Friday, September 29, 2017

Analysis, training on new
funding formula offered

With the recent enactment of a new state school funding formula, school administrators and board members across the state are trying to determine exactly what this means for their districts.

The new Act contains the compromise school funding reform provisions approved in August of 2017. Included is an evidence-based school funding formula that recognizes individual student needs, accounts for differences in local resources, closes funding gaps, and provides for a stable system that gets all districts to adequacy over time. The 550-page Act also includes provisions intended to provide mandate relief to local school districts and creates a new income tax credit for the payment of tuition to non-public schools.

“The new funding formula is very complex and there is going to be a big learning curve for school administrators and board members to understand the intricacies,” said IASB Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm.

A detailed analysis, a quick-view breakdown, and a power point presentation regarding SB 1947 are available here.

IASB, IASA, and Illinois ASBO are involved in informing school districts about SB 1947 as well. Here is a schedule of three “super-region meetings” that are designed to continue the learning process around and implementation of the Evidence-Based Model contained in the new law.

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 9-11:30 a.m.
Heartland Community College
Astroth Community Education Center
1500 West Raab Road, Normal, Illinois
Presented by: Brent Clark and Gary Tipsord

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 1-3 p.m. (meeting was originally scheduled at UTI)
Hilton Lisle/Naperville – Regency Ballroom
3003 Corporate West Drive
Lisle, IL 60532
Presented by: Brent Clark, Michael Jacoby, Ralph Martire, and Ben Boer

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, 9-11:30 a.m.
Rend Lake College
Learning Resources Center Theatre
468 N. Ken Gray Parkway, Ina, Illinois
Presented by: Brent Clark

Registration information can be found by clicking here. The Illinois State Board of Education has additional information on its website as well.

“Administrators are urged to attend the upcoming seminars presented by IASBO, IASA, and the State Board of Education to learn more about how the new formula will work,” said Schwarm.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report (100-45)

With the enactment of a new school funding formula, school administrators and board members across the state are trying to determine exactly what this means for their districts. An analysis, a quick view, and a power point presentation regarding SB 1947 are available here. IASA and Illinois ASBO are involved in informing school districts about SB 1947 as well.

Click here to for the schedule of events and to access registration information, and to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report (100-45), which includes a list of the key education bills that have been signed into law, and their effective dates.

Still time to submit nominations for 2017 Holly Jack Award

IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy
presented the award to 2016
winner, Karen Vota of Coal City.

Time is running out to submit applications for IASB’s 2017 Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award. Districts across the state are encouraged to nominate board or district secretaries who go above and beyond expectations to serve the staff, school board, community, and students.

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 nomination form needs 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 Sep. 30. 

The recognition was created to honor the memory of long-time IASB employee Holly Jack, who worked as a field services administrative assistant and 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).

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Balancing, unlearning, and reflecting highlight IASB Fall Division lineup

Programming has been announced for the Fall Division Dinner Meetings, to be held in coming weeks in each of IASB’s 21 divisions.

One presentation reflects a change from the original schedule. On October 5, the Wabash Valley Division will feature a presentation on “Managing and Developing Teacher Capital,” with Kyle Thompson from Regional Office of Education 11, Charleston, and Mark Doan, the superintendent for Effingham CUSD 40. State Secretary of Education Beth Purvis, originally scheduled to speak, stepped down from her position as of September 15.

The 2017 schedule opens with the September 26 Illini Division event, which includes “Reflections from Retired Superintendents: How to Improve Board/Superintendent Relations.” That panel will feature former superintendents Jim Helton, Rick Johnston, Judy Wiegand, and Preston Williams.

Author, educator, and speaker Jim Burgett will bring his “Art of School Boarding” presentation to the Northwest Division on October 2, Starved Rock on October 12, North Cook on October 18, and DuPage on October 19. Burgett and colleague Kevin Heid will present “Creative Funding Ideas for School Districts” on October 26 for Central Illinois Valley attendees.

On October 11 in the Lake Division, Michael Lubelfeld, superintendent for Deerfield SD 109, and Nick Polyak, superintendent for Leyden CHSD 212, will present on “The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today,” which is also the title of a book they co-wrote.

Thomas Bertrand, superintendent of Rochester CUSD 3A, will present “Don’t Lose Your Balance,” offering strategies to focus on and align actions to core values, to the Three Rivers Division on October 30.

Other division dinner meeting topics include collective bargaining, social-emotional learning, the teacher shortage, school safety, the future of STEM, and student discipline.

Visit and click “My Account” for full information on Division Dinner Meeting programming, dates, times, and registration.

Each of the 21 meetings offers networking opportunities and updates from Association staff and division directors and chairpersons. Attendance will earn participants five points in IASB’s Master Board Member Program.

The following organizations sponsor IASB activities, including Division Dinner Meetings.

