Sunday, September 23, 2018

Schools urged to use October 3 test of national warning system as ‘teachable moment’

Nearly all cell phones will be sent a message on Oct. 3.
School safety partners say a great teachable moment lies just ahead in the national warning system test on Wednesday, October 3, beginning at 1:18 p.m. Central Time, when nearly all cell phones will be sent a message. This first nationwide test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is being conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Officials said the test of IPAWS and its Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is intended to (1) assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and (2) determine whether improvements are needed. The new WEA portion of the test commences at 1:18 p.m. CT, and the EAS portion follows at 1:20 p.m. CT. This WEA test message will be sent to all cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA.

Since learning time will likely be disrupted, school safety partners, including the Youth Preparedness group within FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division, highly encourage schools and other organizations to use the time to provide a teachable moment about emergency preparedness. For example, school officials can do the following:
  • Craft a customized message notifying of the upcoming IPAWS test, while also providing information specific to your area. For example, schools may want to provide details about the local emergency notification systems or describe how the school plans to communicate with students and teachers during real emergencies.
  • Ensure that messaging sent about IPAWS is accessible to those with access and functional needs. FEMA has prepared an accessible version of the announcement about this month's test that can be shared with the whole school community.
  • Recommend that schools and school districts plan a drill or exercise to coincide with the IPAWS notification. For example, many schools are required to conduct annual evacuation drills, and the IPAWS notification on October 3 could serve as a marker to conduct this drill. If planning a drill or exercise at this time is not possible, emergency planning teams of schools and school districts can use this event as an impetus to set their calendar of drills and exercises for the school year.
  • Share details about the need for schools and school districts to create a Communications and Warning Annex as a part of any comprehensive, high-quality school emergency operations plans (EOPs).  This is recommended in the Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans.
  • Post the fact sheet that FEMA created in English and Spanish to describe IPAWS and its EAS and WEA systems to agency Web pages and share them via social media and other dissemination channels.
For more information about the upcoming nationwide warning system test, see the FEMA press release about it (note that the test was pushed back to October 3 from an earlier scheduled date).

To get answers to questions about this test, or for general support with emergency preparedness planning, contact the national school safety technical assistance center, at or 1-855/781-REMS [7367].

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Topics slated for Fall Division Meetings

The Illinois Association of School Boards will feature school safety, emergency management, and other significant topics in the programming for the speakers and sessions at all of the 2018 Fall Division Meetings. For each set of division meetings, spring and fall, representatives from each division’s leadership select and schedule topics of interest to their localities. Depending on the division, some meetings will feature a choice of topics or a “carousel” where attendees can hear multiple presentations.

Max McGee, a former state superintendent of
education, is among scheduled presenters
at IASB's 2018 Fall Division Meetings.
Several autumn gatherings will feature topics related to school safety and security. Representatives from Dixon Unit SD 170 and the Dixon community present “School Safety: What We’ve Learned,” reflecting on the school shooting that took place there last spring. They will present twice, on October 11 for the Starved Rock meeting and again on October 29 for the Northwest meeting.

Safety and security will also be part of the conversation for Three Rivers on October 2 in Lockport; Wabash Valley, also on October 2, in Robinson; Abe Lincoln on October 4 in Rochester, Blackhawk, also on October 4, in Aledo; Central Illinois Valley on October 10 in Pekin; Corn Belt on October 11 in Forrest; Two Rivers on October 25 in Jacksonville; and South Cook on October 30 in Alsip.

Student social/emotional learning and wellness will be featured at the October 2 DuPage meeting and again at the October 10 Lake meeting, at which author and educator Max McGee will present “From Distress to Success.” Pamela Randall Garner will speak on “Building Supportive School Communities: The Impact of Social/Emotional Learning & Equity” for the Southwestern Division on October 2.

Updating members on the  Every Student Succeeds Act will be featured at the Illini Division Meeting in St. Joseph on September 25; Wabash Valley on October 2, and Egyptian Division on October 4. David Braun will also be speaking on current legal issues at the Egyptian meeting.

Superintendents and co-authors Michael Lubelfeld and Nicholas Polyak will present “The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today” for the North Cook Division in Des Plaines on October 24, and for West Cook in Elmwood Park on October 29.

Other topics include, for the Western Division on September 12, “How Present-Day Challenges Impact Effectiveness in Our Education System,” presented by Stuart Yager, Jodi Scott, Thomas Sargent, and Sen. Chuck Weaver. On October 10, the Shawnee Division will host a legislative candidate forum in Carbondale. Nokomis will host the Kaskaskia Division Meeting with “Career and Technical Education Success Stories” on October 23. The Kishwaukee Division will hear from IASA’s Brent Clark on education funding and get a legislative update on October 25.

IASB Executive Director Thomas E. Bertrand will share his 5 Es philosophy for the Association at the Abe Lincoln Division Meeting in Rochester on October 4.

Further information and registration for each 2018 Fall Division Meeting can be accessed at IASB’s Events Calendar.

The 2018 Fall Division Meetings are sponsored by

Legacy Sponsors
Guin Mundorf, LLC
Kings Financial Consulting Inc.

