Thursday, September 29, 2016

Federal Legislative Report 114-11


As mentioned in Federal Legislative Report 114-10, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule changing overtime regulations in May. There is significant opposition to this change, but there was concern that an attempt to pass legislation to overturn the rule before the effective date of Dec. 1, 2016, would fail because not enough legislators would feel comfortable voting “against” workers so close to the election. To provide some relief, H.R. 5813, the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, has been introduced which would phase the new salary threshold in over three years. The bill would also eliminate a provision in the final overtime rule that allows for automatic updates to the salary threshold every three years. The phase-in limits this onerous regulation until legislation overturning it can pass. The goal is for this language to be included in an appropriations measure or a legislative vehicle that would pass before the end of this Congress.

Please contact your members of Congress and our Illinois Senators to express your support for this language.

Click here to read the complete Federal Legislative Report 114-11, including updates on ESSA, the Career and Technical Education Act, School Nutrition Reauthorization, and more.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Upcoming deadlines for district secretary, board president awards

The award is presented
at the Joint Annual Conference.
Holly Jack Award
Created in 2009, the Holly Jack Award honors the memory of longtime IASB administrative assistant Holly Jack.  Applicants must be local district employees (the superintendent’s secretary, superintendent’s administrative assistant, or school board recording secretary) who have performed the duties of a board secretary for a minimum of five years.

Qualifications for the award include a constant desire for self-improvement, passion for public education work, dedication toward improving the quality of life for others and the quality of education in the community, independent problem-solving abilities, and innovation and imagination within the work environment.

The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Sep. 30. Application forms must be signed by the board president and superintendent. Additional letters of support may be included, but these should be limited to five pages or less. The nomination form and information regarding qualifying criteria is available on the IASB website.

Thomas Lay Burroughs Award
Nominations for the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award for the state’s Outstanding School Board President are due Oct. 7. The award was created in 1991 in memory of the late Illinois State Board of Education  chairman and is presented each November at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Qualifications for the award include demonstrating leadership skills on behalf of student learning, educational excellence, equal educational opportunities, and in resolving a crisis or addressing a major difficulty.

Email nominations and accompanying materials to Katherine Galloway at with the subject line indicating “Burroughs Nomination.” For nomination information, visit ISBE’s Burroughs’s Award webpage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Districts can claim refunds for tech purchases

Schools can get refunds for LCD devices they bought from 1998 to 2006.
School districts and schools that bought certain flat-screen LCD TVs, computer monitors, and notebooks have until Oct. 4 to claim cash refunds obtained in a $104 million settlement.

Specifically, the state has settled potential claims on behalf of Illinois school districts and other political subdivisions that purchased LCD panel products between Jan. 1, 1998, and Dec. 31, 2006 for their own use and not for resale.

Schools and school districts may receive thousands of dollars, depending on the number of items purchased. No receipts, invoices, or other proof is required to file. The filing forms take a few minutes to complete and submit.

The payout stems from a lawsuit filed by the state of Illinois that alleges Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) manufacturers conspired to fix prices, causing illegal overcharges.

Although the exact payment depends on the total claims made, school districts could get up to $270 for each TV, $205 for each monitor, and $165 for each notebook computer. But quick action is needed, because the filing deadline is near. School districts and schools may not file their own separate lawsuits, and claims must be filed by Oct. 4 in order to qualify to receive funds under the $104 million state settlement.

To submit a claim form online, click here.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fourteen resolutions considered, recommendations made

IASB Delegate Assembly voting determines which
resolutions are to become official positions of the Association.
The IASB Delegate Assembly will gather on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Joint Annual Conference 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.

Fourteen resolutions were submitted by local school boards to address concerns related to election dates, special education, and school finance reform, among other issues. The deadline for districts to submit resolutions was June 22.

The IASB resolutions committee, comprised of one member from each of the Association’s 21 divisions, heard testimony from the submitting districts on Aug. 5. Committee members debated the proposals and made recommendations to adopt or not adopt each measure.

The 2016 Resolutions Committee Report lists the suggested recommendations of the committee members and is being mailed this week to each member district. Providing a summary and the rationale of each resolution, the report is intended to assist districts when deciding how to vote at the Delegate Assembly.

Six new resolutions, four amendments to current positions, and four reaffirmations of position statements are summarized below and listed by subject, sponsoring district, and division. The committee’s recommendation is noted at the end of each summary. Click below to read the new resolutions, amendments, and reaffirmations.

Friday, September 23, 2016

IASB, members weigh in on ESSA process

As Illinois develops its state plan to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a second Listening Tour is underway to provide overview information on the new federal education law, and allow participants to share their ideas on Illinois’ implementation.

Most of ESSA will take effect starting with the 2017-2018 academic year, with implementation occurring over the subsequent 18 months.

