Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lottery contributions flat;
new management begins

Although revenue contributions to schools from lottery sales rose from $668 million in 2014 to $692 million in 2016, the total is essentially unchanged when adjusted for inflation. In September 2017, Illinois announced a new management firm to run the state lottery, with the aim of generating more than $1 billion per year for schools and other projects by the end of a 10-year deal.

Unfortunately, funding for Illinois public schools requires more than 15 times as much in state money as the lottery brings to state coffers each year. The lottery cannot realistically offer a school funding rescue, largely because it is just not set up to boost school funding totals.

While the lottery did produce $691 million for the public schools in Fiscal Year 2016 — the most recent year for which audited data are available — that total paled in comparison to the $31.3 billion in state, federal, and local revenues needed to fund more than 3,500 public elementary and secondary schools. More detailed funding data is available on the ISBE website

The trouble is lottery funds do not supplement overall school funding, but are instead used to offset other state sources. When lottery profits are deposited into the Common School Fund (CSF), that accounting maneuver reduces the amount of money that schools will draw from other state sources.

What is worse, the amount of lottery profits deposited into the CSF is held to a fixed level. Since March 1, 2010, annual transfers to the CSF are required by law to equal the amount transferred in FY 2009, adjusted for inflation, according to the 2017 tax handbook for legislators, published by the nonpartisan Illinois Legislative Research Unit.

The funds deposited to the CSF were fixed as part of the state’s plan to contract with a private firm to manage lottery operations. It was hoped that a for-profit company would manage lottery sales, increasing revenues and reducing costs. To date it hasn’t worked out that way.

The Illinois Department of Revenue first contracted with Northstar Lottery Group, LLC, for management services in July 2011. After Northstar allegedly missed revenue targets, the state announced plans to terminate the contract with the company. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office reached a termination agreement with Northstar that would remove the firm as the games’ private manager as of January 1, 2017, or when a replacement firm was chosen.

The Illinois Lottery then announced the replacement firm, Camelot Illinois, on Friday, October 20, 2017. The agency’s contract with Camelot Illinois to become the lottery’s private manager was effective January 1, 2018. Camelot is a subsidiary of Camelot Group, which runs the lottery in Great Britain.

Regardless of how well the new management firm performs, schools cannot expect funding miracles from the state lottery as it is currently operated.

To understand more about the Illinois lottery and its very limited impact on public school funding, read IASB's publication “Where Does the Lottery Money Go?” 

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Equity Event will ask the ‘what, why, and how’

The Illinois Association of School Boards has announced a new initiative to address the “what, why, and how” of equity issues in education.

The Equity Event, to take place on April 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Lisle, will present the opportunity to 
The event will take place at the Hyatt Regency
in Lisle, 1400 Corporetum Drive. Source: Google Maps.
  • Understand the various equity issues present in public education (including race, socio-economic, gender, etc.);
  • Learn critical steps for developing and implementing an equity approach in school board work;
  • Gain insight and practical applications from Illinois school districts actively working on equity issues; and
  • Be inspired by one man’s personal journey of resilience, determination, and vision.

Speakers at The Equity Event will include Dr. Heather Hackman, speaking on “The Urgency of Now: Developing and Utilizing an Equity Lens for 21st Century Education.” Consultant Corrie Wallace will address the question “It’s 2018...Why are We Still Talking about Race?” and Steve Pemberton will bring “One America: The Micro Cultural Changes to Bring the ‘United’ Back into U.S.A.”

This new event is offered exclusively to school board members and superintendents from IASB member districts. There is no charge to attend. Attendees will earn one credit in the LeaderShop Academy program.

The Equity Event will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Lisle, 1400 Corporetum Drive, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 28, 2018. Online registration is required and will be available at on February 1, 2018. For more information, contact Peggy Goone,, 217/528-9866 ext. 1103.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Two member districts added

Two new member districts joined IASB in 2017: Ohio CCSD 17, located in the Association’s Starved Rock Division, and Homewood-Flossmoor CHSD 233, located in the South Cook Division.

