Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Second chance:
Get current on Collective Bargaining

Those who missed IASB’s Collective Bargaining Workshops missed
  • Current information on key collective bargaining issues and techniques
  • The changes in federal and Illinois law and governance as they relate to collective bargaining
  • Expert guidance from school attorneys and administrative staff
  • Q&A with experienced negotiation team members
Now IASB’s Online Learning Center is offering members a second chance to get that important information.

IASB is presenting the Naperville workshop as an Online Learning Center course. The Naperville event was presented by Melissa D. Sobota and Shelli L. Anderson, attorneys from Franczek, P.C.

More than 200 board members and superintendents attended the live events. But the online course represents a second chance for members to see and hear what they did, and examine trends in collective bargaining. Register for this course to learn about key collective bargaining issues such as: compensation, benefits, working conditions, the Janus decision, and more.

The cost of the online course is $20. Go to iasb.com and log in through the gold MY ACCOUNT option in the left margin of the homepage to learn more.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award nominations now being accepted

Holly Jack
IASB is seeking nominations for the 2019 Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award. All eligible nominees must be school district employees (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 award was created to honor long-time IASB employee Holly Jack, who worked as a field services administrative assistant and was instrumental in developing training for district secretaries and administrative professionals at the Joint Annual Conference.

Nominees for the Outstanding Service Award should demonstrate characteristics similar to those exhibited by Holly Jack in her work with districts. Qualifications include a constant desire for self-improvement, passion for public education, dedication toward improving the quality of life and quality of education for those in the community, independent problem-solving abilities, innovation within the work environment, and a drive to empower and equip colleagues with knowledge allowing them to reach their full potential.

Nomination forms must be signed by the superintendent and the board president. Up to five letters of support from individuals are allowed in addition to the nominating form. The deadline for submitting all related nomination materials is September 30. Applications and past winners of the Award can be found on the IASB website.

The winner will be selected by a panel of impartial judges and be notified immediately after the decision. The award will be presented in November during the Administrative Professionals’ Program at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

For more information, contact Peggy Goone at 217/528-9688, ext. 1103; or by email at pgoone@iasb.com.

Friday, April 19, 2019

New primetime (7 p.m.) IASB webinar to focus on student mental health

IASB will be hosting a newly created webinar focused on the importance of mental health and well-being policies and practices for students. Glenn “Max” McGee, a former Illinois state superintendent, author, and nationally recognized speaker on the topics of student mental health, educational leadership, and public policy will be presenting the one-hour learning opportunity.
The April 25 webinar will be held at a new time, 7 p.m.

Titled, “From Distress to Success: Policies and Practices to Foster Student Mental Health and Well-Being,” McGee will explore existing beliefs about students’ mental health, examine “distressors” students are faced with, and propose changes in policies and practices that act to support student mental health.

The free webinar will take place April 25 at 7 p.m
. Past webinars on topics ranging from school funding and educational equity to pensions and policy updates are available through IASB’s Online Learning Center archive free of charge.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

State Board seeks stakeholder
comment about teacher shortage

The Illinois State Board of Education has announced its April 17 board meeting agenda will include discussion of the statewide teacher shortage. The agency is encouraging school stakeholders to attend and comment about the shortage during the meeting’s public participation segment.  Planned topics include educator testing and innovative approaches to addressing the teacher shortage.

School leaders can access the meeting information packet, including the agenda, here.

The State Board’s entire meeting will be audio cast on the internet at www.isbe.net.  Click the “LISTEN IN” link at the bottom of the ISBE home page at the start of the meeting.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Growing number of Illinois graduates perform at college level on AP exams

Beyond a positive trend in Illinois student content mastery
as shown on AP exams, 22 school districts in the state made
the Class of 2018 AP District Honor Roll, a new report shows.
Illinois ranks 10th in the nation for the percentage of 2018 graduates – 27 percent – who scored at least a 3 on the College Board Advanced Placement exams during their high school career. The national average is 23.5 percent, according to the new AP Cohort Data Report.

AP exams measure a student’s content mastery of college-level studies in specific academic disciplines. A score of 3 or higher on an AP exam demonstrates that a student is capable of doing the work of an introductory-level course in a particular subject in college.

