Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reorganization of ROEs takes effect July 1

Click to enlarge.
Graphic courtesy of IARSS
The number of Regional Offices of Education in Illinois will be reduced from 44 to 35, effective July 1. Public Act 97-0703 from June 2012 reduced the student population minimum for ROEs to 61,000 from 43,000, a move expected to save the state $1.5 million annually.

According to the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS), the consolidation process included combining staffs and office locations, coordinating programs with local school districts, and shuffling management of some educational programs within the ROEs themselves.

“It is never easy to lose members and change how you serve your districts, but each of these regions and the many counties they serve have done it by putting what’s best for Illinois education first,” said incoming IARSS president Jeff Vose. “We have worked hard to ensure any implications are minimized and ask for our schools’ and the public’s patience as we go through a big transition these next few weeks. We look forward to working within our regions to put into practice our commitment to ‘Safety, Support, and Success’ in classrooms around the state.”

July/August Journal offers keys to service, profiles of Gov. Rauner's ed leaders

The July/August issue of The Illinois School Board Journal offers new board members, and their experienced counterparts, keys to school board service towards excellence in governance. The issue also features conversations with Illinois’ two new education leaders: state Secretary of Education Beth Purvis and the new superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education, Tony Smith. In addition, IASB policy experts offer guidance for understanding school board policies and how to establish a policy review cycle.

Click here to read the digital version.

News from IASB

Summer office closings
IASB offices in Springfield and Lombard will be closed on four days in July in observance of the Association’s summer schedule and the national holiday. Both offices will be closed Friday, July 3 and the following three Fridays: July 10, 17, and 24.

IASB membership numbers
IASB is reporting new membership numbers in the wake of several school reorganizations that will take effect July 1 and one recent addition to the district membership. Four reorganizations took place in IASB’s Egyptian Division:

  • The new Spring Garden CCSD 178 combines Dodds CCSD 7 and Ina CCSD 8. 
  • The new Woodlawn SD 209 is a consolidation of Woodlawn CCSD 4 and Woodlawn CHSD 205.  
  • The new Bluford CUSD 318 formed from Bluford CCSD 114 and Webber HSD 204.
  • Nashville CCSD 49 annexed Hoyleton Cons SD 29.

The other reorganization occurred in the Illini Division:

  • Salt Fork CUSD 512 is a consolidation of Jamaica CUSD 1 and Catlin CUSD 5.

There are now 850 public school districts in Illinois. With these changes, and with the addition of Pope County CUSD 1 in Golconda (Shawnee Division), 843 districts are dues-paying members of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

IASB membership records
IASB is appealing to member school districts to help update Association membership information. Member district listings are shown on the Association’s website, and any corrections or new member updates can be sent to the IASB Records Manager at 2921 Baker Drive, Springfield 62703-5929 or sent via email to jkidd@iasb.com.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Video: Extended Legislative Session

Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm, head of IASB's Government Relations department, provides an update on the extended 2015 legislative session.

If the video is not displaying in your browser, click here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Coal City schools damaged by tornado

A tornado caused damage to Coal City CUSD 1 on June 22.

Tornados stretch across Illinois causing significant damage;
one school district among those impacted
Nine confirmed tornados touched down across northern Illinois on Monday, June 22, causing significant damage. The hardest hit was Coal City, a town of 5,500 southwest of Chicago. This was the second tornado to strike the village in less than two years, as they were also impacted by the deadly November 2013 twisters.

Sorm damage at Coal City.
The EF3 tornado that rolled through Coal City brought 160 mph winds cutting a path of destruction three-quarters of a mile wide in some places. There were no reported fatalities and five confirmed injuries. A fire station was damaged along with a number of residential homes and businesses.

Coal City CUSD 1 sustained damage to both high school and middle school facilities. According to Jason Smith, the chief school business official for the district, the high school sustained damage to the roof, broken windows, and water damage to the gymnasium. Outdoor athletic facilities also saw significant destruction, included most fences down at the baseball, softball, football, and soccer fields, as well as the tennis courts. A scoreboard was destroyed and there was structural damage to the dugouts and backstops of both the baseball and softball fields. The middle school also reported damage to outdoor athletic facilities, and minor damage to the roof and some broken windows.