That brings the number of IASB member districts to 845, or 99.4 percent of the public school districts in the state. There are just five non-member districts among the 850 public school districts in Illinois.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-50

Governor Bruce Rauner, Monday, issued an amendatory veto to SB 444, the bill that would make technical changes to the funding provisions of the new evidence-based school funding model. Though the governor’s proposed changes had nothing to do with the funding distribution model to public schools, the bill will now require additional legislative action that will further delay the issuance of any funding based on the new distribution formula.

The governor’s amendment has to do with the Invest in Kids Act, which authorizes tax credit scholarships totaling up to $75 million for low-income students to attend non-public schools. But, according to the governor’s veto message, “the current drafting of the law will stand in the way of effectively and fairly implementing the very program it creates, and should be cleaned up along with the other fixes to Senate Bill 1947.” The following is the amendatory veto message explanation:

“As written, the Act requires non-public schools to be “recognized” by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). This language creates an eligibility mandate from what is otherwise a voluntary distinction for which schools may apply. Eligibility should be expanded to also include schools that are registered with ISBE, a necessary precursor to becoming “recognized.” While it is prudent to require compliance with ISBE measures that protect the health, safety and well-being of students, the current timelines to become recognized will exclude at least 36 schools that are still in the process of registering for and moving toward recognition; the ramifications of this initial exclusion could potentially last for two years. By including those who have registered with ISBE as well as those already recognized, the law will better maximize the number of schools and therefore the number of children who can benefit from this promising new program.”

Though the governor states his concern that 36 schools could be excluded from the tax credit program, Alliance research shows that there are 893 non-public schools that are “registered” in the state, with 635 of these schools being “recognized.” That would seem that an additional 258 schools would be affected by the amendatory veto.

What is the Difference between Recognized and Registered?

According to the Illinois State Board of Education website: “To be registered means that ISBE is officially aware of the existence of the nonpublic school, ISBE has assigned to the school an ID number (known as an RCDT Code), and ISBE has given the school access to IWAS. There is a brief application for registration that collects basic information about the school, its enrollment, and its staff, as well as some other data.”

“A recognized school has been registered with ISBE for at least one school year, it has filed an extensive application dealing with school policies, curricula, personnel, and student health and safety. In addition, the school has been visited by a small team to confirm this information; the school is revisited by a team every few years. Fundamentally, a recognized school is a school acknowledged to be in substantial compliance with various requirements of state statute and regulation.”

ISBE goes on to state that “it should be noted that recognition (a matter of compliance) is different from accreditation (a judgment about the quality of instruction). Accreditation involves an intensive examination of some or all of a school’s curricula, the qualifications of its staff, the appropriateness of its library holdings, etc. ISBE does not accredit any school—accreditation is accomplished through independent third parties. A school may be accredited simultaneously by more than one accrediting body at the same time. A school may be recognized and not accredited; likewise, it may be accredited and not recognized.”

Funding Distributions to Public Schools

Since the new evidence-based funding formula is so significantly different than the previous funding formula, ISBE had a monumental job of establishing a new process to accurately distribute funding to public schools. So upon enactment of the new formula in SB 1947, it was going to take months to actually transmit funds to school districts. Then, with the additional changes in SB 444, new distribution runs would have to be completed. Why were those changes made in SB 444? ISBE states that, “while it was working to implement the new funding Act as passed by the General Assembly, it was discovered that the adequacy targets of 178 school districts would unfairly include local resources that those districts are not able to access – to the sum of $37.8 million. According to the sponsors of the initial legislation, this was not the intent of the legislature.”

To correct this drafting error, ISBE requested the changes included in SB 444 “and requested that the governor sign the bill that was approved by the General Assembly as soon as possible.”  The amendatory veto “has caused a disruption for the agency as it continues preparations for tier funding distribution as quickly as possible. If PA 100-465 is not changed in accordance with SB 444, there will be further disruption and confusion for all 852 school districts.”

