Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Waiver deadline approaching to opt out of School Code mandates

School districts applying for a waiver from Illinois School Code mandates need to have their applications postmarked by August 15 to be considered this fall. Application forms mailed to the Illinois State Board of Education by the deadline are reviewed and submitted in a report to the General Assembly by October 1.

Most such waivers or modifications remain in effect for up to five school years and may be renewed if the district reapplies.

For the state to grant a waiver of a School Code mandate, a school district must demonstrate it can meet the mandate’s intent in a more effective, efficient, or economical manner; or that the waiver is necessary to stimulate innovation or to improve student performance. If school leaders are applying for a modification of School Code mandates (such as for attendance days), or for a waiver or a modification of administrative rules, there is no submission deadline. But approval must be granted before the modification can be made, and the process of for applying then is exactly the same in as applying for a waiver of a School Code mandate.

The applicant school board may only approve the waiver request following a public hearing on the application and plan. Proper notice of that hearing needs to be posted on the district’s website at least 14 days beforehand, and proper newspaper notice publication is required at least seven days before the hearing. The waiver request must be submitted to the State Board of Education within 15 days of its approval by the school board.

Any requests the state board fails to disapprove are granted, and even rejected waiver requests may be appealed to the legislature, which sometimes reverses the state agency’s ruling.

By law, waivers cannot be allowed from laws, rules, and regulations regarding special education, township treasurers, teacher certification, or teacher tenure and seniority, nor can they be granted if they pertain to ESSA requirements, or Section 5-2.1 of the School Code (eligibility of voters in school elections). Certain student performance data requirements for certified staff evaluations also cannot be waived. Waivers are no longer needed for legal school holiday requests, and most parent-teacher conference schedules.

State law (105 LCS 5/2-3.25g) limits terms of physical education waivers. It provides that an approved physical education waiver or modification may remain in effect for up to two school years and may be renewed no more than two times.

The waiver law was the brainchild of former IASB Executive Director Hal Seamon, and the Association was instrumental in its adoption. More than 6,000 waiver requests have been approved since the law took effect in March 1995, with over 100  new requests each year. In the most recent six-months, out of a total of 57 requests the largest category of applications received included 21 requests seeking waivers from the requirements for non-resident tuition.  The next largest category of applications received – 16  requests, were related to administrative cost cap limitations. Seven requests were related to physical education, and three were related to waiving the costs of driver’s education, while three more pertained to the required publication of a school district’s annual statement of affairs.

ISBE provides a complete overview for the waiver process on its website. Application forms and instructions for waivers and modifications can also be downloaded from the agency website. Any questions can be directed to ISBE’s Division of Regulatory Support and Wellness at 217/782-5270, or waivers@isbe.net.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Carousel of Panels offers 28 panel presentations

A Carousel of Panels will provide school officials a wide assortment of topics to learn from at the Joint Annual Conference.

In one room, 28 presentations will be offered simultaneously over a one-hour and 30-minute period. Each presentation repeats twice, allowing Conference attendees to take part in three different presentations of 30 minutes each. The event will be held Saturday, November 23 from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Chicago hotel.

The Carousel of Panels will include the following topics and presenting districts and organizations:

  • School Construction: Transforming Your District — Robbins Schwartz
  • Enhancing Instructional Skills in PLCs — Calumet Public SD 132
  • Need a System for Gifted Placement Appeals? We’ve Got One — Oak Grove SD 68/Green Oaks
  • Restorative Practices: A Road for Successful Implementation — Woodland CCSD 50
  • Transforming Community Resources for Student Success — NIU STEAM, Northern Illinois University
  • Individualized Plans Promoting Equity, Advocacy, and Growth — Unity Point SD 140
  • Collaborate, Communicate, Innovate — Waukegan CUSD 60
  • Bringing the Standards to Life: Facilitated Dialogue — University of Northern Iowa
  • Creating Conditions to Leverage Collective Efficacy — Community High School District 99
  • Socio-Political and Historical Foundations of Race — Black Educational Advocacy Coalition of Illinois (BEAC)
  • Get Out and Lead! Building a Balanced Climate and Culture — Manteno CUSD 5
  • Transform Your Library: Tech Tools to Make it Thrive — Oak Lawn CHSD 229
  • There’s No Place Like Home — Calumet Public SD 132
  • Hot Topics in Labor and Employment for Illinois Schools — Ottosen Britz Kelly Cooper Gilbert & DiNolfo, Ltd. and Wiedner & McAuliffe, Ltd.
  • Fiscally Responsible Selection of Curricular Resources — Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123
  • Virtual Coaching for Teachers and Administrators — Consortium for Educational Change and McKendree University 
  • How Can 4-H Help Your School Reach Your Goals? — University of Illinois Extension and Blue Ridge CUSD 18
  • There’s No Crying in PD — Central CUSD 301
  • From a Fighting Board to a Fixing Board — Creve Coeur SD 76
  • Future Ready: Growing Teacher Leaders — Concordia University and Lake Villa CCSD 41
  • Our Journey Towards Trauma-Informed Schools — Calumet Public SD 132
  • Understanding the Evidence-Based Funding Model — Eastern Illinois University
  • Increasing the Engagement of Culturally Diverse Families — Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123
  • University and Schools Connect for Student Success — NIU STEAM, Northern Illinois University and Center for P-20 Engagement
  • Facility Planning to Optimize Community Engagement — Hononegah CHSD 207
  • From Insight to Intervention: Leading with Data — Forecast5 Analytics and Flossmoor SD 161
  • Mock Suspension Hearing — Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, Ltd.
  • Developing Trauma-Responsive Rural Schools and Communities — Consortium for Educational Change and McKendree University

2019 Joint Annual Conference registration and housing is available online. A full list of all Conference panels, activities, and other related events will be included in the Conference Preview posted on the IASB website in September.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Panel presentations selected
to 'Share the Success'

Twenty-eight panels have been selected from proposals submitted by school districts and related education organizations for presentation at the 2019 Joint Annual Conference.

A volunteer committee of school board members from throughout the state reviewed the winning proposals for hour-long “Share the Success” presentations set for November 22-24 in Chicago.

Presenting entities and chosen panels are:
  • River Trails SD 26 – Instruction and Finance as Partners, Budgeting for Achievement
  • O’Fallon CCSD 90, O’Fallon THSD 203, Central SD 104, Shiloh Village SD 85 – Board Academy
  • Elmhurst CUSD 205 – Engaging Your Community on What Matters Most
  • Belvidere CUSD 100 – Wellness for All: The Family Doctor is Back
  • Oak Grove SD 68/Green Oaks – Renovating Older Buildings: A Blueprint for Success
  • CHSD 230 – Educator Employment Pipelines through Creative Partnerships
  • Streator THSD 40 – Creating and Sustaining an Educational Foundation
  • Deerfield SD 109 – Closing the “Knowing-Doing” Gap
  • Western Illinois University, North Greene USD 3, La Grange Highlands SD 106, Macomb CUSD 185 – Working With Board Values, Bias, and Generational Differences
  • Evergreen Park ESD 124 – Strategic Communication: Take Control of Your Own Story
  • Northern Illinois University, Genoa-Kingston CUSD 424, ISBE – Illinois Report Card 2019: New Data to Drive Success
  • Lemont-Bromberek SD 113A – From Crisis to Comeback: A School Board’s Turnaround
  • Woodridge SD 68 – PBIS: Improving Learning through Creativity and Celebration
  • Fenton CHSD 100 – Advanced Placement District of the Year
  • Genoa-Kingston CUSD 424, Northern Illinois University – Planning for Success through a Strategic Planning Process
  • Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200, Lockport THSD 205, and the Robert Crown Center for Health Education – Vaping, Marijuana, Opioids: Prevention through Knowledge
  • Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, Cobden CUSD 17, Abingdon-Avon CUSD 276, Macomb CUSD 185 – Rural Schools in the Crosshairs
  • Bunker Hill CUSD 8 – Innovation and Inquiry Experiences in Classrooms of the 21st Century
  • Oregon CUSD 220 – #SocEnt: How Social Entrepreneurship is Changing Schools
  • Flossmoor SD 161, Harvard CUSD 50 – Starting Fresh: Effectively On-Boarding a New Superintendent
  • North Palos SD 117 – Transforming an Old Building after a Failed Referendum
  • Indian Prairie CUSD 204 – Tangible Governance Strategies: Is Your Board Working as a Team?
  • Yorkville CUSD 115 – From Balcony to Dance Floor: It Takes Two to Tango
  • Lindop SD 92 – Need and Numbers: Board Policies for Equity and Accountability
  • West Prairie SD 103, Macomb CUSD 185, Farnsworth Group – Bring Your Community to the Arena; Cheap Seats Not Allowed
  • Huntley Community SD 158 – Going Green, Saving Green: Energy Efficiency Maximizes Money
  • Barrington CUSD 220, DLR Group, Pepper Construction – Educational Facilities Master Planning for the Future
  • Manteno CUSD 5 – The Art of Painless Negotiating