Millennium Sponsor
NextEra Energy Services

Century Sponsors
First Midstate Inc.

Division Meetings Sponsors and Illinois Council of School Attorneys
Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt, P.C.

Division Meetings Sponsors and Service Associates
ABM Education
ENGIE Services U.S.
Larson and Darby Group
Legat Architects

Friday, September 21, 2018

State’s high court upholds but clarifies hospital tax exemption law

The Illinois Supreme Court upheld a law in a September 20 ruling to allow not-for-profit hospitals property-tax exemptions but stated that hospitals must show that any such exempt property meets the constitutional definition for exclusive charitable use. School attorneys said the ruling is effectively a victory for school districts and other taxing bodies, provided that state tax officials follow the law.

IASB, along with Illinois ASBO and IASA, filed an Amicus brief in the case. The lead attorney in that filing, John Izzo, explained: “While the symbolic victory of the invalidation of … [the law] would have been gratifying, the practical effects of this decision are just as beneficial to school district finances.”

The value of such tax exemptions is hard to pin down, but a 2009 study by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability suggested the value of the exemption in 47 Chicago-area not-for-profit hospitals totaled $279 million a year. This law has proven costly to school districts because schools receive the lion’s share of property tax revenue in Illinois.

Attorney Izzo, of the firm Hauser, Izzo, Petrarca, Gleason & Stillman, LLC, said the ruling should be helpful for schools. “Non-profit” hospitals are in no better position legally than they were before Section 15-86 was enacted in 2012; they still have to show facts which demonstrate that they are truly and primarily charitable, including factors such as the public or charitable source of their funding, the dispensing of services regardless of ability to pay, and the absence of private profit or gain to those connected with the institution.”

Supported by lower court rulings, the law newly upheld by the state’s high court says that not-for-profit hospitals in Illinois don’t have to pay property taxes as long as the value of their charitable services is at least equal to what they would otherwise pay in taxes.

The court stressed it was ruling only on whether the tax exemption law, called Revenue Act Section 15-86, was unconstitutional on its face, and it found that it was not.  But in order to uphold the validity of that law, attorneys say, the court was forced to expressly state that Section 15-86 does not dispose of the traditional constitutional definition of charitable use for hospitals.

“What remains to be seen is the reaction of the Illinois Department of Revenue, the various county boards of review, and the local assessors to this decision,” Izzo added.  “If those agencies implement the constitution as they should, we are confident that most of the 157 non-profit hospitals in Illinois will be returned to the tax rolls and their EAV will be considered ‘new property’ under PTELL,” Izzo said.

School attorneys will be communicating with the Illinois Department of Revenue in the coming days to see how they plan to address these issues, Izzo said. He is scheduled to present a panel discussion on this topic at the Joint Annual Conference in November, along with attorney Eugene Edwards, of the same law firm, who was also heavily involved with John Izzo in the drafting of the Amicus brief in this case.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

IASB welcomes three new Service Associates

Three firms have recently joined IASB's Service Associates, a group of businesses that offer school-related products and services that have earned favorable reputations for quality and integrity. Prospective members are screened by the Service Associates Executive Committee, which recommends membership to the IASB Board of Directors.

The member firms that make up the IASB Service Associates represent a wide range of expertise, the and make a wealth of knowledge and information available to the Association and its member school boards.

The new Service Associates include the following:
  • BMO Harris Bank, based in Chicago, is a financial services firm that that offers strategies for closing budget gaps and maximizing resources; and also offers a financial education curriculum.
  • Computer Information Concepts, Inc., based in Colorado, is a computer services firm that offers professional services and support for Infinite Campus and Tableau products.
  • DecisionInsite, LLC is a California-based consultancy that specializes in enrollment analytics and forecasting, location intelligence technology (mapping), and community demographics.
In addition to the three new members, one member firm recently changed its named from GCA Education to ABM Education. ABM Education, a New York-based building maintenance and facility services firm, offers customized solutions for cleaning, energy management, parking, and landscaping.

IASB currently has 73 Service Associates members. A complete database listing of these members can be found here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Candidates can circulate petitions
starting today

Today, September 18, is the first day for school board candidates to circulate nominating petitions for the April 2, 2019, election.

Updated information is available on the IASB website for all candidates and prospective candidates for school boards in Illinois. See the complete list of resources here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 resolutions focus on student and school safety

The IASB Resolutions Committee met August 3 to debate new proposals and amendments to current position statements brought forth by Association member districts. The Committee recommended adoption of two new resolutions, reaffirmation of a current position statement, the approval of a new belief statement, and passage of two amended belief statements.

Tom Neeley
IASB Vice President Thomas Neeley chaired the committee responsible for recommending either the approval or disapproval of the proposals submitted and determining which resolutions are presented to the full Delegate Assembly to act upon in November. The Committee’s decisions may be appealed by member districts in writing at least eight days prior to the Delegate Assembly meeting.

“The Resolutions Committee had a really excellent discussion and spent a lot of time talking about student safety,” said Committee Chair Tom Neeley.