The new Evidence-Based Funding formula creates a distribution system where each district’s state allocation is directly related to and dependent upon the needs of all 852 school districts. According to ISBE, “if the changes included in SB 444 are not enacted, 178 school districts will see a reduction in funding based on their inability to access local resources. The State Board is continuing to gather and clean data needed to distribute tier funding as we wait for the General Assembly to act on this amendatory veto. Time is of the essence to ensure that what districts receive from the state this year is equitable and fair.”

Next Moves

The General Assembly will have to take up the governor’s amendatory veto upon its next meeting. The House of Representatives is scheduled to convene on Jan. 23 and 24; both chambers are scheduled to convene on Jan. 30 and 31.

If both chambers accept the governor’s changes, the bill will be enacted immediately with the original provisions of SB 444 plus the governor’s changes. If both chambers vote to override the amendatory veto, the bill will become effective without the governor’s changes. The entire bill would be dead if either of the chambers fail to act or if the chambers take differing action.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Illinois school leaders to attend
NSBA Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C.

A large Illinois delegation will be attending the
 Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. from February 4-6.
School board members and administrators from 13 Illinois districts will join with educational leaders from across the country at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. from February 4-6.

The event aims to assist participants with developing effective advocacy strategies to engage policy makers and champion the interests of local public schools. Programming includes interactive panel presentations, breakout sessions, nationally recognized speakers, and networking forums to share tips and best practices.

Wrapping up the final day of the Advocacy Institute, attendees will have an opportunity to lobby their own members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Meetings with the Illinois congressional delegation will allow school officials to discuss the direction of public education, the protection of local control, and budgeting decisions that impact the state education system.

“There are a lot of important discussions taking place at the national level that have the potential to impact education here in Illinois,” said IASB Governmental Relations Director Susan Hilton. “This event provides an opportunity for our local school leaders to share how the decisions made in Washington affect what is happening in our local schools.”

Thirty-one board members and superintendents will be representing Illinois from the following districts: Aptakisic-Tripp SD 102, Cairo SD 1, CCSD 168 in Sauk Village, Dolton East SD 149, Dolton-Riverdale SD 148, ESD 158 in Matteson, Lake Forest SD 67, Lincoln ESD 156, West Harvey-Dixmoor SD 147, and Woodland CCSD 50.

IASB will send officers and staff, including President Joanne Osmond, Vice President Thomas Neeley, Past President Phil Pritzker, Executive Director Roger Eddy, Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm, and Governmental Relations Director Susan Hilton.

Additional information about the Advocacy Institute, registration, and the event agenda can be found on the NSBA website.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sixteen Illinois schools
join Blue Ribbon ranks

Sixteen public schools in Illinois were recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education with awards through the National Blue Ribbon Schools program.

Here’s how one winning school chose to celebrate the honor:

Arlington Heights SD 25 created a video, asking students: “How do you feel when you walk into your school?” Their answers made it easy to see why the school was a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools program annually gives awards to elementary, middle schools, and high schools for academic excellence and improvement in closing the gap between privileged and underprivileged students. Schools can qualify as Blue Ribbon Schools by being rated as “high performing” or “achievement gap closing.”

All 16 winning schools qualified by scoring in the top 15 percent of schools in the state in reading and math. Every demographic group examined within the school — including lower-income students — also had to collectively score in the top 40 percent.

Eight private schools, which faced similar requirements, were awarded the Blue Ribbon this time, bringing the number of Illinois school winners to 25. That compares to 21 last year.

