Friday, May 25, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-69

In a busy legislative week in the State Capitol, lawmakers rushed to move the remainder of their legislation as the scheduled session adjournment date nears. The legislature is set to conclude its business by the end of the month. Both chambers of the General Assembly cancelled scheduled session for this weekend and will return to Springfield late afternoon on Monday, May 28. While there has been positive news surrounding the development of a budget, the General Assembly will only have four session days to complete its business and pass a budget plan and appropriations before the end of May.

This week, the Alliance and its partners in the Evidence-Based Funding reforms testified before the House Elementary and Secondary Appropriation Committee. Alliance executives were also joined by local superintendents to testify about what improvements to education they can make with greater support from the State of Illinois. The minimum needed to fund the evidence based funding model for Fiscal Year 2019 is $400 million with $350 million going to the funding model and $50 for a property tax rebate system that is part of the negotiated law. During the hearing, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) also testified to the need for an additional $7 billion to bring all Illinois school districts to adequacy.

With the clock ticking persistently towards the end of session on May 31, a number of bills were approved by the General Assembly to be sent on to the Governor for his approval.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-69, including information on two significant bills containing potential new mandates, Vision 20/20 initiatives, and other legislative action from the week. 

Officer nominations sought

The nominating committee of the Illinois Association of School Boards is seeking candidates for the offices of president and vice president.

The following criteria will be used by the committee in considering nominees:

•    leadership experience and participation in IASB activities
•    leadership on a local school board
•    involvement with other education-related organizations
•    other leadership experiences
•    special talent or interests of benefit to IASB as now constituted

Nominating forms are due to be submitted by early August, and candidates will be interviewed that same month. A slate of candidates will be presented to the Delegate Assembly meeting in Chicago at the 2018 Joint Annual Conference in November.

To request necessary forms, interested candidates should email: or phone 217/528-9688, ext. 1143.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wide assortment of panel
discussions on tap in ‘Carousel’

Many of the scores of school districts that submitted Joint Annual Conference panel proposals will be presenting their chosen topics during IASB’s 2018 Carousel of Panels. The event, to be held on Nov. 17, 2018, will feature approximately 30 participants in three successive half-hour presentations. This format gives attendees a chance to gather information on a wide range of subjects in a short amount of time.

Some of the general topics, although not the final titles, to be included in the Carousel this year, along with the panel presenters, are:

  • Authentic, Relevant Engagement of the Greater Community – STEM Outreach, P-20 Engagement, Northern Illinois University
  • Boosting Student Growth and Engagement with GRR! – Woodridge SD 68
  • Concussions and Head Injuries: Planning and Responding  – Whitt Law LLC
  • Discussing Illinois’ New Principal Preparation Program – Aurora University
  • Include Stakeholders in Talented and Gifted Placement Appeals – Oak Grove SD 68, Green Oaks
  • Increasing Principals’ Times and Capacity for School Improvement – ROE 17 and ROE 28
  • Increasing the Engagement of Culturally Diverse Families – Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123
  • Is Your School District Website ADA Compliant? – Fremont SD 79, Mundelein
  • Legal Layoffs: Following the Law While Improving Education – Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd.
  • Redefining Success with a Personalized Learner Profile – The ECRA Group
  • Strategic Planning: Strong Schools Build Strong Communities – Paris Union SD 95
  • University and Schools Connect for Student Success – STEM Outreach, P-20 Engagement, Northern Illinois University
  • Trauma-Informed Practices, Social Capital – ROE 39 and ROE 11
  • Why Rural Matters – Virginia CUSD 64
  • 21st Century Climate Resiliency Solutions for K-12 Schools – Champaign CUSD 4
  • #MeToo – Preventing and Mitigating Workplace Harassment – Hauser, Izzo, Petrarca, Gleason & Stillman, LLC

A full description of these and all other Conference panels and programming will be available in the Conference Preview, to be posted online in September.

Online conference registration and housing is expected to open in early June. This year’s event will be IASB’s 86th Joint Annual Conference with the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) and Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Alliance Call to Action


A bill is moving through the Illinois legislature that would require mandatory salary increases for teachers statewide. SB 2892 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) provides that under the Minimum Salary section of the School Code schools would be required to pay teachers an annual salary increase, up to $40,000 over 5 school years if they are receiving a salary less than $40,000 per year. The schedule looks like this:
  • A minimum of $32,076 for 2019-2020
    • $34,576 for 2020-2021
    • $37,076 for 2021-2022
    • $40,000 for 2022-2023
  • The bill further adds that for each school year thereafter, an automatic salary increase would be required including the minimum salary rate for the previous school year increased by the Consumer Price Index.

Illinois has a collective bargaining law that empowers local school boards, together with their teachers and support staff, to set salaries in consideration of the revenues available to run their schools. School leaders and staff must take into consideration all aspects of its budget and make very difficult decisions to provide an effective education program that meets the needs of all students.

A top-down approach to MANDATE a minimum salary for one group of employees within the school setting, without fully funding the increases, will cause layoffs, dismissals, and program cuts across the board in Illinois schools. Additionally, programs required to meet state and federal education standards will suffer as there will not be enough qualified staff or programming to meet student needs.

School leaders SUPPORT their teachers! This proposal will not help teachers and support staff, it will wreak havoc after Illinois just passed school funding reform that has put Illinois “Back-on-Track” to funding our schools.

It is imperative that you contact your state representative and ask for a NO VOTE on SB 2892!

1. Click here to send a note to your legislator. Please edit the message to include the financial impact of this legislation on your school district. “This measure will cost our district $___ dollars to comply, which could mean laying off staff, cutting programs, etc.” Information regarding how much this mandate will cost your district and cuts that would have to be considered to comply are most compelling.

2. Please SHARE THE FINANCIAL IMPACT OF THIS LEGISLATION with your legislators and with us at

Monday, May 21, 2018

Vision 20/20 to refocus in summer of 2018

With new money flowing to schools across the state via the Evidence-Based Funding formula, Illinois Vision 20/20 will begin a process to refocus efforts on other public education priorities while continuing to advocate for the necessary dollars to meet adequacy targets for every school district.