A Resolutions Committee Report summarizing all the proposed resolutions and the Committee’s recommendations on each measure will be mailed to districts in September. The report is also posted on the IASB website.

The proposals that received a “do adopt” recommendation include:

New Resolutions
•    Student Safety and Protection, Mercer County CUSD 404
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Illinois Association of School Boards shall support and advocate for legislation which provides local school boards the option of developing Student Safety and Protection Plans which may include administrators, faculty, and/or other staff who have completed a state approved training course above and beyond concealed carry training, who have passed the multiple background checks and qualifications required for a concealed carry license, or have a current concealed carry license issued under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. Only staff who fulfill all requirements listed would be eligible as an active and armed part of the Student Safety and Protection Plan, upon being granted board approval.
•    Energy Savings Funding & Borrowing, Community High School District 94
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Illinois Association of School Boards shall recommend to the legislature that a bill be passed that allows districts to borrow or otherwise obtain money without referendum for the sole and specific purpose of purchasing and installing energy saving equipment relating to the utility usage (water, gas and electricity).

Amended Belief Statements

•    Belief Statement 5 — Mental Health Services, Lake Villa CCSD 41
The Illinois Association of School Boards believes that schools should provide a safe and secure environment for all students. School board members and staff should try to protect students from the effects of bullying, discrimination, and violence, and offer appropriate instruction to improve intergroup relations and to promote peaceful resolution to conflict. Further, the Association urges the State of Illinois and the U.S. States Congress to invest in and support comprehensive, coordinated, and collaborative mental health resources to address these social-emotional issues leading to safe schools and the achievement of academic success.
•    Belief Statement 2 — Student Voter Registration, Indian Prairie CUSD 204
The Illinois Association of School Boards believes school administrations and faculties should be composed of persons supporting the principles of constitutional government because schools should continue with vigor their programs for giving young citizens a clear understanding of the principles of the American way of life and a desire to make these principles prevail in their own lives and in the life of their country. Further, the Association believes in the value of student non-partisan civic responsibility, including the importance of student voter registration.

Reaffirmation of Existing Position Statement

•    Position Statement 2.27: Charter School Funding, Woodland CCSD 50
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Illinois Association of School Boards shall urge adoption of legislation which would create a new methodology for the funding of State Authorized Charter Schools which would not have a negative financial impact on the host district. With respect to State authorized virtual charter schools, further limit the withholding of State funds from host school districts in proportion to the per pupil expenditure used for building maintenance, classroom supplies, transportation, safety and security, and other costs unique to “brick and mortar” schools. For all State authorized charter schools, require that proof of continuing enrollment and attendance be submitted quarterly, with prorated refunds to the host school district upon withdrawal of students from the charter school.

New Belief Statement
•    Local Authority in Safety Practice, Indian Prairie CUSD 204
The Illinois Association of School Boards believes that schools should provide a safe and secure environment for all students and staff. Decisions of school safety drills, plans, and procedures should be made at the local level, utilizing evidence-based practices that maximize resources and effectiveness, and by soliciting input from local emergency responders resulting in fewer physical, emotional, and psychological risks to students and staff.

Committee members recommended a motion of “do not adopt” for two resolutions. Those proposals were very similar to the “Student Safety and Protection” resolution listed above. The sponsoring districts of both measures agreed to combine the resolutions into a single proposal (Student Safety and Protection resolution).

“Some districts, many of which have 20- to 30-minute response times for law enforcement, are in favor of arming school personnel after the staff members have received the requisite training. Others want to invest in mental health services and facility improvements, and try to prevent the events before they happen,” said Neeley.

Neeley went on to say, “It’s really about local control and what local school boards feel is the best way to protect students and staff. It was a great discussion on both sides of the issue and it was agreed that we need to pursue various options.”

A full list of all submitted resolutions will be available in the Resolutions Committee Report. The report also contains an explanation of the rationale for each proposal and the Committee recommendation of “do adopt” or “do not adopt.”

The IASB Delegate Assembly will gather on Saturday, November 17, at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago to debate resolutions submitted by member districts. If approved by the delegates in attendance, the resolutions will be adopted as official Position Statements of IASB.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Board secretary deadlines listed

Two key deadlines lie ahead for board secretaries to complete requirements for placing referendums on the ballot in the next two consolidated elections. Those upcoming deadlines fall ten days after the board deadline for adopting resolutions to place public policy questions on the ballot. The key board secretary deadlines are:

•    December 20, 2018, the last day for the board secretary to certify public policy questions to the election authority for referendum at the Feb. 26, 2019, Consolidated Primary Election (10 ILCS 5/28-5);

•    January 24, 2019, the last day for the board secretary to certify public policy questions to the election authority for referendum at the April 2, 2019 election. (10 ILCS 5/28-5).

Board secretaries also face an important duty following the April 2, 2019 school board election. Specifically:

•    April 23, 2019 is the last day for the election authority to canvass the election returns and report results of the April 2, 2019 Consolidated Election to the board secretary. The board secretary is then required to transmit election results to the school board (10 ILCS 5/17-22 and 22-17).

