Tuesday, August 20, 2019

IASB announces dates for Fall Division Meetings

Mark your calendars now for IASB’s Division Meetings for Fall 2019, which will convene at 21 sites throughout the state in October.

Each of IASB’s divisions hosts a meeting in the spring and fall. Most school board members attend the meeting within their home division, but all are encouraged to attend a meeting outside their division if a different date, site, or topic is better suited to their calendar, location, or interests.

Division Meetings offer networking opportunities and updates from Association staff, division directors, and division chairpersons. Meetings also offer keynote or breakout sessions on a variety of important education topics for school leaders. Dates are listed below; a full list of presentation topics will be announced at a later date.

Online registration is required and can be completed through IASB’s “My Account” button at iasb.com. Attendance at Division Meetings earns participants five points in IASB’s Master Board Member Program.







October 1


Dupo CUSD 196

October 1

Starved Rock

Waltham CCSD 185, Utica (No Dinner/No Cost)

October 1

Three Rivers

Prairie Bluff Golf Club, Lockport

October 1

Wabash Valley

Jasper Co. CUSD 1, Newton

October 2

Central Illinois Valley

Caterpillar Visitors Center, Peoria

October 3

Abe Lincoln

New Berlin CUSD 16

October 3


Mattoon CUSD 2

October 8


Harrisburg CUSD 3

October 10

Corn Belt

Indian Creek Country Club, Fairbury

October 10


DuQuoin CUSD 300

October 16

North Cook

Café la Cave, Des Plaines

October 22


Bunker Hill CUSD 8

October 22

West Cook

Elmcrest Banquets, Elmwood Park

October 22


Knoxville CUSD 202

October 24


United THSD 30, East Moline

October 24


Sycamore CUSD 427

October 24

Two Rivers

Beardstown CUSD 15

October 29


DoubleTree by Hilton, Libertyville-Mundelein

October 29

South Cook

DoubleTree, Chicago-Alsip

October 30


The Carlisle, Lombard

October 30


Winnebago CUSD 323



Monday, August 19, 2019

Ensure transparency in Conference attendance by using sample policies

IASB encourages school boards planning to attend the Joint Annual Conference to be pro-active in documenting their professional development experiences and expenses at Conference.

One way to do that is to adopt a policy that addresses mandatory professional development for board members and permits and encourages other ongoing leadership training opportunities for those who have volunteered to serve their community as unpaid school board members.

IASB’s Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS) has a sample policy, 2:120, Board Member Development, on this topic. It provides sample text for school boards regarding issues related to setting parameters for board member training. Boards can use the guidance to set parameters on governance concerns (ensuring that board members learn, understand, and practice effective governance principles and other best practices). Boards can use that sample text, as well, to set parameters on three types of mandatory training (105 ILCS 5/10-16a (professional development leadership training); 105 ILCS 5/24-16.5 (Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) training); and 5 ILCS 120/1.05(b) (Open Meetings Act training)).

The major purpose and function of the sample PRESS policy on board member professional development is to provide information and guidance to staff members, students, parents, and community. It paraphrases the mandatory board member training statutes and provides information to the community (see Policy background information below).

The Joint Annual Conference provides both mandatory and governance-related training to school board members and administrators through a full-day Pre-Conference PDLT Workshop and many other presentations, workshops, 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.

Also calling for transparency at Conference are expenses, and PRESS offers two sample policies on the topic: 2:125, Board Member Compensation; Expenses (for board member expenses), and 5:60, Expenses (employee expenses). State law controls both of these policies’ content (105 ILCS 5/10-9, 5/10-10, and 5/22-1 (no compensation allowed, conflicts of interest prohibited); 105 ILCS 5/10-22.32 (expense advancements); and the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act (ECA) 50 ILCS 150/10 (regulation of travel expenses)). School attorneys say complying with the law is the purpose and function of these sample PRESS policies on expenses (see Policy background information below).

Boards may wish to review and communicate about their existing policies or consider adopting a policy before attending the 2019 Joint Annual Conference, which is scheduled for November 22-24 in Chicago.

Policy background information
Consistent with the legislative intent expressed in the School Code, school boards govern through written policies that are implemented by the administration. The job of drafting board policies is frequently given to lawyers to ensure legal compliance. The law is never stagnant, which explains why board policies frequently need review and updating. At IASB, lawyers draft and revise sample PRESS policies and use a diverse PRESS advisory board (PAB) to provide feedback. IASB policy consultants provide a wide range of policy services from customization to a maintenance service.
The key to understanding a policy is to understand its purpose(s) or function(s). Without understanding the policy’s purpose or function, the policy will not make sense and will be difficult to implement. Each policy has one or more of the following basic functions or purposes:
  1. Ensure legal compliance,
  2. Direct or authorize the superintendent or staff members,
  3. Establish board processes, and/or
  4. Provide information.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-23

Governor JB Pritzker has been signing into law dozens of measures every week as he works through the 600 bills that were approved by the General Assembly and sent to his desk. Just last Friday, the Governor acted upon 150 pieces of legislation.