Committee members evaluated proposals on the basis of key criteria, including
  • Interest or relevance for board members;
  • Creativity and innovation;
  • Evidence to support program success; and
  • Ability to be replicated by other school districts.
A full description of all Conference panels and other programing will be available in the Conference Preview to be posted on the Conference website in September.

Online Conference registration and housing is now open. The 2019 event will be the 87th Joint Annual Conference with the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) and Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO).

Sunday, July 7, 2019

School Code update now available from IASB

The Illinois Association of School Boards has received shipment of the 2019 Illinois School Code Supplement.

Copies of the Supplement will be mailed to school districts and others who previously purchased copies of the 2018-2019 School Code Service. There is no need to place additional orders.

All new sales of the School Code Service include both the 2018 Code and the 2019 Supplement until the 2020 Code becomes available next year.

The Supplement includes print and digital versions of the entire publication. Accessed by a digital code that was attached to the inside cover of the School Code book, the digital version includes an updated version of the complete School Code, current through all of the 2018 legislative session. The online access also includes annotations with case law and other references, all Illinois State Board of Education rules, and text of court cases cited in the annotations.

The 2018-2019 School Code Service carries a large number of additional statutes pertinent to the public schools, including selected election and pension laws, Educational Labor Relations Act, Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, Economic Disclosure Section of the Governmental Ethics Act, Truth in Taxation Act, Local Records Act, Personnel Record Review Act, Prevailing Wage Act, Emancipation of Mature Minors Act, Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, Gift Ban Act, pertinent sections from the Juvenile Court Act, School Visitation Rights Act, and a complete index.

The 2018-2019 School Code Service may be obtained from IASB for $65 each ($55 for IASB members) plus a $7 per order shipping fee.

For more information or to place orders, call 217/528-9688, ext.1108, or visit the online bookstore.

Friday, July 5, 2019

PRESS assists members with bond disclosure obligations

PRESS Issue 97, January/February 2018, debuted a new administrative procedure 4:40-AP, Preparing and Updating Disclosures, to assist districts in complying with federal securities laws for bond issues.  The administrative procedure is based on a sample document from the law firm of Chapman and Cutler, LLP and was last updated in PRESS Issue 100, February/March 2019.  Typically, as part of the due diligence preparations for a bond issue, a district will have to certify that it has a “policy” on disclosures. According to Chapman, the implementation of 4:40-AP, although not a board policy, satisfies this requirement. Alternatively, some districts may choose to re-number 4:40-AP for placement as a policy in their board policy manuals. However, in that case, any future changes to the policy will require board action. In contrast, changes to administrative procedures can be implemented more quickly because they do not require board action.

Board members who would like to brush up on their board policy duties can do so by enrolling in “Policy 101,” a 20-minute course that was recently released through the IASB Online Learning Center. The course is for both new and veteran board members wanting to understand and refresh their understanding of the policy and school board connection.