Members of IASB’s division leadership teams are scheduled to attend Listening Tour events and offer input. IASB has developed talking points to address the accountability section of the State Plan.

“ESSA says that the percentage of Academic Indicators in the accountability system is required to be ‘significant,’” says Roger Eddy, IASB’s executive director. “What we don’t know is what that’s going to mean.”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Top youth volunteers to earn awards

The top volunteers will get a free trip to Washington, DC.
The search recently began for Illinois’ top youth volunteers of 2017 in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Now through Nov. 8, students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply for the awards in a nationwide youth volunteer recognition program sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The program is in its 22nd year, with awards presented annually on the local, state, and national level.

Applicants must have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service within the past 12 months. Officials will announce Illinois’ top youth volunteers in February, with winners receiving $1,000, along with medallions, and all-expense-paid trips to Washington, DC. Ten national winners will each receive $5,000 awards, along with gold medallions, crystal trophies for their schools, and $5,000 grants from the Prudential Foundation for the charity of the winner’s choice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Celebrate School Board Members Day

The eighth annual Illinois School Board Members Day will be celebrated on Nov. 15. Created by the legislature in 2008, this day of recognition honors board members for their leadership and commitment to achieving excellence in education.

The theme for the 2016 School Board Members Day is “Leadership Start Here.” Members of local boards of education must be responsible leaders not only for the schools and students they are elected to represent, but for their entire community. Board members play a critical role in representative democracy and strive to protect two precious resources: children and tax dollars.

While everyone knows school board members attend meetings, those hours together account for just a fraction of the time they devote to the school district. Board members often attend extracurricular events to support their schools. They participate in professional development opportunities to learn how to be better board members. They are involved in other local activities, representing themselves, their community, and their district. And they are committed to their board responsibilities, not for a paycheck, but to ensure that all students have quality educational opportunities that put them on a path to success. 

To recognize these efforts, IASB has created a package of materials to help districts and communities honor the dedication of local school board members. Illinois School Board Members Day resources include a themed logo, sample press release, letter, and article, as well as marquee messages, Illinois school facts, and an honorary certificate that can be personalized and presented to board members at a meeting or other related school event. 

School districts are welcome to use any of the School Board Members Day resources without additional permission from the Association. All of the materials are available for download on the IASB website.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Candidate information available

In anticipation of the April 4, 2017 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 page includes a list of important dates for candidates to observe, including the first day to circulate nominating petitions, which is today, September 20.

Individuals first considering a run for school board are encouraged to read the “Candidate Considerations,” 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 also appears in the September/October issue of The Illinois School Board Journal, examines best practices and explores the pitfalls that a candidate can encounter in the nominating stage.

Links to the state's full election
calendar are on IASB's elections page.

IASB’s school board elections page also includes links to documents from the State Board of Elections, including the full 2017 election calendar and a “Candidates Guide.”

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

News from ISBE

ESSA guide published, comments sought

A draft of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan was presented to the Illinois State Board of Education at its meeting on Aug. 25. The draft is available online.

A guide to the state ESSA plan is available here.
A reader’s guide has also been made available to help everyone better understand and form questions regarding the draft state plan for implementing this new federal ESSA law. The draft provides information on accountability, assessments, and the statewide system of support, among other topics, for all schools.

Included are a number of questions for school leaders to use to give ISBE additional insights. The state is encouraging school leaders to read the plan and share ideas, critiques, and potential solutions.

When submitting comments, officials ask, please include the name of the responding individual and/or organization, and the pertinent section number, plus the page number referencing the state plan. All such comments may be submitted to through Oct. 7.

October date added to ‘listening tour’

ISBE recently added an October date to the ongoing second round of listening tour meetings it is hosting, with the assistance of Regional Offices of Education, for gathering feedback on ESSA. These meetings are being held across the state to provide overview information on the federal law and allow participants to share their ideas on the draft state plan for implementing the law.

The additional meeting will be held on Oct. 5 at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau, Farm Bureau Theatre, 1350 W. Prairie Dr., Sycamore.

For more information and to download a detailed schedule, visit this site.

KIDS to survey school readiness statewide

State officials say school districts should soon arrange to access ISBE training for their teachers and school readiness coordinators on using the Kindergarten Individual Developmental Survey—or KIDS. This research-based observational tool has been developed for Illinois educators to collect school readiness information.

All school districts will need to report to ISBE on 14 state readiness measures for each kindergartner, beginning in the fall of 2017-2018. Data on each kindergarten student, based on local instruction and assessment practices, will be reported through the KIDS-Tech rating system.

There will be only one data collection period. Districts looking to continue their use of KIDS to monitor student progress and growth may keep on collecting and entering data during the winter and spring, but data sharing will not be required statewide until 2017-2018. Officials suggest districts begin soon to arrange to train teachers on KIDS.