“We’ve certainly made a lot of progress over the last few years in achieving the goals envisioned when Vision 20/20 was launched,” said IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy. “The Evidenced-Based Funding formula is obviously at the forefront of those accomplishments, but we’ve also worked to address teacher reciprocity and varied accountability in the Balanced Accountability pillar.”

Launched in the summer of 2013 with the goal of providing a more equitable and adequate education for children in every region of the state, the initiative has been a success in achieving many of its goals. The four pillars, Equitable and Adequate Funding, Highly Effective Educators, 21st Century Learning, and Shared Accountability, will remain but be repurposed with updated legislative proposals.

Eddy said Vision 20/20 architects and contributors from throughout the state will identify additional proposals to alleviate the ongoing teacher shortage, expand access to high-speed internet for districts, and suggest ways to improve school safety.

“It’s also important that we continue to monitor the initiatives that have been signed into law. For example, the new funding model is intended to get districts to 90 percent of their adequacy target in 10 years. To meet that goal, Illinois schools will need approximately $350 million in new education dollars each year added to the state budget while we also protect local revenue sources. It will be important for Vision 20/20 supporters to continue to advocate for that funding and show how the new formula is contributing to student success,” he added.

In addition to a refocused effort, Illinois Vision 20/20 has a new director. Ralph Grimm, a former superintendent of four western Illinois school districts, has indicated the initiative will have both short- and long-term goals. 

In a newsletter highlighting achievements of the campaign, Grimm announced plans to conduct a revisioning meeting in early August: “The purpose of the meeting will be threefold. First, the success of Vision 20/20 will be highlighted and celebrated. Second, participants will review the four pillars and the original concepts that were adopted for further action. Additional issues within each of the pillars will be identified for possible legislative action. Third, participants will identify those issues that should be moved forward for additional consideration.”

More information and updates on the initiative will be posted on the Illinois Vision 20/20 website and announced on Twitter @ILVision2020

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-68

Many pieces of legislation that infringe on local decision making and increase costs for school districts are still moving through the Illinois General Assembly as we move closer to the scheduled adjournment day of May 31st. We encourage you to take special notice of the mandates covered in this report, as well as our previous Alliance Legislative Reports, and reach out to your state legislators to oppose legislation that negatively impacts school finances and local curricular determination.

When both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly meet next, there will only be 10 days remaining to get a Fiscal Year 2019 budget in place before the legislative deadline. While there may not be agreement among all parties on a budget, there are more discussions and negotiations taking place, albeit behind closed doors, than in years past. The four legislative leaders met with the Governor on a few occasions this week to plot the course for the next fiscal year as well as discuss a potential supplemental appropriation for this fiscal year. 

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-68, including floor and committee action and information on an IEPA settlement with Volkswagen that could result in transportation upgrade funds.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Court ruling upholds school district protections from liability

In a major case upholding school district protection from liability, the Illinois First District Appellate Court recently ruled that Chicago District 299 is immune under Section 2-201 of the state’s so-called Tort Immunity Act from a lawsuit.

The lawsuit involved a high school student allegedly attacked by another student off campus. Student Elizabeth Castillo and her family had charged the district with failing to discipline the alleged attacker in compliance with the School Code’s bullying prevention statute, and failing to prevent an attack through “supervisory” actions.

According to the decision filed on April 24, however, Section 2-201 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10-2-201) shields school districts from such a lawsuit. The law applies to public employees, including school employees, performing discretionary functions.

The court noted that Castillo’s “failure to discipline” claim involving Section 2-201 of the Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10-2-201) “only mandates that every school district create a policy on bullying; it does not mandate that a school respond to a particular instance of bullying in a particular way.” But because implementation of the district’s anti-bullying policy required both discretion and decision making by school officials, the Court found that the district was immune under Section 2-201 of the Tort Immunity Act.

Castillo’s “failure to prevent" claim involved Section 4-201 of the Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/4-201), which provides that neither a public entity nor its employees are liable for failure to provide police protection service. Illinois courts have repeatedly held that school officials are immune from suit when a student is harmed off-campus, even if school officials knew that violence was likely. Castillo attempted to distinguish her case by arguing she did not allege the district should have acted in the role of police to prevent Martinez’s the off campus attack, but that it should have protected her through “supervisory” actions. The Court did not buy this argument, stating there is no case distinguishing Castillo’s suggested actions as “supervisory” instead of “police,” and that the “supervisory” actions Castillo suggested could “inevitably slide into the area of school discipline,” which is covered by Section 2-201 immunity.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Governor unveils gun safety proposals

Through the use of a sweeping amendatory veto of existing gun legislation, Governor Bruce Rauner has introduced a list of new measures regarding gun safety – with specific provisions for school safety.

HB 1468, approved by the House of Representatives in February and by the Senate in March, sat on the governor’s desk until the last possible day for gubernatorial action. As passed by the legislature, the bill simply extended the 72 hour waiting period currently required before the purchase of hand guns to the purchase of assault rifles.

On May 14, the governor issued his amendatory veto with his comprehensive “specific recommendations for change.” One provision would allow for receipts that schools receive from the County School Facilities Sales Tax to be used for the costs of school resource officers (SRO) and mental health professionals. Currently, funds from the county-wide sales tax can only be used for school facility purposes.

The bill will now head back to the legislature where both chambers will have to accept the governor’s changes before it could become law.

For counties that have already adopted the county-wide sales tax for school facilities, they would have to go back to the voters to ask for authorization to also use the funds for SROs and mental health professionals. In the future, counties that have the sales tax question on the ballot would specify whether the receipts could be used for school facilities, SROs and mental health professionals, or both. Also, for those counties that impose the sales tax in the future, the county could place on the ballot a referendum on whether or not the tax should be reduced in rate or discontinued.