See the 2018-19 School Calendar for more information.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Events, panels, and more listed in Conference Preview

A 24-page preview detailing panel sessions, keynote speakers, and other special events taking place at the 2018 Joint Annual Conference in Chicago is now available online.

This will be the 86th Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), and Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO). The event will carry the theme, “Leadership: Sharing the Vision.”

Information in the Conference Preview includes an at-a-glance schedule of events, time slots for panel presentations, and other on-site activities taking place November 16-18.

More than 100 panel sessions will be presented over the course of the three-day Conference. Titles, descriptions, and time slots are listed in chronological order by day and start time (see pages 6-15). The 60-minute panels will be presented at 9, 10:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. on Friday; 7:30, 10:30 a.m., and 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.

A number of pre-conference professional development opportunities will begin Friday morning, November 16. These events include IASB Pre-Conference Workshops (pg. 21), Illinois ASBO Pre-Conference Seminars, IASA Pre-Conference Sessions, and the Illinois Council of School Attorneys Seminar on School Law (pg. 22). A separate School Safety and Security Seminar is also available on Friday (pg. 23). These professional development workshops each require an additional fee and advance registration to attend.

There is no additional charge to attend the Administrative Professionals’ Program (see pages 16-17) taking place on Friday and Saturday. However, attendees of the training designed specifically for board/district secretaries and administrative professionals must be paid conference registrants.

Additional information on other Conference activities, including the IASB Delegate Assembly (pg. 8), Exhibition of Educational Environments (pg. 12), Conference bookstore (pg 15), Exhibit Hall (pg. 18), and Homeroom (pg. 19) are also featured in the Preview.

Further details will be available in the official Conference Program, which can be picked up onsite at the Conference registration desk in the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Online registration is still available at early-bird rates of $485. Additional registration and housing information can be found on the IASB website.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Nominate those serving as
board secretary for Holly Jack Award

2017 Holly Jack winner Clare Bourne received the
award from former IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy.
Time still remains to submit applications for IASB’s 2018 Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award. School districts across the state are encouraged to nominate board or district secretaries who a step beyond expectations to serve the staff, school board, community, and students.

Application forms are available on the IASB website and need to be signed by the superintendent and the board president. Letters of support from individuals, either inside or outside the district, may be submitted with the form, but are limited to no more than five. The deadline for submitting all related nomination materials is September 30. 

Eligible nominees must be district employees (a superintendent’s secretary, superintendent’s administrative assistant, school board recording secretary, etc.) who have performed the duties of the board secretary for a minimum of five years.

The recognition was created to honor the memory of long-time IASB employee Holly Jack, a field services administrative assistant who was instrumental in developing the secretaries’ training offered at the Joint Annual Conference.

The award will be presented in November at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago during the Administrative Professionals’ Program (formerly titled the Secretaries’ Program).

More information is available by contacting Peggy Goone, ext. 1103; or by email at

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Webinar: Meet Your IASB Executive Director

A webinar on Wednesday, September 5, will feature IASB Executive Director Thomas E. Bertrand, Ph.D., sharing his strategic priorities for the future of the Association. Bertrand will preview his vision for IASB that revolves around five Es: Envision, Empower, Engage, Educate, and Evolve.

The webinar will begin at noon. Registration is free for members and available by visiting the IASB website and selecting the blue Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

Watch the video below as Bertrand introduces himself to IASB members and briefly explains how the five Es will shape the future of the Association.

If the video is not displaying correctly, click here.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Opinions on Education

The following are editorials, commentaries, and opinions from various sources regarding public education, collected in July and August 2018. The views and opinions of authors expressed below do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Illinois Association of School Boards. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Illinois Association of School Boards of the linked web sites. All links are provided with the intent of informing readership of issues relating to public education in Illinois.

Opinion: School-funding formula change is proof
of meaningful reform
Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and president of the River Forest SD 90 Board of Education, The News-Gazette, Champaign, July 1

EDITORIAL: Literacy for all children is a fundamental right
in a democracy
Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times, July 6

Opinion: Effort to consolidate local governments
is finally making headway
Madeleine Doubek, vice president of policy for the Better Government Association, Chicago Sun-Times, July 9

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Candidate information available
for April 2019 Consolidated Election

Updated information is available on the IASB website for all candidates and prospective candidates for school boards in Illinois. The next election for boards of education for most public schools is April 2, 2019. See the complete list of resources here.

The page includes a list of key dates for school board candidates to observe, including the first day to circulate nominating petitions, which is Tuesday, September 18, and the filing dates, which are December 10 to December 17.

There is also information for new and incumbent candidates, including advice on “Getting on, and staying on, the ballot,” by attorneys Scott F. Uhler and Gregory T. Smith. Individuals considering a run for school board are encouraged to read the “Qualifications and Characteristics of School Board Candidates,” which summarizes the qualifications, position description, reasons for serving, and characteristics of effective school board members.

In addition, information on mandatory board member training outlines the state requirements for after the candidate is elected.