Online and in-person training is available through ISBE for school readiness coordinators, teachers, and administrators throughout the state.

To get more specific information, or to contact someone at ISBE about KIDS or school readiness, e-mail Additional information is available on the ISBE and KIDS websites.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Honor your school principal on October 21

Principals Day is Oct. 21 this year.
The United States Congress has declared October as “National Principals Month” and Governor Bruce Rauner has proclaimed October 21 as “Principals Day” in Illinois. Likewise, school boards should join in celebrating these dedicated professionals in their school districts.

Local school boards are encouraged to adopt a resolution to recognize their schools’ principals at their next school board meeting. It takes a team to build a high quality education environment in our schools. Teachers, parents, board members, and administrators are working together to provide the best future possible for our children. In many cases, it is the school principal that leads this team day-to-day.

A sample resolution is available for local boards of education on our website. Upon approval, please send a copy to Alison Maley at the Illinois Principals Association by email at

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Chicago Schools Tour highlights arts education

A sampling of city fine arts schools are on the tour schedule.
Marking its 45th year, IASB will join with city officials to provide the 2016 Chicago Schools Tour to enable school officials to explore the city’s public education facilities.

Held in conjunction with the Joint Annual Conference, the event will take place on Friday, Nov. 18; from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. School leaders are invited to visit one of four schools during the tours.

The tours, offered in cooperation with the Chicago Board of Education, will spotlight two city high schools and two elementary schools that emphasize the importance of fine arts education in overall student success. All four schools have established innovative learning environments with the goal of educating children as exemplary leaders.

“This year the tours focus on the arts and arts education in schools. The two high schools and two elementary schools included in the tours offer diverse opportunities to explore how the arts can promote student learning and achievement,” said Cynthia Woods, IASB director of advocacy.

This year’s tours will explore the following Chicago schools: 

  • Nettelhorst Elementary School — A PK-8 neighborhood school built in 1892, Nettelhorst provides rigorous academic curriculum enhanced by artist residencies and partnerships in other art forms, such as vocal and instrumental music. Click here for additional information about the school.
  • Gunsaulus Elementary Scholastic Academy — A magnet school located in the Brighton Park neighborhood, its students focus on arts, health, and wellness, in addition to examining the intellectual aspects of what is art and how to convey meaning through artwork. Click here to for additional information about the school.
  • Chicago High School for the Arts — A diverse high school located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, it has created a dual mission by providing comprehensive college preparatory curriculum alongside intensive pre-professional arts training. Click here for additional information about the school.
  •  Little Black Pearl Art and Design Academy — A small charter high school focused on student learning through the arts, Little Black Pearl has shown success in combining art and entrepreneurship through the application of talent, interests, and school by encouraging students to express and challenge their ideas through art. Click here for additional information about the school.

District leaders can choose one of the four tours they would like to take. The $105 per person fee for this event includes transportation to and from each school, and a buffet-style breakfast beginning at 8 a.m. in the Crystal A Ballroom in the West Tower of the Hyatt Regency Chicago. All tour participants must be paid Conference registrants or guests of paid registrants to attend.

Click here to download the Chicago Schools Tour registration form and brochure.
Space is limited to 160 reservations. Registration for the school tours can be made by mail, fax, or by scanning and emailing the completed form with required payment information.

Information about the Chicago Schools Tour is available by emailing Cynthia Woods, or by calling 630/629-3776, ext. 1228; or by emailing Bridget Trojan, or by phone at ext. 1236. 

Visit the Joint Annual Conference webpage for Conference registration and other event information.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Opinions on Education

The following are editorials, commentaries, and opinions from various sources regarding public education, collected in August 2016. Comments and opinions of websites linked from this page do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Click on each headline to read more.

WRITE TEAM: Back to school yields plenty of memories
Kim Brake, Ottawa Times, August 1

Column: Retired teacher would have saved $82,000 —
by moving out of Illinois
Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, August 2

Editorial: Don't share student data in credit card deal
Editorial Board, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 3

Herald-Whig View: Teen Reach law could save after-school program
Editorial Board, Quincy Herald-Whig, August 7

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Candidates can circulate nominating petitions starting September 20

Prospective school board candidates, whether new or running for re-election, may begin circulating nominating petitions on September 20.

A candidate for an Illinois school board must be at least 18 years old, must have lived in the school district for at least one year, and must be a registered voter.

Nominating petitions must include signatures from at least 50 qualified voters or 10 percent of the voters residing within the district, whichever is less.

The filing period is December 12-19 for the April 4, 2017 consolidated election. A candidate’s filing must include a Statement of Candidacy, a receipt indicating a Statement of Economic Interests is on file with the county clerk, and the nominating petitions.