Other provisions proposed by the governor include

  • Requiring a 72 hour waiting period before the purchase of any firearm;
  • Allowing for family members and law enforcement to identify individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others to petition a court to disarm those individuals;
  • Strengthening laws regarding charging individuals with the most serious offense in cases involving the illegal use or possession of a firearm; and
  • Imposing the death penalty in cases of deliberately killing a law enforcement officer or committing mass murder.

Updates on how the legislature proceeds with HB 1468 will be provided in the Alliance Legislative Reports.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

News from ISBE

A panel discussion is the format of the new video now online.
Site-based expenditure reporting – new video to assist district leaders
The state is sharing a new video on site-based expenditure reporting, produced in cooperation with the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, and the Illinois Principals Association. It details some immediate recommended actions, and features accounting tips and tricks that may be useful in the new expenditure reporting process that begins next year.

ISBE previously shared suggestions for a number of actions district leaders can take to greatly lighten their load when site-based expenditure reporting begins next year. Those tips are included in a Suggested District Implementation Timeline in fiscal year 2019.  

Evidence-Based Funding enrollment verification window closes May 15
ISBE is administering a one-time, supplemental enrollment verification process for school year 2018 fall and spring enrollment counts. Please note the deadline is extended to May 15, 2018, at 4 p.m. The new funding formula funds all districts in relation to each other, so it is important to ensure accurate enrollment counts statewide.

ISBE begins processing the enrollment file on May 16, 2018. The state will use this enrollment data to determine EBF tier funding for FY 2019.

For answers to specific questions, or to solve technical difficulties, please reference the Verification Tool User Guide and Enrollment Verification FAQs, both available on the EBF Enrollment webpage. Feel free to direct questions to or call the ISBE Data Strategies and Analytics team at 217/782-3950 or the ISBE SIS team at 217/558-3600, option 3.

Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education vacancies
Have an interest in helping improve bilingual education to better serve English-language learners? Then you may be interested in being considered for appointment to the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education (IACBE). To be considered, submit a letter of interest and resume to Samuel Aguirre at by June 15.

By law, under 105 ILCS 5/14C-13, the  State Superintendent of Education appoints members to the IACBE, which currently has two vacancies. Meanwhile the terms of five additional members will be expiring on June 30, 2018. For inquiries, please contact ISBE’s Samuel Aguirre at or call 312/814-3058.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-67


Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly were back in Springfield this week to take up legislation in hopes of sending bills to the Governor that would become law. While there was action on bills in committees and on the House and Senate floors, no public action was taken on a budget. With less than three weeks to go before scheduled adjournment, budget talks are still going on behind closed doors. With more available revenue than in years past, it would seem a budget agreement would be easier to reach this year. However, nothing tends to be easy in the current adversarial environment of Illinois state government. School board members and administrators are encouraged to advocate with lawmakers for making education the priority in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget and provide additional new funding as required in the evidence based funding model.

Contact your State Representative and urge a NO VOTE on Senate Bill 486 and Senate Bill 2572
SB 486 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) is pending before the Illinois House and needs input from school leaders. The bill would limit resources for school districts and other local taxing bodies as it makes changes to how assessment and taxation of solar energy systems are calculated. 
By modeling SB 486 after Division 18 of the Property Tax Code (PA 95-644, Wind Farms), commercial solar farm developers would see a reduction in the real property cost basis, from between $500,000 and $2 million, to $439,200 per megawatt of capacity. Unfortunately, SB 486 attempts to go significantly further in limiting resources for school districts and other taxing bodies by setting a real property cost basis of only $199,000 per megawatt of capacity.
In its current form, SB 486 offers developers and owners of commercial solar energy systems preferential assessment and property tax treatment, in addition to the generous renewable energy credits they already receive, to the detriment of local taxing bodies and their constituents. SB 486 should be amended to reflect Division 18 of the Property Tax Code (PA 95-644), which provides a proven, uniform method for assessing other renewable energy in Illinois.
Please take a few minutes to contact your State Representative and ask them to vote NO so that negotiations can continue on this important, timely legislation. 
SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) would undo the Physical Education flexibility that school districts were granted earlier this school year under the evidence based funding reform measures. Current law requires school districts to teach P.E. three days a week. The proposed legislation would remove the three days a week requirement and would institute a 150 minute a week minimum. The 150 minutes requirement is not flexible and does not account for weeks with fewer than five days of attendance. School districts would have to change schedules often to accommodate P.E. It would also force school districts to prioritize P.E. over other courses.  Once again, please take a few minutes to share with your State Representative the possible impact on your local school district if this bill would become law and ask them to vote NO.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-67, including committee action from last week and committee schedules for next week. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

School board members appointed to state panel charged with reviewing funding formula

The Evidence-Based Funding Model has four key components.
Two appointees who represent school boards will be joining 22 other education leaders on the state Professional Review Panel. Dr. Nakia Hall, school board member of Crete-Monee School District 201-U, and Rhys Fullerlove, board president of Sherrard Community Unit School District 200, were named to the oversight panel by State Superintendent Tony Smith.

The Professional Review Panel was a part of Senate Bill 1947 (PA 100-465), the legislation that created the Evidence-Based Funding Model. Members of the group will be charged with reviewing the implementation and effectiveness of the new funding formula, and making any necessary recommendations to recalibrate the distribution system. They will also advise on future study topics and modifications to the Evidence-Based Model.

The Review Panel’s first meeting will take place on June 26 in Springfield at the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) office. A full list of panel members is available on ISBE’s website.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fifteenth Edition of Illinois School Law book
answers legal questions of educators and laymen

A new edition of the popular Illinois School Law Survey has been published by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB).

Authored by noted school attorney Brian Braun, it serves as a convenient reference tool for common school law issues, and is available in both print and digital versions. Its question-and-answer format allows readers to find answers to questions facing or posed by school superintendents, principals, school boards, and the general public.