Illinois also continues to report record numbers of graduates taking AP exams, with nearly 41 percent of graduates taking an AP exam during high school – up from 22.5 percent in 2008.

The percentage of Illinois graduates who scored a 3 or higher grew by 8 percentage points from 25 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in 2018. Illinois is fifth in the nation for the largest percentage point increase over the past decade in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school.

Additionally, the College Board named Fenton High School District 100 in Bensenville the national AP District of the Year among all small-sized school districts in the United States and Canada, based on the district’s increases in AP access and achievement. Illinois school districts have won AP District of the Year awards in six of the past nine years.

Twenty-two Illinois school districts made the Class of 2018 AP District Honor Roll. View the full list on the College Board website.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-13

SIGNIFICANT BILL ACTION THIS WEEK
The Illinois General Assembly took action on several major pieces of legislation this week. Bills regarding teacher salaries, compulsory school attendance age, superintendent sharing, charter schools, and pensions all advanced.

Both chambers finished up their work today and have now hit the half-way point of the session. When the Senate and House of Representatives resume again on April 30, the Senate will be taking up House bills and the House will be considering Senate bills.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Resolutions sought for
2019 Delegate Assembly

Resolutions will be voted on at the 2019 Delegate Assembly.
Local school boards are invited to submit resolutions for consideration by the 2019 Delegate Assembly. Resolution forms and information were mailed to IASB member district superintendents and board presidents in early April.

IASB’s Delegate Assembly is held each year at the Joint Annual Conference to determine the Association’s advocacy efforts on behalf of its members. Each school board that is a member of the Association is entitled to one voting delegate.

Proposals can be submitted by IASB member districts as new resolutions, amendments to current position statements, reaffirmations of existing position statements, or as belief statements. The deadline to submit resolutions is June 26.

The IASB Resolutions Committee, consisting of one elected member from each of the 21 Association divisions, will meet in August 2019. After resolutions are submitted, IASB staff will review the proposals and consult with a representative of the district that crafted the measure to prepare background material for review by the Resolutions Committee. Districts proposing resolutions must have at least one board member present at the committee meeting to speak to the proposal.

The committee meets to review  proposals and recommend ”to adopt” or “not adopt” each measure, and make selections for referral to the full membership at the Delegate Assembly. This year’s committee will be chaired by IASB Vice President Thomas Neeley.

Resolution forms and additional information about the process is available by contacting Mary Ellen Buch at 217/528-9688, ext. 1132. A fillable 2019 resolution form and information can also be downloaded from the IASB website.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-04

IASB Legislative Alert 04

UPDATE FROM TUESDAY LEGISLATIVE ACTION
As highlighted in the last IASB Legislative Alert, the Illinois General Assembly is convening this week to consider bills for final action in the chamber of origin. Several key pieces of legislation were discussed Tuesday.

STUDENT DATA PRIVACY
The issue of student data privacy has been discussed in the Capitol for last several years. Though IASB is sensitive to this issue, the proposals that have come forward have been unworkable for local school districts. HB 3606 is no exception.

The bill contains a myriad of unfunded and/or unworkable mandates on school districts that would place enormous and expensive burdens on districts, including requiring each district to try and re-negotiate potentially hundreds of agreements, adding new posting requirements on websites, and allowing parents to opt out of classes they do not wish their children to participate in.

HB 3606 could be considered in committee today (Wednesday) or Thursday. 

Various amendments have been filed and the sponsor has indicated that House Amendment #3 is the version that will be called in committee. IASB opposes all versions that have been filed (House Amendments 1, 2, and 3).

School board members are urged to call their State Representatives to urge a "NO" vote and to file a witness slip to register opposition to the bill. HB 3606 is posted for hearing in the House Cybersecurity, Data, Analytics, and IT Committee.

Click for a comprehensive analysis of HB 3606.