The Candidate’s Guide covers
nominating petition information
and includes the official forms
school board candidates need.
IASB’s board elections page also includes links to relevant documents from the State Board of Elections, including a Candidate’s Guide from the Illinois State Board of Elections, which lists important dates candidates need to observe. The Candidate’s Guide includes the guidelines for filing nominating petitions (see page 6 of the guide), and the official nominating petition forms for the nomination of board candidates (if the school board seat represents the entire district, use SBE form P-7, or if the board seat represents a subdistrict, use SBE form P-7A).

Friday, August 31, 2018

New Journal looks at
21st century learning spaces

The September/October Journal opens with a farewell, as Roger Eddy, now retired as IASB’s executive director, shared his thoughts on his career in public education in Illinois.

The issue continues with a hello to the next-level trends in 21st-century learning spaces. McHenry SD 15 shared its process for developing makerspaces for “hands-on, minds-on” learning. Spencer Craig, a project manager for Eriksson Engineering Associates, Ltd., brings clarity to the issue of zoning in light of recent court and legislative actions that now define the regulatory framework connecting school districts and local governments. Also, Carrie Matlock of DLA Architects shares the method for facilities development that follows the phrase “form follows learning,” and additional articles include planning for libraries and for students with emotional and behavioral disorders.

Check your mailbox for the print edition of the September/October 2018 issue of The Illinois School Board Journal, or click below to read the digital edition.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Board of directors approves strategic priorities at meeting in Effingham

The IASB Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting on Aug. 24-25 in Effingham to review monitoring reports and approve strategic priorities.

It was the first quarterly meeting since IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand took over July 1. The board discussed their expectations for the executive director and was presented with a monitoring report showing indicators of compliance for each Association department. Bertrand also presented his strategic priorities that will guide Association work for the next three years.

In a board learning session, Consultant Angie Peifer facilitated a governance policy review to allow newer and veteran members of the board clarify their understanding of the board’s global operational expectations, financial administration, and communicating with the board and the executive director’s interpretation of those policies. The comments and suggestions from this activity will be reviewed by the board’s executive committee.

Treasurer Linda Eades presented the financial report and results of the annual audit.

Among several committee reports, Conference co-chairs Sheila Nelson and Dennis Inboden updated the board on 2018 Joint Annual Conference planning and activities. Vice President Tom Neeley gave a resolutions report, which will be compiled and sent to IASB members in advance of the Nov. 16 Delegate Assembly.

Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm updated the board on legislation, as some bills were still awaiting action by the Governor. Board leadership shared comments about their involvement in a recent Vision 20/20 meeting to review and refresh initiatives of the policy platform.

President Joanne Osmond gave a report from the recent National School Boards Association (NSBA) Summer Leadership Seminar. Osmond was elected to the NSBA Policies and Resolutions Committee and Neeley to the NSBA National Nominating Committee.

The Board of Directors will meet twice at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago, on Thursday, November 15 and Sunday, November 18.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Myth persists that the lottery
provides real help for schools

Illinois lottery supporters and participants commonly claim that the games increase funding for education. But a look at lottery revenue and expenditures shows most of the dollars from lottery sales don’t ever make it to the schools.

After 65 cents of every lottery dollar is given back in prize money, and operating expenses swallow another 10 cents, there remains just 25 cents of every lottery dollar going to public schools (2017). But even that remaining money does not boost school funding beyond what would otherwise be provided by the state.

Every dollar deposited in the common school fund reduces by a dollar the amount of money that schools get from other sources. In short, the idea that Illinois lottery money adds to education funding is a myth.

Education funding from lottery revenue has evolved into a shell game, explains Christopher Mooney, the W. Russell Arrington Professor of State Politics in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mooney explains that if the General Assembly is planning to spend $50 in a year on public schools, then without the state lottery, that $50 would be coming to school districts from the general fund. But, if the lottery provides $10 dollars to the school fund, state officials have two choices: they can either spend that much more money on schools than their intended $50 dollars, or they can lower the contribution from the general fund by $10. Illinois officials have taken the second approach, Mooney says.

What is more, lottery monies are only a fraction of state education spending. While the state spends $11.7 billion a year on public education, only $706 million, or 6.1 percent, comes from the lottery. Contributions from the lottery are small compared to the total needs of the state’s 852 public school districts (2017).

Finally, although revenue contributions to schools from lottery sales have risen from $668 million in 2014 to $706 million in 2017, the total contribution to schools is essentially unchanged when adjusted for inflation.

Alliance Legislative Report 100-75


Governor Bruce Rauner, on Sunday, vetoed the bill which would set a statewide minimum teacher salary of $40,000 by the 2022-2023 school year. SB 2892 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) would take effect in the 2019-2020 school year by requiring beginning teacher salaries to be at least $32,000 per year, then increasing salaries incrementally over four school years. Each year thereafter, the minimum teacher salary would increase yearly by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Lawmakers will take up the bill again in the November veto session when the bill sponsor is certain to file a motion to override the veto.

The Alliance opposed the bill in the spring and urged the governor to veto the measure. The veto of the bill was largely due to the advocacy of school board members and other school leaders contacting the governor to urge a veto based on the new mandated costs to local school districts.