Many of the recent bill signings were bills opposed by the Alliance that will cause challenges for local school districts. The Alliance offered amendatory language in most cases to try to make the bills less onerous for school districts. Letters were also written to the Governor asking for vetoes or amendatory vetoes, but instead the bills have been enacted into law.

HB 2719 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) will require each high school student to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a prerequisite to receive a graduation diploma. There is a provision for a waiver form to be completed by the student declaring that he/she is aware of the FAFSA application but chooses not to file one. The school district would be responsible for providing, verifying, and collecting the waiver forms. The high school principal shall "attest that the school district has made a good faith effort to assist the student." Also, the school district "must provide to each high school student any support or assistance necessary to comply with this Section." The bill is now Public Act 101-0180, effective June 1, 2020.

Several new curricular mandates have been approved as well. 

HB 246 (Moeller, D-Elgin) requires schools to teach about the diversity of our society, including the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in society. The bill is now Public Act 101-0227, effective July 1, 2020.

HB 2265 (Lilly, D-Oak Park) requires every public elementary school to include in its sixth, seventh, or eighth-grade curriculum at least one semester of civics education. The bill is now Public Act 101-0254, effective July 1, 2020.

SB 459 (Ellman, D-Naperville) amends the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act to require the instruction on mental health and illness to evaluate the multiple dimensions of health by reviewing the relationship between physical and mental health so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes, and behaviors that promote health, well-being, and human dignity. The bill is now Public Act 101-0305, effective January 1, 2020.

SB 1601 (Sims, D-Chicago), with regard to the instruction on history of the United States, requires that the course must also include instruction on the history of Illinois. The bill is now Public Act 101-0341, effective January 1, 2020.


NSBA Summer Leadership Seminar in Chicago

The 2019 NSBA Summer Leadership Seminar for IASB officers and executives and other state’s school board association leaders are being held August 16-18 in Chicago.

The conference focuses on leadership sessions for state association officers, as well as updates on federal issues. Other highlights include: opportunities for regional and peer-to-peer networking, a look at key trends, as well as an exploration of collaboration, shared vision, innovation, and leadership development.

Attending from IASB will be: Executive Director Tom Bertrand, as well as Association officers, including: President Joanne Osmond, Vice President Thomas Neeley, Immediate Past President Phil Pritzker, and Treasurer Linda Eades.

“The great thing about this seminar is that it provides sessions and exercises to help participants better understand their role as motivators, leaders, and change agents,” said IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand.

The seminar has been held in Chicago for many years. The agenda for this year’s event includes exercises for sharing state association perspectives.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Board member resources featured in next noon webinar, August 22

The next installments in IASB’s noon webinar series will resume the “Lunch and Learn” format and take place on August 22. The series resumed with Holding the Gavel: Tips for Board Presidents featured tips and best practices for board presidents, or aspiring ones in a one-hour webinar on August 13.

Next up, on August 22, the webinar entitled “Lucky 7s: Questions, Answers, and Resources for New and Experienced Board Members” will feature seven Qs and As from IASB’s legal and field services teams, as well as the top seven resources that all board members should have at their fingertips. The Thursday, August 22 webinar will take place from noon to 1 p.m.

IASB’s lunch-time webinars are free to members. Registration for the webinars is available through IASB's Online Learning Center. Visit iasb.com, and select the yellow "My Account" button to log in. From there, choose the Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

If you can’t participate in the live webinar, plan to “attend” the archive version, which will be available 24-48 hours after the live event. All past webinars, on topics ranging from school funding and educational equity to pensions and policy updates, are available through IASB’s Online Learning Center archive free of charge.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Time to submit nominations
for 2019 Holly Jack Award

2018 winner
Linda Wehrheim,
Winnetka SD 36
School districts throughout Illinois are encouraged to nominate those who perform the duties of the board secretary for IASB’s Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award. Application forms are available on the IASB website.

Nominees must be local district employees (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 include a passion for work in the field of public education, dedication toward improving the quality of life for others and education in the community, independent problem-solving abilities, constant desire for self-improvement, and innovation and imagination within the work environment.

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 September 30, 2019.

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 Administrative Professionals' Program 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.