  • Premier Sponsor and Service Associate: Workers' Compensation Self-Insurance Trust and Illinois School District Agency
  • Premier Sponsor: NaviGate Prepared
  • Legacy Sponsor and Service Associate: Kings Financial Consulting, Inc.
  • Legacy Sponsors: edEdge, Guin Mundorf, LLC
  • Millennium Sponsor: NextEra Energy Services
  • Century Sponsor and Service Associate: First Midstate Inc., Stifel
  • Division Meetings Sponsors and Service Associates: GCA Education Services, Inc.; Larson and Darby Group, Legat Architects, Inc., OpTerra Energy Services, and  Wight & Company

Friday, September 22, 2017

School district labor
scene quiet at start of year

Four teacher strikes were called last school year.
There have been no teacher strikes since the school year began about a month ago for most districts in Illinois. Some contract disagreements have been reported, including one involving a federal mediator.

According to data provided by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, federal mediation is ongoing in Quincy SD 172, where the teacher union’s membership voted down a tentative agreement reached two months ago. The contract talks, underway since February, included sessions with a federal mediator on Aug. 31 and Sept. 12.

The talks reportedly will continue, even though the next scheduled negotiation is not yet scheduled. The mediator, who is now arranging the next meeting date, was called in from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent agency of the U.S. government that provides mediation services to schools, and government and community organizations, as well as to industry. Typically a mediator offers a helpful outside perspective, with the goal of bringing the two sides together to reach an equitable agreement.

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board says school districts and unions commonly bring in a mediator after both sides cannot find common ground on issues following expiration of an existing contract.

Quincy public schools had previously encountered a strike just last school year: the strike began Jan. 11, and ended Jan. 19, 2017. The Quincy SD 172 Board of Education ratified the teachers’ current one-year contract Feb. 2, but in seeking a longer-term pact, recurring issues led to further disagreements. This may have been complicated by the fact that the union reorganized this year to bring non-teaching school district employees into the labor organization.

Statewide, four teacher strikes occurred last school year, each settled within a matter of days, except a stoppage in East Moline CUSD 37 that lasted more than two weeks. It involved 263 IEA teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, and nurses, beginning Jan. 27 and ending Feb. 15.

Teacher strikes last school year also occurred in Red Hill CUSD 10 (Bridgeport), which involved 78 teachers, custodians, and cooks; Quincy SD 172, which involved 870 teachers; and Pinckneyville SD 50, which involved 30 teachers.

More recent strike authorizations by bus drivers were filed in two different Minooka school districts on Aug. 3, and in Decatur SD 61 on Aug. 31. None of those strike authorizations has led to a strike, but negotiations are ongoing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

State ESSA plan wins federal approval

U.S. Department of Education officials recently gave final approval to the Illinois plan for implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a 2015 law that broadened authority for local governance of schools.

ESSA, which supplanted the No Child Left Behind Act, requires testing in reading and math at various grade levels. Although standardized tests remain part of school accountability, each state develops its own accountability model. The accountability model in Illinois’ plan for ESSA incorporates factors of importance to local school leaders, such as post-secondary readiness, school climate, and school safety.

Accountability is measured for groups of students, but school districts can develop interventions based on local needs if a subgroup is identified as underperforming, with equity as the grounding principle.

State officials say the plan transitions Illinois to a system of balanced accountability. They say the plan gathers and examines multiple indicators of school quality and student growth to inform differentiated levels of support for schools.

The plan advances specific long-term goals for all students to attain by 2032: 90 percent or more of third-grade students are reading at or above grade level; 90 percent or more of fifth-grade students meet or exceed expectations in mathematics; 90 percent or more of ninth-grade are students on track to graduate with their cohort; and 90 percent or more of students graduate from high school ready for college and career.

“Illinois is committed to supporting the whole child in transforming learning opportunities for all students in our state” said Illinois State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith.

The Illinois State Board of Education reports that it is still strengthening the state plan by engaging stakeholders, particularly through working groups assigned to develop grade-level accountability indicators and advise educators on school-based expenditure reporting methods. ISBE will finalize all indicators to be used in the new accountability system by Dec. 31, according to an ISBE memo dated Sept. 13.

The newly approved ESSA plan is available on the ISBE website.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Workshop boosts division leaders’ skills

The second of three leadership workshops designed for IASB’s division officers, this one held in Mt. Vernon on Sep. 16, drew nearly fifteen board members. The training focuses on improving leadership skills and allows those in leadership posts to work together on best practices and to be recognized for their service to the Association.

The purpose of the event is to give division officers an additional professional development opportunity as they help the Association achieve its mission and goals.

Highlighting the day’s discussion and activities was guest speaker Patrick Muhammad, a terrific athlete from East St. Louis who went on to graduate from Kentucky State University, then teach for awhile, and earn his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University. He ultimately became an assistant principal before completing his Education Specialist in Educational Leadership.