It is estimated that nearly half of the school districts in the state would be affected by such a new salary requirement. Any gains in funding due to the new Evidence-Based Funding Formula would be totally consumed by the new salary mandate in many school districts. Under such a law, the net result could actually hurt classroom teachers as school districts would be forced to reduce the teaching force in order to pay the higher salaries.


Two other bills being watched closely by the Alliance also saw gubernatorial action last week. SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) would establish a 150 minute per week standard for Physical Education. The bill would roll back the gains in flexibility for school districts that were put in place last year in the school funding bill provision that allows P.E. to be offered three days per week instead of five days per week. The governor vetoed the bill.

SB 2428 (Stadelman, D-Rockford) would allow students, regardless of ability to pay, to accumulate a minimum school lunch debt of $500 dollars. Once the $500 dollar threshold has been passed, schools would have to go through a state reimbursement and withholding process to attempt to recoup the money owed. The governor signed the bill into law and it is now Public Act 100-1092; effective August 26, 2018.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-75, including action taken on other education-related bills.

Friday, August 24, 2018

IASB school calendar posted

IASB has posted its Annual School Calendar of legal dates and deadlines for 2018-2019.
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 to allow 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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Nominations sought for 2018 Burroughs Award

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is now inviting nominations of local board presidents for the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award for the state's outstanding school board president.

The award was created in 1991 in memory of the late ISBE chairman, who was at one time school board president for Collinsville CUSD 10. The Burroughs Award is presented annually at the Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials. This year’s Conference will be held November 16-18.

The Burroughs Award is intended to recognize extraordinary leadership on behalf of education at the local level, especially through characteristics similar to those shown by Burroughs. The criteria for this 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.

Nominations can be submitted to ISBE Board Services Coordinator Katherine Galloway, via email at, with “Burroughs Nomination” as the subject. The deadline for nominations is October 5, 2018. Click here for complete nomination information.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Fall Division Meetings on the way

The schedule for IASB’s 2018 Fall Division Meetings is set. The slate opens with the Western Division meeting in Macomb on September 12, and concludes on October 30 with the South Cook event taking place in Alsip. In between, the Association’s 19 other divisions will meet in venues across the state.

Each Division Meeting offers networking opportunities and updates from Association staff, division directors, and division chairpersons. Most meetings also offer keynote or breakout sessions on a variety of important education topics for school leaders. These will be announced at a later date.

Attendance at Division Meetings also earns participants five points in IASB’s Master Board Member Program.

Online registration is required and can be completed through IASB’s “My Account” at

Here is the schedule of dates and locations for the 21 division dinner meetings:

2018 Fall Division Meetings
September 12
Spoon River Outreach Center,
September 25
St. Joseph Middle School,
St. Joseph CCSD 169
October 2
Hilton Lisle/Naperville
October 2
Collinsville Middle School,
Collinsville CUSD 10
October 2
Three Rivers
Prairie Bluff Golf Club,
October 2
Wabash Valley
Robinson High School,
Robinson CUSD 2
October 4
Abe Lincoln
Rochester CUSD 3A
October 4
Mercer Co. SD 404
October 4
Learning Community Center,
Pinckneyville CHSD 101
October 10
Central Illinois Valley
Pekin CHSD 303
October 10
DoubleTree by Hilton
October 10
Carbondale CHSD 165
October 11
Corn Belt
Prairie Central CUSD 8
October 11
Starved Rock
Northview School, Peru ESD 124
October 23
Nokomis CUSD 22
October 24
North Cook
Café La Cave, Des Plaines
October 25
Randall Oaks Golf Club,
West Dundee
October 25
Two Rivers
Hamilton’s, Jacksonville
October 29
West Cook
Elmcrest, Elmwood Park
October 29
Meridian CUSD 223
October 30
South Cook
DoubleTree, Alsip

Friday, August 17, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-74

Governor Bruce Rauner has been taking action on various pieces of legislation that have reached his desk since the legislative session concluded. After a bill is approved by the legislature, the General Assembly has 30 days to send the bill to the Governor. The Governor then has 60 days to either sign or veto a bill.

While Governor Bruce Rauner has acted on many pieces of legislation, he has yet to take action on several issues including the minimum teacher salary bill (SB 2892, Manar D-Bunker Hill). To see more on SB 2892, click here.

Click here for the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-74, including the list of education bills that have been signed into law.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ensure Conference attendance transparency
by using sample policies, news releases

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.

One way for a board to be pro-active in the area of professional development experiences may be to adopt a policy that addresses professional development for all school board members. More specifically, that means adopting a policy that permits and encourages ongoing leadership training for those who have volunteered to serve their community as unpaid school board members.

IASB’s Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS) has a sample policy (2:120, Board Member Development) on this issue. It provides boards with guidance on issues related to setting parameters for board member training. School boards can use the guidance to set parameters on governance concerns (ensuring board members learn, understand, and practice effective governance principles and other best practices). Boards can use that policy guidance, as well, to set parameters on mandatory training, which means training mandated by state law (a list of such laws is contained in the sidebar at right).