Alliance Legislative Report 99-28

Alliance Legislative Report 99-28
Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Wednesday the bill that contains the education portion of the Fiscal Year 2016 state budget. HB 3763 increases K-12 education funding by $240 million over FY 2015 levels, with $206 million going to General State Aid (GSA) resulting in a 92 percent proration. An additional $85 million would be available for distribution to the neediest of school districts through a supplemental grant to entities that receive GSA to limit the loss per student due to proration. The grant would be paid based on the districts with the greatest loss per student. Early Childhood Education gains approximately $25 million over current funding levels under the bill. Click to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 99-28.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Secretary award nominations
sought for 2015

The Illinois Association of School Boards is seeking nominations for the “Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award,” and school districts are being encouraged to nominate board secretaries who excel in their post.

The award was created six years ago to honor the memory of Holly Jack, a long-time employee of the Association who served as an IASB field services administrative assistant. She was instrumental in promoting and developing the secretaries’ professional development programming offered at the Joint Annual Conference.

The award’s purpose is to honor the memory and contribution of Holly Jack and to recognize the extraordinary work and service provided by secretaries who serve and assist their local boards of education. The award will be presented at the IASB/IASA/IASBO annual conference in Chicago on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sixteen newspapers earn Cole Awards
for school board coverage

Sixteen Illinois newspapers received awards for school board news coverage at the 2015 Illinois Press Association’s “Best of the Press” presentations on June 12.

The Robert M. Cole Award, sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Boards, recognizes outstanding coverage of education issues that emphasize the community’s connection with its local public school district.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Federal Legislative Report 114-4


At the end of April, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted unanimously to pass the Senate’s bipartisan ESEA Reauthorization (as reported in FLR 114-3) out to the Senate floor. Since then, both the House and Senate versions have been on hold pending being scheduled for floor time. The Senate may begin floor action on their version later this month.

Read the full Federal Legislative Report (114-4) here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Registration open for
2015 Joint Annual Conference

2015 JAC
Registration for 2015 Joint Annual Conference and Housing is now open. Forms and instructions are available on the IASB website for both school district and non-district attendees.

Recognized as one of the nation's premier state education conferences, the event is open to local school board members, superintendents and secretaries, school administrators, state and regional education officials, school attorneys, university professors, exhibitors, and guests. The 2015 conference will be held Nov. 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago and Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. This will be IASB's 101st annual conference and the 83rd joint conference with IASA and Illinois ASBO.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Video: Mandated training offered by IASB

In the below video Dean Langdon, IASB associate executive director for board development, reviews the various types of state-mandated training for school board members and how those requirements can be completed.

If the video is not displaying in your browser, click here.

Alliance Legislative Report 99-27

After announcing a “continuous session” at the end of scheduled adjournment in May, the House and Senate have agreed to meet at the Capitol every Tuesday in June. The reported schedule will give the majority leaders in the legislative and executive branch at least three more opportunities to work out their differences before current budget plan expires on July 1. If the action undertaken this week is any indication, a compromise solution does not appear to be at hand.

Read the full Alliance Legislative Report (99-27) here.

News from IASB

IASB welcomes new member district

Pope County CUSD 1, Golconda, is IASB’s newest member district. The district, which is located in the Association’s Shawnee Division, had last been a member in 2009. The Pope County district is served by Field Services Director Patrick Rice.

With that addition, the count of IASB member districts now stands at 847, and just eight districts are not members of the Association out of a total of 855 public school districts in the state. Note: there are three fewer districts today in Illinois than last year at this time, the result of local voter approval of three school district consolidations at the Nov. 4, 2014 general election, with none approved since.

Voters agreed to combine Dodds CCSD 7, Mt. Vernon, and Ina CCSD 8, and approved the consolidation of Woodlawn CHSD 205 and Woodlawn CCSD 4, as well as the consolidation of Catlin CUSD 5 and Jamaica CUSD 12.

Firm joins Service Associates

Frank Cooney Company, Inc., a provider of furniture for educational environments, Wood Dale, has been invited to join Service Associates. IASB’s Service Associates is an organization of businesses offering school-related products and services and having earned favorable reputations for quality and integrity.