Here’s the list of the public schools that earned the designation, their category, and the school district in which they reside:

  • Central Intermediate School, small city or town in a rural area, Central SD 51 (Washington) 
  • Charles J. Caruso Middle School, suburban, Deerfield SD 109 
  • Conrady Junior High School, suburban, North Palos School District 117 (Palos Hills) 
  • Copeland Manor Elementary School, suburban, Libertyville SD 70 
  • Edgar Allan Poe Classical Elementary School, urban or large central city, Chicago SD 299 
  • Hannah G. Solomon Elementary School, urban or large central city, Chicago SD 299 
  • Kipling Elementary School, suburban, Deerfield SD 109 
  • Lemont High School, suburban, Lemont THSD 210 
  • Mary Morgan Elementary School, small city or town in a rural area, Byron CUSD 226 
  • McClure Junior High School, suburban, Western Springs SD 101 
  • Neuqua Valley High School, suburban, Indian Prairie CUSD 204 (Naperville) 
  • Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School, suburban, Arlington Heights SD 25 
  • Prairie Elementary School, suburban with urban characteristics, Kildeer-Countryside CCSD 96 (Buffalo Grove)
  • Rogers Elementary School, small city or town in a rural area, Waterloo CUSD 5 
  • Romona Elementary School, suburban, Wilmette SD 39 
  • Thomas Dooley Elementary School, suburban, Schaumburg CCSD 54 

Federal education officials honored these schools among the 292 public and 50 non-public school award winners nationwide at a ceremony held Nov. 6-7 in Washington, D.C. Each school received an award plaque and a flag as symbols of their accomplishments. In its 35-year history, more than 8,500 schools in the United States have received the Blue Ribbon Schools award.
    More information about the program and the award winners can be found on the program’s official website

    Friday, January 5, 2018

    Save the date for Division Dinner Meetings

    IASB’s 2018 Spring Division Dinner Meetings are set to begin February 27, running through March and into April.

    Each of the 21 meetings will offer networking opportunities and updates from Association staff, division directors, and division chairs. 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.

    Below is the schedule of dates and locations for the 21 Division Dinner Meetings. Speakers, topics, and complete registration information will be announced at a later date.

    2018 Spring Division Dinner Meetings





    Tuesday, February 27

    Wabash Valley

    Effingham CUSD 40

    Thursday, March 1


    Champaign CUSD 4

    Thursday, March 1


    Geneva CUSD 304

    Thursday, March 1


    Monmouth-Roseville CUSD 238

    Tuesday, March 6

    Abe Lincoln

    Clinton CUSD 15

    Tuesday, March 6

    Corn Belt

    Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley CUSD 5

    Tuesday, March 6


    Elmhurst CUSD 205

    Tuesday, March 6


    Mt. Vernon THSD 201

    Tuesday, March 6

    West Cook

    Highlands MS, LaGrange-Highlands SD 106

    Wednesday, March 7


    Forrestville Valley CUSD 221, Forreston

    Wednesday, March 7

    South Cook

    Orland Chateau, Orland Park

    Thursday, March 8

    Two Rivers

    Liberty CUSD 2

    Tuesday, March 13


    Meridian CUSD 101, Mounds

    Wednesday, March 14


    Mundelein HSD 120

    Wednesday, March 21

    North Cook

    Township HSD 211, Palatine

    Thursday, March 22

    Central Illinois Valley

    Princeville CUSD 326

    Thursday, March 22

    Three Rivers

    Renaissance Center, Joliet

    Tuesday, March 27


    North Mac CUSD 34

    Wednesday, March 28


    Highland CUSD 5

    Thursday, March 29


    East Moline SD 37

    Wednesday, April 11

    Starved Rock

    Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club, LaSalle


    Thursday, January 4, 2018

    Seek to improve leadership and strategy at ‘Conference on Enterprise Excellence’

    The Conference on Enterprise
    Excellence will explore the Baldrige
    Framework for Performance Excellence.
    If your district leadership team is looking for best practices, new strategies, and ways to improve performance in nearly all areas of leadership, the Conference on Enterprise Excellence may offer an opportunity.

    The single-day conference will explore ways for Illinois school districts to grow and improve by using the Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence. The proven techniques, named for performance-excellence guru Malcolm Baldrige, a former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, allow stakeholders to impact district goals, planning, and results. The framework offers a comprehensive approach toward improvement by engaging the school district to share more in the decision-making process.

