voucher program that would divert millions of public dollars to non-public schools. Each of the organizations that comprise the Alliance have had long-standing position statements that call for opposing voucher and tax credit schemes.

School board members and administrators are urged to contact their legislators today and ask that they reject the tax credit/voucher plan.

The Illinois House of Representatives is meeting in session later this morning, but at this time there has been no bill or amendment filed carrying the tax credit language. For that matter, there still has been no legislation filed on the rest of the school funding compromise, though leaders say that there will be a vote today.

Time is running out for taking action on an override motion on the veto of SB 1. It is still unclear on whether the plan is to override the governor’s action on SB 1, then pass trailing legislation to make the other changes the legislative leaders agreed to, or to scrap SB 1 and re-write the evidence-based funding model language into other bills.

Watch for updates throughout the day on the legislative session.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

IASB Briefs

District membership count at 844
IASB added another school district to its membership rolls on Aug. 16, with the addition of Ohio CCSD 17. The district is located in the Starved Rock Division where Laura Martinez is field services director.

Membership totals include 844 member districts. With only six non-member districts, 99.3 percent of Illinois school districts are now members of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

IASB offers online mandated training
IASB’s Online Learning Center continues to offer the state-mandated Open Meetings Act (OMA) training as required for new school board members within 90 days of taking the oath of office. Click here for more information and to register.

All new board members are also required to complete a four-hour mandatory Professional Development Leadership Training (PDLT) within the first year of their current term. Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) training is required for those board members voting for dismissal within the alternative evaluation process. IASB includes PERA training in all its PDLT training workshops, and the Association offers two opportunities to meet PDLT/PERA school board member training requirements:
  1. Click here for more information and to register for the pertinent online (OLC) course, or
  2. Attend a Pre-Conference Workshop at the 2017 Joint Annual Conference in Chicago on Friday, Nov. 17. Click here for more information, and contact your district office to ask them to register you for Pre-Conference Workshops.
For more information on meeting these state training mandates, click here.

New pocket reference guide published
Patrick Rice, director of field services for IASB, has authored a new book, The Essential Quick Flip Reference Guide for School Board Members. The book is designed to provide fast access to essential information school board members need to know to govern effectively, according to Rice, a former teacher and school administrator.

The book, spiral bound and small enough for convenient portable reference, provides information on a range of topics, including board member expectations and duties, school board governance, parliamentary procedure, school community relations, and more.

The guide, Rice’s second published work, is available from IASB’s online bookstore for $12.99, at:

Friday, August 25, 2017

School funding agreement reached

The legislative leaders of the Illinois General Assembly announced yesterday (Thursday) that they have come to an agreement in concept on a compromise to the school funding stalemate. Discussions will continue today and through the weekend, with the House of Representatives coming back to the Capitol on Sunday afternoon for a legislative session. Reportedly, drafting of the new legislation is underway.

Details are sketchy as those in the negotiating room have been tight-lipped and there is no legislation officially filed. But the expectations are an evidence-based funding model with most of the components mirroring SB 1; some modifications in reference to the governor’s amendatory veto revisions; mandate relief for public schools; and some version of an income tax credit for amounts paid to non-public school for tuition.

It is unclear as to the procedural path that this compromise language will take. SB 1 could be allowed to die with all of the new language added to different bills already in a posture for passage. Or, the House could vote to override the governor’s action on SB 1, thus enacting that bill into law, then approve subsequent legislation that would make the changes needed to SB 1 that correspond with the new agreement.

Apparently, the initial action on the funding reform plans will begin in the House. Once the House takes action (possibly Sunday; more likely Monday), any new legislation would need approval from the Senate. The Senate has not indicated when it plans to return to Springfield.

No general funds have flowed to schools this fiscal year because of the lack of agreement on an evidence-based funding model. School districts should have received their second general aid payment by now. Once legislation is approved and enacted into law, the State Board of Education and Office of the Comptroller processes of vouchering and issuing payment should take seven to 10 days.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fall division dinner meetings scheduled

IASB’s 2017 Fall Division Dinner Meetings are set to begin Sep. 26, with a gathering of the Illini Division taking place in Mahomet. The final meeting of the season is scheduled for Nov. 1, when the South Cook Division will meet in Hickory Hills. In between, the Association’s 19 other divisions will meet in venues across the state.

Each division dinner meeting offers networking opportunities and updates from Association staff and division directors and chairpersons. Attendance at division dinner meetings also earns participants five points in IASB’s Master Board Member Program. Most meetings also offer keynote or breakout panel sessions on a variety of important education topics for school leaders.

Online registration and payment is required; however, district superintendents or secretaries should first update their district roster in the IASB member database so that the names of individuals who are attending can be included in the registration.