The book has been updated bi-annually since 1990 to stay current with changes in state and federal laws, and reflect the impact of new court cases relevant to school law. In the Fifteenth Edition, answers are based on legislation and court decisions as of January 1, 2018, and administrative rules and regulations current as of December 15, 2017.

Key features that enable readers to quickly find what they need include a Table of Contents listing broad topics covered in each chapter, a Quick Reference Index with subjects of more narrow focus, and a Table of Court Cases compiling all court decisions cited in the book.

Click here to preview the index.

A unique code to register for online access to a digital version of the book is included with each printed book purchase. This online format includes entire text of the book’s 27 chapters, along with links to easily navigate from the Table of Cases or Index to relevant questions. The digital version also contains links to statutes, regulations, court decisions, and more.

The Illinois School Law Survey can be purchased from the IASB Online Bookstore at for $60 (IASB members pay $48) plus $7 per order for shipping. For more ordering information, contact IASB publications by dialing ext. 1108 at either 217/528-9688 or 630/629-3776.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Safety panel's best practice recommendations 'really good'

Recently released “best practice” recommendations of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force School Safety Working Group “are really good, and cover most of what school districts need to do to make schools safe,” according to IASB Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm, a working group member.

Schwarm said districts should take a look at the 12 recommendations released by the select working group on April 5, 2018, which detail how school districts can best protect students and staff from violence, particularly the threat of an active shooter.

The recommendations, which contain no mandates, focus on three main categories: behavioral threat assessment, hardening of facilities, and response protocol in schools.

“Many of these recommendations would take little to no cost to implement and, as noted in the working group report, can have a strong impact on overall school safety and security,” Schwarm said.

More information on the broader topic of school safety is listed on the IASB website.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Professional learning for school leaders focuses on equity work in education

School board members and superintendents from around the state gathered for a day of learning centered on the what, why, and how of equity issues in education.

The Equity Event, presented by the Illinois Association of School Boards, was offered exclusively to school board members and superintendents from IASB member districts at no charge. More than 200 participants from 80 districts registered for the April 28 event.

“Professional development and continuous learning are paramount to the mission of IASB,” said Roger Eddy, executive director for the Illinois Association of School Boards. “This event provided board members with a better understanding of what equity looks like in their district and the board’s responsibility to ensure equitable outcomes for children in the communities they serve.”

Heather Hackman, an expert in social justice issues, provided participants with a conceptual framework for equity and challenged them to view their work through an equity lens.

Several districts are doing this work, leading the way in establishing an equity lens.

“Everyday Equity” panelists included representatives from
Superintendent Theresa Rouse and Board President Jeffrey Pritz
(Joliet PSD 86), Superintendent Ed Condon and Board President
Ralph Martire (River Forest SD 90), and Superintendent Carmen
Ayala and Board President Adam Mounce (Berwyn North SD 98).
In one panel presentation, three Illinois districts talked about their equity journeys, including deliberate steps at the board level and policy implications. Panelists included Superintendent Theresa Rouse and Board President Jeffrey Pritz from Joliet PSD 86, Superintendent Ed Condon and Board President Ralph Martire fro m River Forest SD 90, and Superintendent Carmen Ayala and Board President Adam Mounce from Berwyn North SD 98.

In another panel, board presidents shared stories of leadership in equity issues and the impact equity work has had on their school systems. Consultant Corrie Wallace presented with two board presidents, Suni Kartha from Evanston/Skokie SD 65 and Pat Savage-Williams from Evanston THSD 202.
Afternoon panel featured board presidents Suni Kartha (Evanston/Skokie SD
65) and Pat Savage-Williams (Evanston THSD 202) with consultant Corrie Wallace.
Steve Pemberton, author of A Chance in the World, closed the day with his personal journey of perseverance and resilience, inspiring participants to be remembered for standing in the gap.
Board members from Lindop SD 92 posed with author Steve Pemberton. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-66


The Illinois Senate was in session this week, busy both moving bills out of committees and passing bills on the chamber floor. The House of Representatives was off this week following its House bill deadline last Friday. Both chambers are scheduled to return next week and work Tuesday through Friday. Next Friday is the Senate deadline to consider House bills in Senate committees.


The Senate this week approved three bills that would place new requirements on local school districts. Each of these bills has been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

SB 3249 (Steans, D-Chicago) would add to the current list of items to be included in the public school History of the United States curriculum the “roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this state.” Further, the bill would require that all textbooks approved must be non-discriminatory as to any of the characteristics under the Illinois Human Rights Act and must include the roles and contributions of all people protected under that Act. The bill was approved by the full Senate on a vote of 34-18.

SB 2428 (Stadelman, D-Rockford) requires every school to provide a federally reimbursable meal or snack to a student who makes the request, regardless of whether the student has the ability to pay or owes money for meals or snacks. If a student owes money for meals or snacks that is in excess of the equivalent of the amount charged a student for five lunches, a school may contact the parent or guardian of the student to attempt collection of the amount owed. Further, schools may not publicly identify or stigmatize a student who cannot pay for a meal or snack or who owes money for a meal or snack such as the use of wrist bands, hand stamps, having the student sit in a separate location, or posting the name of the student. The bill was approved by the full Senate on a vote of 41-9-1.

SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) eliminates the changes in the requirements for Physical Education made under SB 1947 last year (moving the requirement from five days per week to three days per week), and sets a rigid time standard for PE of 150 minutes a week. The bill was approved by the full Senate on a vote of 36-14-1.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-66, including a number of bills acted on this week by the Senate and legislation to be considered next week.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May/June Journal offers call and response

 IASB Journal
The May/June issue of The Illinois School Board Journal considers the calls of 2018 — safety and security, community engagement, salaries, and technology — that are making headlines in the education world, and the responses a school district might have to each of these calls.