Muhammad said true leadership is about who you inspire. Emphasizing that decisions are made 60 seconds at a time and leaders have to make a number of decisions, “those sixty-second intervals can change a life,” he said. “The decisions you make determine a human being’s future.”

Muhammad added that leadership is not about management, adding, “Managers manage things; leaders lead people.”

After lunch, the division leaders split into groups for part two of the workshop. Activities focused on roles within IASB divisions and allowed members to share concepts and practices that they have found beneficial for their areas.

The initial exercise allowed division officers who share the same title/position to work together creating an elevator speech. Attendees were tasked with defining what their position means within the Association, why it is important, and how it impacts member districts. The speeches are intended to be no longer than 30 seconds, or the time it takes for an average elevator ride.

One board member noted the value of the activity, stating that members don’t always understand the governing roles within IASB, so it will help the division leaders to be ready to explain the process.

The final table activity split members into three groups with the goal to discuss division meeting planning. Each group was tasked with sharing success stories that have been well received by board members in attendance.

Everything from meeting locations within a school or at an outside venue, program speakers and topics, breakout sessions, and even candidate briefings were discussed. After the success stories were recorded, the groups reviewed the suggestions to find concepts that would work within their own divisions.

One more division leadership workshop is scheduled for Jan. 27 in Naperville. Registration is available only to division officers, which includes the positions of director, chair, vice-chair, and resolutions chair. IASB maintains 21 geographic divisions that serve as a basis for Association governance and service delivery.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Division leaders’ workshop focus
is on roles, practices, governance

Small group discussions were included on roles
within IASB divisions and shared concepts and practices.
Kicking off the first of three leadership workshops targeted toward IASB division officers, the Springfield event saw nearly twenty board members gather on a Saturday. In addition to a focus on improving leadership skills, the training allows members serving in leadership positions to collaborate with colleagues on best practices and be recognized for their service to the Association.

“The purpose of the event is to provide division officers with an additional professional development opportunity as they help the Association achieve its mission and goals,” said Reatha Owen, field services director for the Blackhawk, Central Illinois Valley, Corn Belt, and Western Divisions.

To begin the day, participants were treated to the engaging and energetic words of a guest speaker
The Springfield workshop drew nearly 20 division leaders.
with deep ties to Illinois. Patrick Muhammad grew up in East St. Louis. A standout athlete, he went on to graduate and attend Kentucky State University. After moving to Georgia, Muhammad entered the classroom as a teacher and later earned his Masters in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University. He would become an assistant principal and complete his Education Specialist in Educational Leadership.

Speaking about the importance of leadership, Muhammad stressed that true leadership is about who you inspire.

Muhammad went on to explain, “Leadership has nothing to do with titles or seniority. Leadership has nothing to do with personal attributes. Leadership isn’t management. Managers manage things. Leaders lead people.”

After a quick lunch, division leaders were tasked with defining what their position means within the association, why it is important, and how it impacts member districts.

They also had an opportunity for small group discussion on their roles within IASB divisions and shared concepts and practices that they have found beneficial for their divisions as well as sharing their success stories.

Additional division leadership workshops are scheduled for Sep. 16 in Mt. Vernon, and Jan. 27 in Naperville. Additional division leadership workshops are scheduled for Sep. 16 in Mt. Vernon, and Jan. 27 in Naperville. Registration is available only to division officers. IASB has 21 geographic divisions that divisions serve as a basis for Association governance and service delivery.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Conference Preview ready to download

A preview booklet for the 2017 Joint Annual Conference, to be held Nov. 17-19 in Chicago, is now available online

Information in this 24-page guide includes a schedule of events, descriptions and time slots for panel sessions, and descriptions for Pre-Conference Workshops and other on-site activities.

This year’s event – “Leading by Learning” – will be the 85th Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

More than 100 panel sessions will be presented on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Titles, descriptions, and time slots are listed in chronological order (see pages 6-17 of the preview). The 60-minute panels will be presented at 9, 10:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. on Friday; 10:30 a.m., 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.

In addition, a Carousel of Panels will be held at 1:45 p.m. Saturday (see page 14).

Other professional development opportunities will be conducted specifically for superintendents, business officials, attorneys (see page 22), and school board members on Friday, Nov. 17 (see page 21). A separate School Safety and Security Seminar is also available Friday (see page 23). Each of these events requires an additional fee and advance registration.

There is no additional charge for those attending the two-day Administrative Professionals’ Program (see Pages 16-17); however, this event does require paid conference registration.

Information about this year’s keynote speakers can be found on page 5.