The major purpose and function of the sample PRESS policy on the topic of board member professional development is to provide information and guidance to staff members, students, parents, and community. It paraphrases the mandatory board member training statutes and provides information to the community (see Policy background information below).

The Joint Annual Conference provides both mandatory and governance-related training to school board members and administrators through a Pre-Conference PDLT Workshop and myriad other 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.

Also important at Conference are expenses. PRESS has two sample policies: 2:125, Board Member Compensation; Expenses (for board member expenses), and 5:60, Expenses (employee expenses). State law controls both policies’ content (105 ILCS 5/10-9, 5/10-10, and 5/22-1 (no compensation allowed, conflicts of interest prohibited); 105 ILCS 5/10-22.32 (expense advancements); and the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act (ECA) 50 ILCS 150/10 (regulation of travel expenses)). The purpose and function of these sample PRESS policies on expenses are legal compliance (see Policy background information below).

Boards should review their existing policies or consider adopting a policy before attending the Joint Annual Conference, which is scheduled for November 16-18 in Chicago.

Watch for other material, including sample news releases, that are developed by the Association to assist those districts that want to pro-actively share what they will do and/or did at the 2018 Joint Annual Conference. Sample news releases are customizable and will suggest language that allows districts to specify who attended, how much the district spent, and how attendance fits into the district’s budget and professional development goals.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

School board members help refocus
Illinois Vision 20/20

Representatives from the six founding organizations of Illinois Vision 20/20 met August 9 in Springfield to review legislative accomplishments and determine areas of focus going forward.

The public policy platform was formed in 2013 to help guide educators, legislators, and other stakeholders to work together toward the common goal of fulfilling the promise of public education in Illinois. Specific policy proposals were developed around four priorities: highly effective educators, 21st century learning, shared accountability, and equitable and adequate funding.

The Illinois Association of School Boards was among the founding organizations that also included the Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Principal’s Association, Illinois Association of School Business Officials, Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents, and Superintendents Commission for the Study of Demographics and Diversity.

“To be in the room with so many of the original drafters of Vision 20/20 discussing the accomplishments of the initiative was invigorating,” said IASB President Joanne Osmond. “The leaders of the various organizations know what is important to ensure adequate and equitable education for all children in Illinois.”

Representing school boards at the meeting were President Joanne Osmond (Lake Villa CCSD 41), Vice President Tom Neeley (Morton CUSD 709), division directors Linda Eades (Northwestern CUSD 2), Simon Kampwerth (Peru ESD 124), Denis Ryan (CHSD 230), Barbara Somogyi (Elk Grove CCSD 59), and Mary Stith (Geneva CUSD 304), and Executive Director Tom Bertrand.

School board representatives attending were, from left to right, Tom Neeley, Mary Stith,
Barbara Somogyi, Simon Kampwerth, Joanne Osmond, Denis Ryan, Linda Eades,
and IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand.

While much has been accomplished, the participants identified areas where work still needs to be done. They also shared ideas on how new issues can be defined within each of the four pillars.

Osmond added: “In five years we accomplished what many thought was impossible and brought both political parties to the table in agreement to implement a new more equitable funding model for education. The conversation drifted to what's next in accountability, shared accountability, and a safe school for every child to attend and learn.”

The meeting was facilitated by ECRA Group, Inc., a third-party educational consulting firm. Outcomes from the meeting will provide guidance for developing new policy proposals that continue the momentum of Illinois Vision 20/20. Information and updates on the initiative will be posted on the Illinois Vision 20/20 website.

Monday, August 13, 2018

News from ISBE

Districts sending in 2017-18 attendance data
School districts are required to submit their latest yearly attendance data to ISBE by August 31 under a key provision of the new Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) law. Under the law, ISBE is required to calculate and use districts’ best three-month average daily attendance (ADA), and nine-month ADA, for purposes that range from calculating per capita tuition charges to reckoning payments of school maintenance and energy efficiency grants.

The District Average Daily Attendance/Prior General State Aid System in IWAS opened in June for submission of the 2017-18 attendance data. The system mirrors the General State Aid data submission portal used in past years, and it reflects the same district personnel approvals as in the past. Attendance data itself is to be reported the same way as in past years.  For questions on submitting the required attendance data, contact ISBE’s School Business Services at 217/785-8779.

Capital needs survey
The state is reminding school districts to complete and submit the Capital Needs Assessment Survey. The survey will remain open for district responses until September 7. Full participation in the assessment will help ensure an accurate portrayal of the capital needs of all districts throughout the state.

The survey arises because ISBE and the Capital Development Board are required by Public Act 93-0489 to file a comprehensive assessment report of the capital needs of all school districts with the legislature every two years. January 1, 2019, is the due date of the next such report.

District superintendents and regional superintendents were emailed a copy of the latest Capital Needs Assessment Survey on April 16, along with a cover letter.  Districts that did not receive a copy of the email have been asked to let the State Board know.