The issue includes the annual administrative salary update, which reports how superintendents and principals compare regionally, nationally, by gender, and by type of school district. IASB’s community engagement work continues with an updating of the original documents to reflect best practices and lessons learned since the program’s inception. The Journal also follows national gun violence headlines with “The school board’s role in responding to and preventing gun violence in schools,” by IASB Assistant General Counsel Maryam T. Brotine and “Prepare for the worst, plan for the best,” by Rick J. Kaufman, a nationally recognized expert in crisis communications.

Look for the May/June Journal in your mailbox, or click below to read the digital version.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Division governing meetings scheduled from late April to June

A full list of summer governing meetings
is now available on the IASB events calendar.
A number of IASB divisions will be hosting summer governing meetings over the coming months. While these division-level meetings serve the purpose of enabling collaboration among board members within the region, they also allow Association members the opportunity to offer input on future programing for division events.

The governing meetings are normally held once or twice a year, in summer and/or winter months. The field services director will facilitate a discussion with division members to identify topics of interest and importance. The suggested topics will be prioritized and used to schedule speakers and other programing for fall and spring division dinner meetings.

Governing meeting agendas also focus on maintaining association governance and include resolutions and field services reports, as well as roundtable discussion.

All school board members and superintendents from the division are welcome to attend and participate in the meetings. A full list of summer governing meetings is available on the IASB events calendar, along with registration information.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-65


In one of the busiest weeks of the legislative session, hundreds of bills passed out of their original chamber and now await action on the other side of the rotunda. The deadlines set by the leaders in each chamber provide for a flurry of activity as legislators try to keep their legislation moving through the process.

Earlier in the week, the Alliance sent out a call to action on three bills, SB 3418, HB 4789, and HB 5572. Thanks to your efforts on these three important issues, two of the three bills (HB 5572 and HB 4789) were called for a vote and were defeated by wide margins. While SB 3418 was not called for a vote, it is important to keep working the bills as deadlines could be extended to allow for extra time for passage.

With just under five weeks left until the May 31st adjournment deadline, there does not seem to be significant movement on a budget. Adding to the pressure of the pending deadline, the Illinois House of Representatives is not scheduled to be in session next week. The Senate will return to Springfield Tuesday, May 1.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-65, including the full bill action this week and bills scheduled for committee next week.

Friday, April 27, 2018

PRESS, PRESS Plus, and School Board Policies Online maintenance notice

On Friday, April 27 from 8 – 9 p.m. PRESS, PRESS Plus, and manuals published with School Board Policies Online will be unavailable while the system undergoes maintenance updates. IASB apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause to members and users of these services. For additional information or questions please contact Brian Zumpf by email at

Lunch and Learn webinars
continue in early May

IASB will continue its free online learning opportunities for Association members with two new webinars scheduled for early May. The first, “Democracy IS Conflict: Is yours Productive or Unproductive,” will take place at noon on Tuesday, May 3.

Larry Dirks, an IASB field services director, will take a unique look at the issue of board conflict. Beginning with the concept that all school boards will at some point experience conflict, Dirks will explain how the values of board members influence discussions and decisions, and how those same values can contribute to productive and unproductive conflict on the school board.

Staying with the democracy theme, the governmental relations department will present “How to Write an Effective IASB Resolution – Take Action to Make Change” at noon on Monday, May 7. The webinar, led by Governmental Relations Directors Deanna Sullivan and Zach Messersmith, will dive into the IASB resolutions process and explain how board members can shape public school policy at the state and national levels.

The IASB Lunch and Learn webinar series has proved successful since its launch, with nearly 800 school officials taking advantage of the professional development opportunities.

Registration is available through IASB's Online Learning Center. Visit the IASB website, and select the yellow "My Account" button to log in, then choose the Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

An archived version of the webinar will become available 24 to 48  hours after the live event.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Alliance Call to Action




There are three initiatives pending before the Illinois House and Senate that need input from school management. Please take a few minutes to respond and share the possible impact on local schools districts if these bills would become law.

HB 5572 (Ives, R-Wheaton) is designed to prohibit a school district from refinancing debt past the repayment period of the original issue, issuing bonds beyond the time period established when the debt was issued, and incurring any kind of debt in excess of 13.8% (units) or 6.9% (duals) of the district's 2017 equalized assessed valuation (EAV) or the district's maximum amount of debt on the effective date of this Act, whichever is greater.

The effects of this bill on local schools will be significant! Please share the impact of this limitation on your schools with your lawmaker. The bill:

  • Includes interest (which is not "borrowed money") and alternate revenue bonds in a school district's debt limit, both of which are currently exempted from the debt limit. No other state in the country considers interest to be part of debt. 
  • Includes interest in a school district's debt limit calculation which would automatically push many districts over their debt limit.
  • Severely restricts a school district's ability to restructure debt to respond to current economic climates and provide debt relief to taxpayers at times when tax rates are too high for communities to sustain.

Remind your representative that safeguards are already provided for in Illinois Statute:
  • The annual debt service levied is for referendum bonds, approved by the voters in referendum; andfor non-referendum bonds, limited to the debt service extension base, a fixed annual amount which can only be adjusted by referendum. Therefore the district's debt burden is already limited by law and voter approval 
  • The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) currently monitors long-term and short-term debt limitations via the Financial Profile Score reporting 
  • Debt issues are currently limited to a 20-year repayment period unless the district secures a legislative exemption due to extenuating circumstances. In these cases, an additional 5 or 10 years added to the repayment period is still significantly less than the useful life of a new building 
  • PA 100-503 just passed in 2017 and effective January 2018 provides for additional statutory requirements 
Please contact your State Representative and urge a NO VOTE on HB 5572.

HB 4789 (Breen, R-Lombard) would be virtually impossible for school districts to comply with. The bill:
  • Reduces the current 5 percent administrator cap to the lesser of 5 percent or CPI
  • Establishes three separate cost limits and broadens the current definition of "administration" to now include support costs and those for principals, deans, and even teacher leaders 
  • Changes the limit from one based on actual costs of administration to one based on the per pupil costs of administration 
  • Establishes 2018-19 baselines for the two new administrative categories based on 2001 census increased by CPI and the 2015 census increased by CPI, respectively.
 This proposal will hurt smaller districts and those with flat or declining enrollment. Even if those districts are able to reduce administrative expenditures, they will find it difficult, if not impossible, to keep per pupil costs below CPI. Holding districts to 2001 and 2015 cost baselines is simply unfair. It's retroactive punishment without any knowledge or ability to comply.