School board candidate nomination papers are to be filed with the county clerk or county board of election commissions. If the school district encompasses more than one county, the correct county is that in which the main office of the school district is located.

Prior to the 2015 election, school board nominating petitions were filed with the school district; this is no longer the case. However, the school district retains the responsibility to receive and certify petitions for referenda.

IASB offers election information and candidate guidance on its public website at This includes links to Illinois Board of Elections’ sample nominating petitions. In addition, the September/October issue of The Illinois School Board Journal offers advice to school board candidates on best practices to employ and mistakes to avoid

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

News from ISBE

‘Listening tour’ continues
Another round of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) listening tour meetings is coming up this month and will continue around the state through October. This tour provides school leaders with an opportunity to offer feedback to better serve all students, especially the most vulnerable.

“I urge all of you to encourage your teachers, parents, and communities to participate on this occasion to ensure access to a high-quality education for each of our diverse students,” State Superintendent Tony Smith recently told school superintendents.

Visit ISBE's ESSA tour page.  For additional information and to download a detailed schedule, see the state's default ESSA site.
The remaining tour schedule includes 13 meetings.
 Board president awardees sought
The Illinois State Board of Education is inviting school leaders to nominate their local board president 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 and is presented each November at IASB’s Joint Annual Conference in Chicago. The conference will be held Nov. 18-20 this year.

Nominations should be submitted by the close of business on Oct. 7. Email nominations to Katherine Galloway at . Please indicate “Burroughs Nomination” in the subject line of the email. For questions, call Galloway at (217) 557-6626. For nomination information and format visit the ISBE Burroughs page.

ISBE provides ESSA answers
A frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) document is available to address concerns about transition issues and other inquiries regarding the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  School leaders who wish may comment on this FAQ document or get any questions that are not addressed in it answered by emailing: (Use “FAQ” in the subject line.) The FAQ is to be updated periodically and ISBE said it will notify districts when this occurs.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Division meetings on way with aid of sponsors

Dinner meeting are scheduled in all 21 IASB regional divisions.
Each of IASB’s 21 regional divisions will hold a dinner meeting this fall, starting with Starved Rock on Sep. 15 and concluding on Nov. 3 with West Cook. These meetings offer topical presentations, networking opportunities, and updates from IASB staff, directors, and division leaders. The fall meetings also feature Master Board Member award presentations and Board Governance Recognition presentations.

The IASB sponsorship program provides opportunities for individuals and organizations to provide financial sponsorship to support and enhance all of the division meetings program purposes: board member professional development, networking, peer recognition, association governance, and learning about resources available from IASB.

IASB’s Fall 2016 division dinner meetings will be sponsored by the following organizations:

Legacy Sponsors
  • Kings Financial Consulting Inc.
  • NaviGate Prepared/Lauren Innovations
  • WCSIT*ISDA (Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance Trust and Illinois School District Agency)
Millennium Sponsors
  • NextEra Energy Services
Century Sponsors
  • First Midstate Inc.
Division Meetings Sponsors
  • GCA Education Services, Inc.
  • Larson & Darby Group
  • Legat Architects
  • OpTerra Energy Services
  • Stifel
  • Wight & Company

Click here for a schedule and information about the upcoming meetings.

For information about division meeting sponsorship opportunities, contact Cathy Talbert, associate executive director, field services and policy services, at ext. 1234, or email her at:

Friday, September 2, 2016

Conference preview lists panels, events

A preview document for the
2016 Conference is now online.
A preview document describing the 2016 Joint Annual Conference is now available on the IASB website to help ensure “Leadership Starts Here” when school leaders use everything the event has to offer. Information includes a master schedule of major Conference events, plus descriptions and time slots for panel sessions and Pre-Conference Workshops.

This year’s event will be the 84th Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials in Chicago.

More than 100 panel sessions are listed, with many designed to help districts save money, increase revenue, or better direct and monitor school finances.

New this year is a School Safety and Security Seminar (p. 21 of the preview) from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 18. A continental breakfast will kick off the seminar, to be followed by three hour-long sessions on specific safety topics.

Also new is the IASB Home Room (p. 23), which will give conference goers a chance to recharge (including their devices) as they exchange information with staff members on IASB services and offerings.

A student art show is also new, along with a music performance and Student Innovation Challenge (p. 24).

Featured again this year are tours of Chicago Public Schools, a Carousel of Panels event, professional development activities for school board/district secretaries, coffee and conversation sessions, Delegate Assembly, conference bookstore, and three highly interesting and entertaining general session speakers.

The Conference preview does not include room locations for events, but that information will be available in the official Conference program, which can be picked up Nov. 18-20 at the registration desk at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. More information about this year’s Conference can also be found here

To view the preview document, visit the Joint Annual Conference webpage . Please see the official conference program for more details. Announcements will also be made online and at specific Conference events.