Here is the schedule of dates and locations for the 21 division dinner meetings (speakers and topics will be announced later):

2017 Fall Division Dinner Meetings
IASB Division
Sept. 26
Mahomet-Seymour CUSD 3
Oct. 2
CedarStone Banquets, Polo
Oct. 3
Abe Lincoln
Sangamon Valley CUSD 9
Oct. 3
Galva CUSD 224
Oct. 3
Mt. Vernon SD 80
Oct. 3
West Cook
Mannheim Middle School, Melrose Park
Oct. 4
Columbia CUSD 4
Oct. 5
Harlem High School, Harlem SD 122
Oct. 5
Wabash Valley
Knights of Columbus, Jasper Co. CUSD 1, Newton
Oct. 10
Dongola USD 66
Oct. 11
DoubleTree by Hilton, Libertyville-Mundelein
Oct. 12
Corn Belt
Indian Creek Country Club, Fairbury
Oct. 12
Starved Rock
Ottawa High School
Oct. 18
North Cook
Café La Cave, Des Plaines
Oct. 19
Sheraton Lisle Hotel
Oct. 24
Brownstown CUSD 201
Oct. 24
LaHarpe Comm SD 347
Oct. 26
Central Illinois Valley
Dunlap CUSD 323
Oct. 26
Two Rivers
Jacksonville SD 117
Oct. 30
Three Rivers
Prairie Bluff Golf Club, Lockport
Nov. 1
South Cook
Camelot, Hickory Hills

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

UPDATE: House session canceled

Deputy Exec. Director Ben Schwarm
IASB Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm discusses the options under consideration by the legislature that will allow the release of state school funding.

UPDATE: Wednesday House session canceled
House Speaker Michael Madigan announced last night that the legislative session scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 23 has been canceled. The Illinois House was preparing to take up an override vote on the governor’s veto of SB 1. The Speaker noted that recent progress toward a compromise on school funding among the legislative leaders led to the decision. The leaders will meet again on Thursday in an attempt to iron out remaining differences on an evidence-based funding model. The House will likely reconvene next week. August 29 is the deadline to take action on the veto of SB 1.

House returns tomorrow for possible vote
The Illinois House of Representatives will return to the Capitol on Wednesday (Aug. 23) to address the governor’s amendatory veto of SB 1, the school funding reform legislation. The Senate has already voted to override the governor and the House has until Aug. 29 to take some type of action on the bill. Though no motion has yet been filed, it is expected that the House sponsor of the bill will file a motion to override the amendatory veto. If such a motion is approved with a 3/5 majority of House members, SB 1 would become law as passed by the legislature in May without the governor’s proposed revisions. If the motion fails, SB 1 would be dead.

The legislative leaders have been meeting over the last few days in an attempt to find a compromise on the concepts of an evidence-based funding model for the distribution of general funds to school districts. Republicans are concerned about provisions of SB 1 that direct additional funds to Chicago Public Schools. They are also pushing for additional provisions, including mandate relief for downstate school districts and a statewide scholarship/voucher program that would help fund non-public schools.

Procedurally, there are a number of ways to implement a compromise. They could let SB 1 die, then replace it with an agreed-to funding plan contained in another bill (or bills). Or, they could override the veto on SB 1, thus enacting it into law, then follow up later this week with another bill (or bills) that contain Republican-friendly provisions.

With no compromise, bill sponsors in the House could muscle through an override of the governor and enact SB 1 as is. But because of the required 3/5 majority vote, this would take several Republicans to vote for the bill and against the governor. With no changes to the bill or a promise of trailing legislation, this seems unlikely as no House Republican have indicated he/she would cast such a vote.

No voucher legislation has yet been filed in the legislature, but preliminary drafts have surfaced. In these drafts, taxpayers would be allowed to receive an income tax credit equal to the amount of tuition paid to a non-public school. In some drafts, the aggregate statewide amount of such tax credits could reach $100 million in the form of “scholarships” to private or religious schools. The scholarship-issuing organizations, depending on which version of the bill it is, could be a not-for-profit organization, the Illinois State Board of Education, or the Illinois State Scholarship Commission. In some cases, the scholarship could be used in another public school district so a student could attend a school in a district he/she does not reside in without paying non-resident tuition. Also, in some versions, the local public school district would have to administer the required standardized assessment to those students who have a voucher in a non-public school.

Obviously, there are many concerns IASB has with these proposals to re-direct state funds to non-public schools. School board members and administrators are urged to contact their legislators and voice their objections to these proposed schemes.

News from ISBE

New tool for kindergarten readiness
The state will report consistent new measures of developmental readiness for all kindergarten students starting this fall. Kindergarten teachers will be getting and using the reports, which are derived from observations of students in their normal daily routines of playing and learning.

The Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) is designed to deepen the state’s understanding of where children have or do not have access to high-quality early learning opportunities. KIDS also will help communities and service providers understand what children need for success in school, state officials said.

The state requires all districts to use the KIDS tool to observe Kindergarten students against 14 measures of school readiness within the first 40 days of students’ attendance. A state web page offers resources, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and other information for teachers, administrators, and families at KIDS.

Read more about this program in the September-October issue of The Illinois School Board Journal.

School lunch guidelines released
Eligibility guidelines have been released for free and reduced-price lunch, breakfast, and after-school snacks through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for the 2017-2018 school year.

Officials say the federal programs help ensure that children are able to receive nutritious meals and snacks even if their families are unable to pay full price.

Application forms for the programs are being sent to all students’ homes. Parents and guardians need to complete just one application per household for all students in the same school district. More details and a chart depicting the federal guidelines are available here.

Law streamlines teacher licensing
A recently signed law may help address a major teacher shortage with more than 1,000 teaching positions going unfilled last year in Illinois public schools, state officials say. Public Act 100-0013 is designed to streamline the licensing requirements for various subject areas, such as Career and Technical Education (CTE), and special education.

The measure was sponsored by Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood) and Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield). It was developed as part of the Vision 20/20 legislative agenda, a grassroots campaign of state school management groups that includes IASB.

Public Act 100-0013, a follow up to Senate Bill 2912 signed into law in 2016, took effect July 1.