Please contact your State Representative and urge a NO VOTE on HB 4789.

SB 3418 (Rezin, R-Peru) sets limitations for school districts entering into joint agreements to share the services of a superintendent. The bill also creates a referendum process to attempt to force school districts into joint agreements to share administrative services. 
  • SB 3418 is presented as a cost-saving measure, but it takes away local control and the end result could actually cost school districts more
  • Locally elected school boards already have the power to enter into a joint agreement to share administrative services and costs
  • Unnecessarily forcing administrators to spread their duties across multiple school districts will likely result in requiring additional compensation, or the hiring of additional administrative staff
  • With legislation pending to limit school administrative costs (HB 4789), this measure could place school districts in the dangerous position of being required to share administrative services, but limited in their ability to adequately compensate staff for additional duties.
Please contact your State Senator and urge a NO VOTE on SB 3418.

Consider using these links to register your positions. Be sure to make your response reflect facts about your school district. Click on the link, enter your zip code or address and follow the prompts. Our Illinois Principals Association partner provided these links for our use.

National tech award recognizes three districts

School leaders from Lindop School District 92
(Broadview) were joined by district tech coordinators
in accepting the award at NSBA's conference April 7.
Three Illinois school districts are among the 42 district winners of a national award for technology use that recognizes school boards for innovating by investing in tech tools and learning models for the next generation.

The largest Illinois winner in the Center for Digital Education’s and National School Boards Association’s annual technology awards is Township High School District 214 (Arlington Heights). The district was one of just 14 large districts (12,000 students or more) to win the 2018 award.

Two other Illinois districts are among 14 small district winners (3,000 students or less): Lindop School District 92 (Broadview), and Mannheim School District 83 (Franklin Park).

Board members at THSD 214, a high school district with more than 12,000 students in grades 9-12 in the Arlington Heights area, earned praise for demonstrating continuing commitment to promulgating the best use of school technology, using approaches that have won awards in the national competition for nine consecutive years.

The Lindop school board, governing a P-8 district with more than 400 students, was recognized for providing iPads for all students in grades 2 through 5, and providing Chromebooks for all students in grades 6 through 8. The board also won praise for approving a STEM and robotics program where students develop their knowledge and capacity to become next-generation engineers. District 92 is one of just two districts enrolling 3,000 students or less to win the award the past six years in a row.

Mannheim D83 received the small-district award, as well, winning for the first time; the district was honored for its 1 to 1 program that provides digital learning devices to all students. The program has been enthusiastically supported by the school board, which also has provided infrastructure to guide and monitor student use of technology. Students in District 83 have been learning to write digital code on their devices, and sharing their tech savvy with parents at a yearly community learning night at school.

“School boards are embracing technology initiatives that help them govern more effectively and empower their districts to operate more efficiently,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director and chief executive officer for the National School Boards Association.

The Center for Digital Education bestows this annual award to the school boards/districts that most fully implement technology benchmarks in the evolution of digital education, as represented in survey questions. All U.S. public school districts are eligible to participate.

School districts’ use of technologies such as digital literacy training for parents, student-run technology support centers, robotic systems that record classroom teaching and learning, and data analytics earned top rankings in the survey.

View the full list of school districts honored here.  

Monday, April 23, 2018

Effingham shares model for empowering teachers

Effingham CUSD 40 principals Kurt Roberts, left, and Christy
Hild join Mattoon Superintendent Larry Lilly in a learning
exercise during the Teacher Leadership Lab in Effingham.
Photo by Keith Stewart, courtesy Effingham Daily News.
Effingham Community Unit School District 40 believes that teacher leadership and input regarding the learning process can significantly foster student achievement. The district’s model was one of three selected to be shared with other schools as part of a national Teacher Leadership Lab. 

The program consists of five pillars: control, empower, collaboration, application, and celebration. A key cornerstone for the district is the level of collaboration that occurs with teachers and students. Teachers periodically meet to discuss learning outcomes and objectives, and cooperative learning projects are designed to teach students problem-solving skills, teamwork, technological skills, and real-world applications. 

Melody Arabo of the U.S. Department of Education believes the district’s model holds promise regarding curriculum and instruction.

More than 180 educators, administrators, and other stakeholders attended the Leadership Lab on April 12 hosted by the Effingham district. Presentations included teachers showcasing various student team projects, for example, designing a moon colony and what supplies will be needed to survive for a year. Students were also in attendance to discuss how the method has impacted their learning.

George Couros
In a keynote presentation, consultant and author George Couros noted the importance of teaching students to be innovative so they can impact the world in meaningful ways. A key theme of his keynote was based on the concept of being willing to fail in order to properly learn.

Patrick Rice, IASB field services director, attended the event and noted the district’s success with this approach to student learning. “It encompasses higher order thinking skills allowing teachers and students to be creative with respect to how they learn and how they facilitate learning.”

Effingham CUSD 40’s program received national recognition last year at the Teacher Leadership Summit, a multistate regional conference of Teach to Lead where more than 300 schools applied to attend, but just 30 were chosen to present their ideas. The district was then one of three finalists selected to present a day-long leadership lab. 

Teach to Lead is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Education and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Their work is based in a belief that teachers are experts in schools and instruction, and as such, should be supported to lead the key changes and innovations that their students, colleagues, and profession deserve to do their best work every day. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-64

As the legislature worked steadily this week in the Capitol through the hundreds of superfluous bills and issues that lay before it, attention was being paid to some of the significant matters regarding public education. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate worked through the week, with both chambers returning next week to meet Monday through Friday.