    Using an array of data, success stories have shown that the Baldrige Framework allows for specific, result-oriented achievement of district goals, thus improving stakeholder satisfaction.

    Superintendent Bill Shields, Community Consolidated School District 93 (Bloomingdale), was an early subscriber to the framework, watching his district and the community reap numerous benefits. CCSD 93 has seen sustained improvements under the Baldrige structure, earning the district the 2014 Bronze Award for Commitment to Excellence and the 2016 Silver Award for Progress toward Excellence.

    Since the organization-wide adoption of the framework, CCSD 93 has increased shared decision making, improved the community view of the district as leaders and role models, shown a significant rise in stakeholder satisfaction that has resulted in all-time-high survey results, and created a more focused pursuit of student engagement. For more details examine the CCSD 93 success story.  

    The Conference on Enterprise Excellence will take place Feb. 22 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m., with programming to include a number of breakout sessions led by industry leaders, the sharing of best practices by 2016 Award of Excellence winners, plus a networking lunch, and a keynote address (TBA).

    Individual registration is available here at a cost of $129.

    Wednesday, January 3, 2018

    News from ISBE

    Evidence-based funding (EBF) answers provided
    School leaders are being asked to
    continue to send questions on EBF.
    Under the state’s new evidence-based funding (EBF) structure, school districts furthest from adequate school funding will receive more support, and those at or above adequacy will receive less additional funding. ISBE staff are working to calculate the tier funding every district will receive in addition to the base funding minimum (hold harmless). The state agency reports it is on track to voucher the new tiered funding by April, and officials are asking school leaders to continue to send questions about EBF to This will also help as ISBE staff regularly update their Evidence-Based Funding Frequently Asked Questions webpage. Meanwhile, the state’s “Understanding the Evidence-Based Formula Distribution Calculation” webinar modules offer additional information about the processes for determining a district’s adequacy target and local resources, and the plan for distributing state funds.

    ESSA planning guidance now available
    The Illinois State Board of Education is now two years in to Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) work and guidance is being provided to local school leaders. ISBE submitted the Illinois ESSA State Plan this past spring after 16 months of collaboration and development and over 100 stakeholder meetings. The U.S. Department of Education approved the Illinois State Plan, which includes a new accountability system, on August 30, 2016. ESSA requires each local school district to account on its Report Card: “The per-pupil expenditures of federal, state, and local funds, including actual personnel expenditures and actual non-personnel expenditures of federal, state, and local funds, disaggregated by source of funds,” both by district and for each school building, for the preceding fiscal year. This reporting requirement is being implemented for school year 2018-19. To learn more about the requirement, including what can be done now to prepare for it, see the recent presentation for school leaders at

    'Leading by Learning' highlights new Journal

    The January/February 2018 issue of The Illinois School Board Journal features “Leading by Learning,” continuing the 2017 theme by featuring review, commentary, and plenty of photos from the Joint Annual Conference.

    The Journal also includes a reflection from retired IASB Communications Department boss James Russell and a story on the importance of professional development for all educators. Additionally in this issue, we can all learn from local and state response to the catastrophic damage Hurricane Harvey brought to school districts in Texas. We thank Roger White from TASB, the Texas Association of School Boards, for sharing the story with Illinois readers. Watch your mailbox for the print edition, or click on the embedded version below to read the digital edition of the Journal.

    Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    Illinois Channel shares video
    from 2017 Conference events

    Selected interviews and panel presentations from the 2017 Joint Annual Conference were recorded and produced by the Illinois Channel. Some of the videos listed below were also broadcast live during the event.

    The Illinois Channel is a 501 c (3) nonprofit corporation, modeled after C-SPAN, which produces video programming on state government, politics, and public policy. It produces original programming for broadcast on cable access channels across the state, and on its website and YouTube channel.

    For more information, visit