TEACHER SALARIES
SB 10, which would increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year, was amended in the Senate Education Committee and could be called for a vote on the Senate floor at any time. The amendment made no real substantive change to the underlying bill. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved its minimum teacher salary bill Tuesday, HB 2078, on a vote of 79-31. That bill will now be sent to the Senate. IASB still strongly opposes both bills.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
SB 1189 would add stringent, new requirements for school district Physical Education (P.E.) programs. The bill was called in the Senate Education Committee Tuesday to consider an amendment which would, generally, remove high schools from the new requirements. The underlying bill, however, is still full of onerous, unworkable requirements for school districts and IASB still opposes the bill.

Largely due to the vocal opposition by school board members and administrators, the sponsor did not attempt to move the bill forward and indicated that it would not be considered before the Senate deadline to move bills over to the House. Discussions will continue throughout the session.
A companion bill, HB 2234, is still pending on the House floor.

SCHOOL DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION

SB 1838 and HB 3053 address forced school district consolidation. Specifically, the bills would identify, before May 1, 2020, no less than 25 percent of school districts in Illinois that will be required to hold a referendum to consolidate in the next general election. Several amendments were filed to SB 1838 which were considered Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee. The committee failed to adopt the amendments and the underlying bill is still pending on the Senate floor. HB 3053 was approved by the House last month and has been sent to the Senate.

IASB strongly opposes both bills.

District financial profiles
continue improvement trend

A growing number of school districts were financially solvent in fiscal year 2018 thanks to increased EAVs, growth in state revenue, stable district expenditures, and less borrowing than in previous years. Those are the key findings from the Illinois State Board of Education’s annual financial profile report.

The ISBE analysis also shows a jump in the number of school districts earning the best state designation, “financial recognition,” with fewer districts falling into the poorest designation, “financial watch list” status.

As mentioned, higher EAVs, meaning rising property values, helped boost levy and debt capacity, even as state revenue increased $1.2 billion (19.3 percent) from the previous fiscal year.

ISBE places school districts into four categories of financial health based on a scoring system that evaluates several key metrics: the district fund balance-to-revenue ratio, expenditure-to-revenue ratio, days’ cash on hand, and the percentage of remaining short-term and long-term borrowing capacity.

In all, 695 districts earned “financial recognition,” the highest total in the 16-year history of the financial profiles, up from 640 in fiscal 2017. Meanwhile 111 districts were in the “financial review” category, a decrease from 147 the previous year. Thirty-three districts were designated in the “financial early warning” category, down from 43, while 12 districts landed in the “financial watch” category that can sometimes lead to state intervention, down from 22 districts.

The number of districts that relied on deficit spending to get through the school year dropped to 116 from 344 in last year’s profile. But that number is projected to rise in the current fiscal year – and be reflected in next year’s report – to 310, based on estimates submitted by districts.

That projection could change however, if additional tier funding to districts is provided under Evidence Based Funding (EBF). That is, if lawmaker fund EBF as planned, and if continued increases in property tax revenue from rising EAVs continues to improve the financial outlook for some school districts.

For more information, see the 2018 School District Financial Profiles.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Board members eligible for Excel awards; applications available online

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has a program to recognize outstanding school board members, administrators, staff members, and teachers, and application forms are now available online. Those Who Excel is a statewide program that annually recognizes contributions to all Illinois schools.

Nominations may be sent electronically to jseiler@isbe.net or printed and mailed with required materials to: Communications, ISBE, 100 North First Street, Springfield, IL 62777-0001. All nominations must be received electronically (by close of business) or postmarked by Monday, June 3, 2019. 


This year’s Those Who Excel banquet will be held Saturday, October 19, at the Marriott Bloomington-Normal Conference Center. 


Call ISBE’s communications office for more information at 217/782-4648.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-12

LEGISLATION CHANGES CHAMBERS
BEFORE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BREAK
The Illinois House of Representatives and Senate spent the majority of the week working through bills on their respective chamber floors while also amending bills in committees to posture them for passage before next week's deadline.

With no action this week on the teacher minimum salary bill, the Physical Education mandate bill, or comprehensive teacher shortage legislation, next week will likely determine the direction of the rest of session as the General Assembly moves towards the May 31st adjournment date. While many bills will have deadlines extended, every deadline passed on the calendar helps to further define what legislation is active and what is not likely to become law this session.