Prospective members are screened by the Service Associates Executive Committee, which reviews the candidate firms and then forwards eligible ones to the IASB Board of Directors.

IASB currently has 72 Service Associate members. A complete listing of the members can be found online here. A print directory of the membership is also published in each issue of The Illinois School Board Journal.

More information on the program, including costs and benefits, can be found here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

School Board Governance Recognition
awards available

School boards that learn and practice effective governance behaviors are facing an August 1 application deadline to complete requirements and file their papers in IASB’s School Board Governance Recognition program.

The awards program acknowledges boards that display effective governance behaviors as identified in IASB’s Foundational Principles of Effective Governance (see the list of principles online at www.iasb.com/principles.cfm).

To earn the recognition, boards must display effective governance behaviors both through participation in and support for board development programs and events. The primary focus is on the entire school board’s development and participation rather than individual board member efforts.

Applications are available on IASB’s Members Only website under the “IASB involvement” tab. To help facilitate what boards need to do to complete the application, a checklist is available for download at http://www.iasb.com/training/governancechecklist.pdf. Additional information and details can also be found in a tutorial video, available online.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Reminder: Conference Housing & Registration opens next week

2015 Joint Annual Conference Registration and Housing opens Monday, June 15. Registration forms and instructions will be available for school district and non-district attendees on the IASB website.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Video: Roger Eddy Welcomes New Board Members

Executive Director Roger Eddy welcomes new school board members with the recorded message below. In the video Eddy discusses current Association initiatives and IASB resources and services available to assist board members with their duties as public education leaders in Illinois.

If the video is not displaying in your browser, click here.

Alliance Legislative Report (99-26)

The Illinois House of Representatives met in session Thursday as the stalemate between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrat leadership has sent the legislative session into overtime. The Governor will not discuss a budget compromise with House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton until his business and taxation reform proposals are adopted. Thus far, the Democrat leaders have shown no interest in approving the Governor’s proposals on property tax relief and workers’ compensation reform. The original scheduled adjournment date for the session was May 31.

Read the full Alliance Legislative Report (99-26) here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

More Leading News:
Debate over civics

Click on the headline to read IASB deputy executive director Ben Schwarm's comments in this article from the Chicago Tribune.

Debate over civics: Should it be required for graduation in Illinois?
June 2, 2015
By Diane Rado, Chicago Tribune
For the first time in a decade, the state is preparing to add another requirement to the list of classes high school students must take to get their diplomas — a civics course — and it's generating controversy, confusion and opposition. ...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Proration vs. per pupil reductions

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will continue to discuss changes that seek to address the distribution of General State Aid dollars. At the center of current discussions is whether funding cuts to K-12 education should be applied as per pupil reductions or a proration percentage, as has been the practice for the past several years.
Neither option will address the insufficient state funding dilemma facing public school districts throughout the state. However, proponents of using the “per pupil reduction” method argue that it will be less harmful to districts that are more reliant on state funding and have less property wealth. ISBE plans to take up the matter again at its June 17 meeting, with a vote possible.
More information on the proration vs. per pupil reductions can be found in the state superintendent’s May 19 Weekly Message and in the IASB summary of the May ISBE meeting on the Members Only site (under the IASB Governance tab).


State Superintendent Tony Smith hosted a webinar May 28 to introduce himself to school officials and education personnel across the state. Smith discussed his education philosophy and continued his mantra of providing additional support and resources for Illinois students. For those who were not able to participate in the webinar a recording of the event is available on ISBE’s website.

Lunch equipment grants available

ISBE has released its Request for Proposals (RFP) for National School Lunch Program Equipment Assistance Grants. $950,534 in grant funds will be provided to approved school food authorities (SFA) to assist in purchasing equipment that meets the updated meal pattern requirement, improves food safety, and expands access to healthy meals. SFAs that participate in the federally funded National School Lunch Program are eligible to apply.
The FY 2016 Equipment Grant RFP is available here and is due by June 30, 2015.

Pupil transportation claim reimbursement system

The Pupil Transportation Claim Reimbursement System (PTCRS) is now available for local education agencies to submit claim data for the 2014-2015 school year. Instructions for submitting PTCRS claims are available here.