Additional details and updates will be available in the official Conference Program, which can be picked up Nov. 17-19 at the registration desk at the Hyatt Regency. Those seeking to register or secure housing can access those forms online at:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Burroughs Award nominations sought

There is less than a month left to nominate local school board presidents for the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award, which is given annually to the state’s outstanding school board president. The deadline for the Illinois State Board of Education to receive nominations is Friday, Oct. 6.

Created in 1991 in memory of the late ISBE chairman, the award is presented each November at the Joint Annual Conference of IASB, IASA and Illinois ASBO. This year’s conference will be held on Nov. 17-19, and the award will be presented on Sunday, Nov. 19.

The Burroughs Award is intended to recognize extraordinary leadership on behalf of education at the local level. The criteria for the 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.

Leadership is defined by the award criteria as including group skills, such as consensus-building proficiency and teamwork, as well as individual traits such as vision, courage, integrity, etc.

School districts fortunate enough to have a board president who has provided outstanding leadership in one or all of these areas are encouraged to nominate him or her for the 2017 Burroughs Award. Anyone who has served as president of a local school board in 2017 is eligible for consideration, including those who might have been nominated in prior years.

Nominations should be submitted to Katherine Galloway, via email at: Indicate Burroughs Nomination as the subject. For more information, including award details, and the format for nominations, visit:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Registration still open for school support staff event

Registration for SupportCon Springfield (previously known as the Educational Support Professionals
Conference) is still open for school support staff seeking to further develop their job skills in today’s constantly changing educational environment. The Sep. 19 event will take place at the President Abraham Lincoln DoubleTree beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Listed among SupportCon Springfield’s featured topics are: Maintaining the Board Policy Manual, Basics of the Open Meetings Act (OMA), and Diversity and Inclusion. A full day of professional development opportunities for educational support staff will kick off with opening remarks by Roger L. Eddy, IASB executive director.

The conference for school office staff will also include six morning and five afternoon hour-long breakout sessions, with three led by IASB presenters. One afternoon session will feature a diversity and inclusion presentation by Board Development Director Sandra Kwasa, and Trainer Nesa Brauer. A morning breakout session on the OMA will be led by General Counsel Kimberly Small; another early one, on policy manual maintenance, will be led by Policy Consultant Angie Powell.

IASB and Illinois ASBO are helping to sponsor the event, which caters to the range of work performed by support professionals. In addition to the speakers from the Association, legal and financial experts will be on hand to answer questions and guide discussion.

Registration for the event is available at the Illinois ASBO website.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Sample policy, news releases
available prior to Conference

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.

That includes adopting a policy in support of professional development for board members that permits and encourages ongoing leadership training for board members.

IASB has a sample policy (2:120) on this issue: “The school board desires that its individual members learn, understand and practice effective governance principles. The board is responsible for board member orientation and development. Board members have an equal opportunity to attend state and national meetings designed to familiarize members with public school issues, governance, and legislation.

“The board president and/or superintendent shall provide all board members with information regarding pertinent education materials, publications, and notices of training or development.”

Boards should consider the sample policy or adopt their own before attending the Joint Annual Conference, which is scheduled for Nov. 17-19 in Chicago.

The conference provides training to school board members and administrators through hundreds of 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.

Sample news releases are also being developed by IASB to assist those districts that want to pro-actively share what they will do and/or did at the 2017 Joint Annual Conference. Both releases will contain language that allows districts to specify who attended, how much the district spent, and how it fit into the district budget and professional development goals. There will be additional blanks to fill in names and titles with suggested quotes and to make other optional remarks. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Registration open for School Safety and Security Seminar

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
For the second year, a School Safety and Security Seminar will take place in conjunction with the Joint Annual Conference. The 2017 event, titled “Preparation for School Safety,” will be held on Friday, Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

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 for their districts.

Online registration is available for IASB members registered for the Conference, with instructions posted on the Conference website. Non-members interested in attending should contact Chris Montrey at 217/528-9688, ext. 1143. The extra $140 fee for the Safety and Security Seminar includes a continental breakfast. Advance registration will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, as long as space is available.

“Preparation for School Safety” will include the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program. School districts will be presenting, as well as featured speaker Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a leading author and trainer on school safety.

Colonel Grossman, a U.S. Army Ranger, a paratrooper, and former West Point psychology professor, has five patents to his name, has published four novels, two children’s books, and six non-fiction works, plus a New York Times best-selling book co-authored with Glenn Beck. (Visit the Conference Bookstore to purchase copies of his books.) Grossman’s research has been cited by the President of the United States in a national address, and he has testified before the U.S. Senate, the Congress, and numerous state legislatures.  He has also served as an expert witness and a consultant in state and federal courts.

In addition to the half-day seminar, IASB will offer eight related panel sessions on safety-related issues, including targeted violence prevention, behavioral threat assessments, crisis management, and using social media to thwart violent attacks. These 60-minute panels are open to anyone attending conference.