Although legislation on some of the major issues did not move this week, there was no shortage of bills impacting school districts that were considered. In this report you will find a list of bills that were approved by committees for floor action and that were approved on the floor and moved to the opposite legislative chamber.

IASB Legislative Alert 101-03

IASB Legislative Alert 03

DEADLINE/SPRING BREAK APPROACHING FOR LEGISLATURE
The Illinois General Assembly finished another busy week in the Capitol, but has left much work to be done before it hits the half-way point of the legislative session. Both the Senate and House of Representatives adjourned for the week and are scheduled to return next Tuesday. Next Friday is the deadline to have bills considered in their house of origin. So all House bills must be considered on the House floor and all Senate bills must be considered on the Senate floor by then. Both chambers will then recess for two weeks, returning to Springfield on April 30.

Hundreds of bills are still awaiting action on the chamber floors, so expect a frenetic pace next week. House Speaker Michael Madigan has already alerted his members to be prepared for long work days, even into the night.

CONTINUED INVOLVEMENT STILL KEY
Participation in the legislative process by school board members is crucial at this point of the session. After slogging through thousands of bills earlier in the spring, there is a slightly clearer picture as to which issues are seriously moving through the process. School board members contacting their legislators to let them know how legislation will affect their school districts can determine the outcome of legislation in many cases.

All bills will be up for a vote next week, including several controversial pieces of legislation highlighted in previous IASB Legislative Reports. Even for school board members who have contacted their legislators previously on an issue, it is important to make that contact again before next Tuesday.

SIGNFICANT ISSUES STILL PENDING ACTION
Details about the following bills can be found in a previous IASB Legislative Alert. Click below for  the status as of April 5.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Referendum results mixed

Preliminary voting results posted on county election authority websites indicate that only a few school finance questions fared well on April 2. Unofficial school referendum results from the consolidated election show voters approved six of 20 bond propositions, two of four county sales tax plans, and one of three district tax increase questions per se.

A district tax hike was approved in Limestone CHSD 310, Bartonville (a 55-cent increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in their education fund).  Last year a similar tax referendum in Limestone CHSD 310 was defeated by fewer than 200 votes.  A tax increase also was approved through Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) ceiling increases in Mokena SD 159. But voters in Collinsville CUSD 10 rejected a tax hike per se, to benefit the transportation fund, a proposed increase of 30 cents per $100 of equalized assessed property valuation. Likewise, voters in Lisle CUSD 202 voted down a $1.9 million proposed tax increase to benefit the education fund.

As mentioned, building bond issues were approved in six school districts:
  • Mendon CUSD 4, $6 million
  • Hinsdale THSD 86,  $139.8 million
  • Summersville SD 79, $.41 million
  • O’Fallon CCSD 90, $2.26 million
  • Smithton CCSD 130, $5 million
  • St. George CCSD 258, $6.9 million
But 14 bond issues were defeated in 12 school districts:
  • Alden-Hebron CCSD 19, $20.3 million
  • Barrington CUSD 220, $185 million
  • Bradley SD 61, $10 million
  • Community Unit School District 4, Hebron, $6 million
  • East Dubuque Unit SD 119, $12 million
  • Iroquois West CUSD 10, $25 million
  • Komarek SD 94, $22 million
  • Minooka CCSD 201, $50 million
  • Okaw Valley CUSD 302, $6.5 million
  • River Trails SD 26, $19 million
  • Stockton CUSD 206, $9.8 million
  • Stockton CUSD 206, $12.4 million
  • Stockton CUSD 206, $18 million
  • Winnetka SD 36, $90.6 million
Stockton voters were faced with three referendum questions and four options; they could vote yes on any one of three funding levels or, for the fourth option, vote no on all three funding levels. The board had said that if multiple questions passed, the district would only honor the highest single amount approved. Voter chose the fourth option, rejecting any additional bond funding.

Of four countywide sales tax increase proposals earmarked for school facility purposes, voters approved those in Fayette, and Union counties. But voters defeated such sales tax plans in Effingham and Tazewell Counties.  To date 56 counties have adopted a sales tax to benefit school facilities (see map above), meaning well over half (55 percent) of the state’s 102 counties have adopted such a tax.