Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 resolutions focus on student and school safety

The IASB Resolutions Committee met August 3 to debate new proposals and amendments to current position statements brought forth by Association member districts. The Committee recommended adoption of two new resolutions, reaffirmation of a current position statement, the approval of a new belief statement, and passage of two amended belief statements.

Tom Neeley
IASB Vice President Thomas Neeley chaired the committee responsible for recommending either the approval or disapproval of the proposals submitted and determining which resolutions are presented to the full Delegate Assembly to act upon in November. The Committee’s decisions may be appealed by member districts in writing at least eight days prior to the Delegate Assembly meeting.

“The Resolutions Committee had a really excellent discussion and spent a lot of time talking about student safety,” said Committee Chair Tom Neeley.

A Resolutions Committee Report summarizing all the proposed resolutions and the Committee’s recommendations on each measure will be mailed to districts in September. The report is also posted on the IASB website.

The proposals that received a “do adopt” recommendation include:

New Resolutions
•    Student Safety and Protection, Mercer County CUSD 404
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Illinois Association of School Boards shall support and advocate for legislation which provides local school boards the option of developing Student Safety and Protection Plans which may include administrators, faculty, and/or other staff who have completed a state approved training course above and beyond concealed carry training, who have passed the multiple background checks and qualifications required for a concealed carry license, or have a current concealed carry license issued under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. Only staff who fulfill all requirements listed would be eligible as an active and armed part of the Student Safety and Protection Plan, upon being granted board approval.
•    Energy Savings Funding & Borrowing, Community High School District 94
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Illinois Association of School Boards shall recommend to the legislature that a bill be passed that allows districts to borrow or otherwise obtain money without referendum for the sole and specific purpose of purchasing and installing energy saving equipment relating to the utility usage (water, gas and electricity).

Amended Belief Statements

•    Belief Statement 5 — Mental Health Services, Lake Villa CCSD 41
The Illinois Association of School Boards believes that schools should provide a safe and secure environment for all students. School board members and staff should try to protect students from the effects of bullying, discrimination, and violence, and offer appropriate instruction to improve intergroup relations and to promote peaceful resolution to conflict. Further, the Association urges the State of Illinois and the U.S. States Congress to invest in and support comprehensive, coordinated, and collaborative mental health resources to address these social-emotional issues leading to safe schools and the achievement of academic success.
•    Belief Statement 2 — Student Voter Registration, Indian Prairie CUSD 204
The Illinois Association of School Boards believes school administrations and faculties should be composed of persons supporting the principles of constitutional government because schools should continue with vigor their programs for giving young citizens a clear understanding of the principles of the American way of life and a desire to make these principles prevail in their own lives and in the life of their country. Further, the Association believes in the value of student non-partisan civic responsibility, including the importance of student voter registration.

Reaffirmation of Existing Position Statement

•    Position Statement 2.27: Charter School Funding, Woodland CCSD 50
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Illinois Association of School Boards shall urge adoption of legislation which would create a new methodology for the funding of State Authorized Charter Schools which would not have a negative financial impact on the host district. With respect to State authorized virtual charter schools, further limit the withholding of State funds from host school districts in proportion to the per pupil expenditure used for building maintenance, classroom supplies, transportation, safety and security, and other costs unique to “brick and mortar” schools. For all State authorized charter schools, require that proof of continuing enrollment and attendance be submitted quarterly, with prorated refunds to the host school district upon withdrawal of students from the charter school.

New Belief Statement
•    Local Authority in Safety Practice, Indian Prairie CUSD 204
The Illinois Association of School Boards believes that schools should provide a safe and secure environment for all students and staff. Decisions of school safety drills, plans, and procedures should be made at the local level, utilizing evidence-based practices that maximize resources and effectiveness, and by soliciting input from local emergency responders resulting in fewer physical, emotional, and psychological risks to students and staff.

Committee members recommended a motion of “do not adopt” for two resolutions. Those proposals were very similar to the “Student Safety and Protection” resolution listed above. The sponsoring districts of both measures agreed to combine the resolutions into a single proposal (Student Safety and Protection resolution).

“Some districts, many of which have 20- to 30-minute response times for law enforcement, are in favor of arming school personnel after the staff members have received the requisite training. Others want to invest in mental health services and facility improvements, and try to prevent the events before they happen,” said Neeley.

Neeley went on to say, “It’s really about local control and what local school boards feel is the best way to protect students and staff. It was a great discussion on both sides of the issue and it was agreed that we need to pursue various options.”

A full list of all submitted resolutions will be available in the Resolutions Committee Report. The report also contains an explanation of the rationale for each proposal and the Committee recommendation of “do adopt” or “do not adopt.”

The IASB Delegate Assembly will gather on Saturday, November 17, at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago 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.