Additional forms, if needed, are available on ISBE’s finance webpage or the Capital Development Board website. Completed forms may be submitted by mail to: School Business Services, 100 North First Street, Springfield, IL 62777-0001; or by email at:

For more information, contact Christine Kolaz, ISBE School Business Services, at 217/785-8779.

Friday, August 10, 2018

VIDEO: Meet your IASB Executive Director

In a brief video message, IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand introduces himself to Association members and thanks them for their work to provide quality education opportunities for all students.

“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work with such a talented staff and a dedicated membership who are committed to quality public education for every child,” says Bertrand in the video. “I wish you well with the start of the school year and I’m looking forward to getting out into the field to meet all of you.”

Bertrand goes on to explain his vision for the Association and introduces IASB members to the five Es: Envision, Empower, Engage, Educate, and Evolve.

Watch Executive Director Bertrand’s video introduction below.

If the video is not displaying correctly, click here.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Conference speakers to deliver messages
of inspiration, bravery, and perseverance

Keynote speakers for the 2018 Joint Announce Conference in Chicago have been selected. Attendees will be inspired by messages of hope, bravery, perseverance, and innovation as presenters share their own vision for the future during the three General Sessions taking place November 16-18.

The 2018 Illinois and National Superintendent of the Year will headline the First General Session at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, November 16. Dr. David R. Schuler will bring his 18 years of superintendent experience and innovative instructional philosophy to the Conference stage. As 2015-2016 president of the School Superintendents Association (AASA), Schuler spearheaded the national Redefining Ready! initiative, a movement that aims to redefine what it means for students to be college, career, and life ready. Schuler has continued to champion the initiative that utilizes personalized learning experiences focused on career pathways to enable students to discover their futures while still in high school.

Ruby Bridges will be keynoting the Second General Session on Saturday, November 17 at 8:30 a.m. Bridges is an activist who became a symbol of the civil rights movement at the age of six. She was the youngest of a group of African American students to integrate schools in the south. After being required to pass a test to determine which students could enter all-white schools, Bridges was enrolled at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. Of the six students selected to integrate the school, she was the only one to enroll. In 1999, she formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote “the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences.”

Closing out the Third General Session on Sunday, November 18 at 9:45 a.m. will be Darrell Scott. Scott will deliver the story and vision of his daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first person killed in the Columbine High School shooting. After fellow students shared the stories of the profound impact Rachel had on their lives, the Scotts started the nonprofit organization Rachel’s Challenge. It has touched the lives of 25 million people by creating programs that promote a positive climate in K-12 schools. Rachel Scott’s vision to start a “chain reaction of kindness and compassion” is the foundation for the organization’s mission: Making schools safer, more connected places where bullying and violence are replaced with kindness and respect, and where learning and teaching are awakened to their fullest.

Additional information about each of the General Session speakers is available on the Joint Annual Conference webpage

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

School board candidate information available

In anticipation of the April 2, 2019 Consolidated Election, updated information is available on the IASB website for all candidates and prospective candidates for school boards in Illinois. See the complete list of resources here

The state elections board website lists
key dates candidates need to observe.
In addition, a Candidate’s Guide from the Illinois State Board of Elections lists several important dates candidates need to observe, including the first day to circulate nominating petitions, which is September 18.

Individuals first considering a run for school board are encouraged to read the Qualifications and Characteristics of a School Board Member, which summarizes the qualifications, position description, reasons for serving, and characteristics of effective school board members. Those past the decision-making stage are encouraged to read “Getting on, and staying on, the ballot,” by attorneys Scott F. Uhler and Gregory T. Smith. This piece, which appeared in the September/October 2016 issue of The Illinois School Board Journal, examines best practices and explores the pitfalls that a candidate can encounter in the nominating stage. 

Several other IASB resources are available, providing a wealth of information for candidates, current board members, and those contemplating school board service.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Seminar prepares school districts
for safety and security challenges

The Illinois Association of School Boards will present its third School Safety and Security Seminar, in conjunction with the 2018 Joint Annual Conference in Chicago, on November 16.

IASB’s recent member and superintendent surveys indicated that school safety is the paramount student-oriented issue facing school districts today. At the Symposium, the deep and critical challenges relating to keeping people safe at school will be addressed by local, state, and national leaders in school safety and security, including representatives from the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, Illinois School and Campus Safety Program, ASIS International School Safety and Security Council, and school security advocates. An advocate from the “I Love you Guys” foundation, who had a child in the Sandy Hook elementary school during that tragic incident, will be presenting.

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 on their campuses to attend this important seminar.

In addition, eight related safety and security panel sessions are scheduled during the Joint Annual Conference on Friday, November 16, and Saturday, November 17. These will include violence prevention, behavioral threat assessments, monitoring social media to thwart violent attacks, and crisis management, and more.

The Seminar will take place Friday, November 16 from 7:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

School district personnel who plan to attend the School Safety and Security Seminar must also register for the Joint Annual Conference. Non-district personnel who wish to attend the Conference panel sessions must also register for the School Safety and Security Seminar. Click here for more information, including registration details, on the 2019 School Safety and Security Seminar.