Next Friday, April 27, is the deadline to have substantive bills considered on the floor of their respective chambers.

An Alliance initiative addressing the problem of school districts being penalized for the under levy of property taxes under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), HB 4958 (McDermed, R-Frankfort), was discussed in a House Revenue subcommittee. Though no vote was taken, it was a step in educating legislators about the issue. Two board members from Naperville CUSD 203 testified on behalf of the Alliance.

To keep up with the latest on legislative issues, please refer to past Alliance Legislative Reports and our library of legislative videos.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-64, including more on legislative response to the teacher shortage, school safety, student data privacy, and mandates. Also read the bill and committee action from the past week and look ahead to bills scheduled for committee next week. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

National student walkout scheduled
for April 20

School districts are anticipating a repeat of the March 14 walkouts in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The next walkout is scheduled for April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine school shooting.

Although the recent “March for our Lives” walkout was scheduled for 17 minutes, in memory of each of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting, the “National School Walkout” on April 20 will start at 10 a.m. local time and reportedly will last the entire day. It is unclear how many Illinois school districts will see walkouts on April 20, although the National Student Walkout website offers signups in several areas, including Chicago and suburbs, Champaign-Urbana, Rockford, Bloomington-Normal, and Peoria.

In March, school districts made determinations on handling student protests on the local level. Responses to the March for Our Lives varied in Illinois, including prohibiting walkouts, holding discussion assemblies at the scheduled protest time, and working with students to ensure safe and respectful protests.

More information on managing these events can be found on the IASB Blog, from the National School Boards Association, and on the Illinois State Board of Education website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Districts weigh referendum decisions for November 2018 ballot

The state elections board has updated its Election and Campaign Finance
Calendar, which indicates that the deadline for placing a school finance
referendum on the November 6, 2018 ballot is August 20, 2018.
It is not too early for districts to look into placing school finance referendums on the ballot for the next regularly scheduled election, to be held on November 6, 2018.

School leaders in Hawthorn Elementary District 73, for example, say they are considering placing a referendum on the November ballot that would increase property taxes to ease growing financial pressures resulting from increasing enrollment.  School leaders of District 73 are currently gauging public support through a series of community engagement meetings scheduled this month to discuss the squeeze from the district’s enrollment boom.

School leaders still have time to study their options on all such questions, as the deadline for school boards to certify a public policy question for the November 2018 election is August 20, 2018.

In the most recent elections, held March 20, 2018, voters approved two of four county school facilities sales tax proposals, 10 of 14 building bond issues, and two of four tax rate proposals. Additional historic data on school finance referenda results is available online.

Monday, April 16, 2018

ESSA webinar scheduled for school board members

IASB will continue its series of lunch and learn webinars on April 19 with, “The Essentials of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): What School Board Members Need to Know.”

Susan Hilton, IASB governmental relations director and federal advocacy coordinator, will walk board members through the ins-and-outs of ESSA, give an overview of the implementation process, and explain how the law may influence school board work.

The hour-long webinar will begin at noon on Thursday, April 19. Registration is available through IASB's Online Learning Center. Visit the IASB website, and select the yellow "My Account" button to log in, then choose the red Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

This will be the sixth webinar hosted by IASB, with additional online learning opportunities to be featured in early May.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-63

The Illinois General Assembly met its first deadline, as all bills must had to be considered by a committee today (Friday). Inevitably, some bills will have their deadlines extended, but committee volume will reduce drastically in the coming weeks, as legislators will debate bills on the floors of their respective chambers. The House of Representatives and Senate will both be back in session next Tuesday.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-63, inlcuding numerous education-related bills under consideration by the Illinois General Assembly.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Finance referendum results encouraging for most participating districts

With two new sales tax plans adopted in March,
half of all Illinois counties have approved such plans.
Most school finance questions fared well in the March 20 primary, as unofficial school referendum results show voters approved two of four local tax increase questions, ten of 14 building bond propositions, and two of four county sales tax plans.

One tax hike won approval in West Carrol CUSD 314, a 5-cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund. Another tax increase was approved in Mt. Prospect SD 57, with voters approving Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) ceiling increases that should raise 5.7 million additional dollars for the district’s education fund.

Voters failed, however, to pass a tax referendum in Limestone CHSD SD 310, a proposal that fell just 177 votes short (1,279-1,456). But a tax plan failed by an overwhelming margin (97-469) in West Lincoln-Broadwell Elementary SD 92, where the district had proposed to increase funds under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL).

As mentioned, bond issues were approved in ten school districts:

  • Athens CUSD 213, $11 million
  • Bureau Valley CUSD 340, $12 million
  • Central SD 51, Washington, $12 million
  • CHSD 99, Downers Grove,  $136.6 million 
  • Lake Zurich CUSD 95, $77.6 million
  • Maercker SD 60, Westmont, $28 million
  • Monticello CUSD 25, $29.8 million
  • Sandwich CUSD 430, $700,000
  • Tri-Valley CUSD 3, $15 million
  • Winnebago CUSD 323, $7.5 million 

Bond issues were defeated in four school districts:

  • Amboy CUSD District 272, $15.8 million
  • Minooka CCSD 201, $90 million
  • Mt. Pulaski CUSD 23, $15.7 million
  • Pennoyer School District 79, $25 million

Of the countywide sales tax increase proposals earmarked for school facility purposes, voters approved only two of four, in Richland, and Woodford counties. Two sales tax propositions were decided by narrow margins, with a 274-vote margin of victory (2,266-1,992) in Richland County, and a 639-vote margin of defeat (4,464-5,103) in Vermilion County. Meanwhile voters adopted a countywide sales tax for school facilities in Woodford County (4,523-3,389), but defeated such a sales tax in Madison County (14,966-27,523).  All four proposals called for a one-percent increase in the sales tax, all of it earmarked for school facility purposes.

To date, 51 counties have adopted a sales tax to benefit school facilities, half of the state’s 102 counties.