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

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Celebrating the News Blog's 1,000th post

The Illinois School Board News Blog has reached the 1,000-post milestone.

From 1943 to 2015, IASB published a monthly Newsbulletin, sharing information that members want to know and addressing the information-gathering needs and interests of board members and other school leaders. Originally a printed and mailed publication, it was later a digital publication.

In 2015, the publication was reformatted as this News Blog for more timely coverage of education issues. The Blog includes information on IASB events, services, and publications; advocacy alerts and updates on state and federal legislative issues; election information; current topics in K-12 education, board and board member development opportunities, the work of the IASB Board of Directors, and daily news headlines.

The Newsbulletin and Blog have been edited by Gary Adkins since 1987. Thanks to our readers, the 999 previous posts have garnered over 300,000 pageviews.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

IASB Resolutions Committee meeting

On Friday, August 2 the IASB resolutions committee will meet in Bloomington-Normal to hear testimony from districts that submitted resolutions. Committee members will debate the proposals and then make a recommendation to adopt or not adopt each measure. The Resolutions Committee is comprised of one elected member from each of the Association’s 21 divisions.

This year, 18 resolutions were submitted by local boards of education seeking to address such concerns as student and school safety, charter schools, special education funding, prevailing wage, and other important issues. The deadline for districts to submit resolutions was June 26.

Once the committee has completed its recommendations on each proposal, a “Resolutions Committee Report” will be distributed to each member district and posted on the IASB website. This report is intended to provide a summary of each measure to assist districts when deciding how to vote on the respective resolutions presented at the Delegate Assembly.

The IASB Delegate Assembly will gather at the Joint Annual Conference on Saturday, November 23 to debate and vote on proposed member resolutions. If approved by the delegates in attendance, the resolutions will be adopted as part of IASB’s official Position Statements.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Pre-Conference Workshops offer additional training for school board members

IASB will offer eight training sessions designed to equip school board members with knowledge and skills to provide effective board leadership. The full-day and half-day Pre-Conference Workshops will be held in conjunction with the 2019 Joint Annual Conference, on Friday, November 22.

Full-day courses include Professional Development Leadership Training (PDLT) and Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) Training, Basics of Governance, and Leading Leaders: The Job of Board President. Workshops begin at 9 a.m.

Half-day courses include Attention Pays, Balancing Effective Governance and Transparency: Advanced Issues, Equity: An Educational Imperative, School Finance for Board Members, and The Happiness Advantage. Half-day sessions begin at 9 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m.

The training is part of IASB’s LeaderShop Academy program. Tuition with advanced registration is $280 for full-day or $140 for half-day workshops. Attendees must be registered for the full Conference to attend the additional training sessions. Onsite registration will be accepted Friday morning, November 22 if space is available. Fees include workshop materials and breakfast and/or lunch depending on the start time and length of workshop.

Course descriptions, presenters, and registration details are available on the IASB website.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report (101-22)

The summer months are typically slow for legislative activity. The legislature adjourned at the beginning of June and does not return until October 28. Governor JB Pritzker quickly signed into law the bills that established the Fiscal Year 2020 State budget, and now is acting upon other pieces of legislation. The last three Fridays, the Governor has signed into law dozens of bills.

All bills that have been approved by the legislature have been sent to the Governor. The Governor has 60 days to act on those measures. Expect gubernatorial action to sign or veto legislation until August 27 when the 60 day clock runs out for the latest bills sent. School board members and administrators are encouraged to review the Digest of Bills Passed and contact the Governor about pending legislation affecting your schools, students, staff, and community.

It is expected that this week the Governor will sign into law SB 1932 which will create the Property Tax Relief Task Force.

Click here for the education-related bills signed recently by the Governor.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Governance Recognition program deadline approaching

IASB's School Board Governance Recognition program acknowledges school boards that learn and practice effective governance behaviors as identified by IASB's Foundation Principles of Effective Governance.

School Board Governance Recognition honors development and participation by the full board, rather than the efforts of individual board members. Boards that meet the requirements and criteria listed in
the application will be recognized for the two-year distinction. Further information and details about the program can be found in this IASB tutorial video.

Applications must be submitted by August 1, 2019

The Board Governance Recognition Award Committee will review applications shortly after submission and notify winning recipients. Boards that meet the requirements will be honored at IASB’s Fall Division Meetings.

Governance Recognition covers a two-year period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019. Boards that have received Governance Recognition honors should apply for renewal every two years. Past winners of the award are listed on the IASB website.

To get answers to additional questions contact Peggy Goone at pgoone@iasb.com or 217/528-9688, ext. 1103.