In other election-day action on school questions, voters rejected the lone school consolidation plan by a vote of 564 to 810. The plan was to combine Palestine CUSD 3 and Hutsonville CUSD 1.  The proposition passed in the Hutsonville district by a vote of 372 to 116, but it failed in Palestine by a vote of 192 to 694.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Panel releases school safety best practices

The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) has been participating in a select working group of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force on the issue of school safety. Working steadily over the past six weeks, the panel of safety experts from law enforcement (state, regional, local) and education organizations (IASB, Illinois Association of School Administrators, regional superintendents, Illinois State Board of Education, and three district administrators) has released its safety recommendations. You can find the full safety report on the IASB website.

Realizing the diversity of school districts across the state, including fiscal, geographical, and cultural differences, burdensome new requirements that would result in costly updates or impractical implementation were avoided. Rather, a heavily vetted list of recommended best practices and direct services provided to local school districts were included.

Safety issues were generally broken down into three categories: behavioral threat assessments, hardening of facilities, and response protocol in schools. Some of the recommendations highlight what is already required in statute (the School Safety Drill Act and the reciprocal reporting provisions of the School Code), in the IASB Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS), the Department of Homeland Security Guide for Developing High Quality School Emergency Operations Plans, and the National Crime Prevention Council’s crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) report.

Other provisions are new recommendations intended to assist school districts. Most school districts already have directive in their policy (available through PRESS) to develop procedures for behavioral threat assessment teams. The expertise, implementation, and veracity of these teams vary from school district to school district based on available local resources. One recommendation in this report is the establishment of regional teams made up of experts in mental health, law enforcement, and other disciplines that have been trained in behavioral threat assessment that would assist school districts, as necessary, at the request of the local district (with no cost to the district). Likewise, regional site assessment teams would be formed from local law enforcement, fire service, and emergency management agencies to visit schools and assess the buildings and grounds for potential safety problems. Again, this would be a resource provided only at the request of the local school district with no cost to the district.

Also provided in the report is a priority list for increasing security for school buildings and grounds. The list is broken into five tiers to help school districts determine basic needs, from the more elaborate – starting with doors, locks, and windows and ending with security personnel, access control systems, and metal detectors.

Superintendents, principals, safety personnel, and school board members are encouraged to review this report to assure security in their schools. Continue to review local school safety operations procedures, conduct safety drills (with encouragement to drill more than the minimum required in statute), and include local law enforcement and fire agencies in safety meetings, reviews, and drills.

No one cares more about the safety and health of the students in our schools than the locally elected school board members, staff, and faculty who serve them. This document is intended to provide the assistance necessary to improve safety procedures and facilities even more.

Illinois school boards share and learn at the 2018 National Conference

IASB delegates attend Delegate Assembly
Public education took center stage in San Antonio this past weekend for the National School Board Association’s annual conference, and over 400 Illinois school board members and officials took part April 7-9.

The theme of this year’s event was “Be Extraordinary” with programs and sessions recognizing the extraordinary contributions school boards make to narrow achievement and opportunity gaps, eliminate barriers to students’ success, and expand inclusive and innovative practices so that every student reaches their highest potential.

A number of Illinois districts shared their experiences in governance, student achievement and accountability, technology, and other education-related topics during panel sessions. They include

  • Amboy CUSD 272 – One District’s Journey to 1:1 and Personalized Learning
  • Benjamin School District 25, West Chicago – Ingredients for Successful Referendum: Community, Communication, Collaboration
  • Schaumburg DS 54 – Keeping the District’s Core Beliefs, Mission, Vision and Goals and the Core of the Board’s Work: Especially During a Time of Transition. 
  • Township High School District 211, Palatine – Creating Equity of Opportunity: Recruitment, Support, and Success for Underrepresented Students in AP/IB Programs
  • Yorkville CUSD 115 – Let’s Make It Personal; This Isn’t Where YOU Went To School

Leyden HSD 212 honored with Magna Award
Leyden High School District 212 was recognized for receiving a Magna Award Grand Prize, this year presented to programs that remove barriers to achievement for vulnerable or underserved children. The district shared its bilingual approach to high school theater in an NSBA “Master Class” session. Districts honored by the Center for Digital Education for innovative technology initiatives were Township High School District 214, Edmund F. Lindop School District 92, and Manheim School District 83.

In addition, IASB staff presented panels on topics of diversity and inclusion and effective board governance.

Board development trainers Nesa Brauer and Sandra Kwasa presented a pre-conference session aimed at helping school board members link diversity issues with achieving district goals, broaden the scope of diversity beyond race and gender issues, reveal and assess the impact of subtle biases on district success, and discuss the behaviors required to create an inclusive environment where every man, woman, and child feels included, valued, and respected.

In a new board member “bootcamp” session, Associate Executive Director Dean Langdon and Field Services Director Patrick Rice taught the basics of effectively governing a school district based on foundations and principles.

In addition to over 250 workshop or panel sessions, keynote speakers were Terry Bradshaw, NFL legend and co-host and analyst for FOX NFL Sunday; Ann Compton, legendary ABC News White House correspondent; and Julian Castro, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former mayor of San Antonio.

“Across the country public schools face similar challenges,” said Roger Eddy, IASB Executive Director. “The national conference provides an opportunity for our school board members to share what’s working in their schools and hear from other school leaders about new ideas they can bring back to their districts.”

Another important component of the national conference is the Delegate Assembly, which determines the national organization’s public policy agenda. Representing IASB at the Delegate Assembly were President Joanne Osmond, Vice President Thomas Neeley, Immediate Past President Phil Pritzker, Treasurer Linda Eades, and directors Carla Joiner-Herrod, David Rockwell, and Mary Stith.

More event coverage is available from the National Association of School Boards newsroom. The 2019 NSBA Annual Conference is scheduled for March 30-April 1 in Philadelphia.

More event coverage is available from the National School Boards Association newsroom. The 2019 NSBA Annual Conference is scheduled for March 30-April 1 in Philadelphia.