Tuesday, May 21, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-06

The Illinois General Assembly continues to work toward its May 31 scheduled adjournment, though many of the key issues remain unsettled. Hundreds of bills are making their way through the legislative process, but a Fiscal Year 2020 State budget, accompanying revenue sources, a capital projects proposal, and expanded gaming are still in the discussion phase.

School board members are encouraged to stay engaged with their legislators and weigh in on legislation that impacts their school districts.

The appropriations committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives have been convening to draft a budget that largely mirrors Governor JB Pritzker's spending plan. No legislation has emerged yet, and likely will not until the last few days of the session. Reports are that there is not much disagreement on the spending side of the equation, but finding the necessary revenues to support the spending is more difficult.

SJRCA 1 proposes to amend the State Constitution to allow for graduated income tax rates. The measure has already been approved by the Senate with the requisite 3/5 majority vote. A House committee Monday night approved the resolution and a floor vote is pending in that chamber. The proposal will need a 3/5 vote of the House of Representatives in order for it to be placed on the General Election ballot next year. Accompanying bills to set the new graduated tax rates (SB 687), repeal the estate tax (SB 689), and to expand the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to school districts in all counties (SB 690) are awaiting action in the House Revenue Committee.

SB 7 contains the recreational marijuana legislation. The issue of legalizing such use is still meeting resistance on several fronts, but sponsors continue to hold discussions in hopes of finding a compromise. The bill is pending on the Senate floor. It is estimated that legalization would bring in $170 million for the State.

HB 1260 is the vehicle to carry legislation to legalize sports betting in the State. Always a complicated issue with competing interests from existing casinos, possible new casino owners, horserace tracks, and video gaming parlors, discussions continue in search of a compromise. It is estimated that such legislation would bring in revenues of $200 million.

Though no bills have surfaced yet, it is expected that legislation will emerge to increase the taxes on cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and plastic bags.

Initiatives have surfaced in both the House and Senate regarding a comprehensive capital construction bill for the State. The current discussions center on "horizontal projects" (roads and bridges) versus "vertical projects" (buildings and schools). Both the Senate and the House (HB 391) have plans to raise nearly $2.5 billion to pay bonds for the building of roads and bridges. They propose to increase the State taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel, and electric vehicles, as well as increase fees for car and truck registrations and titles, and drivers' license fees. Meanwhile, the Governor announced his plan that calls for spending $41.5 billion on roads, schools, and hospitals over six years. He proposes to double the state gasoline tax and increase other taxes and fees.

Last week a Senate committee approved HB 3053, which contains procedures to arbitrarily reduce the number of school districts by 25%. Though the bill received sufficient committee support to be sent to the Senate floor, many Senators raised concerns about provisions of the bill. Discussions have continued among the sponsor, the IASB, and other opponents, but the possibility that this bill is called for a final Senate vote is real. More information can be found here.

The IASB continues to oppose HB 3606 which addresses the data privacy issue in schools. Throughout hours of negotiations on the bill over the past few weeks, some improvements have been made to the bill. However, there are still enough burdensome requirements and responsibilities for school districts that the IASB remains opposed.

At the end of the day last Friday, an amendment was filed to HB 2719 that would require "each high school student" to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a prerequisite to receive a graduation diploma. The IASB opposes the bill, which was placed on a fast track and was approved by the Senate Education Committee Tuesday.

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." It is not clear what this provision means or which party (the student or the school district) deems it "necessary."

IASB has pledged to work with the proponents on some compromise language based on these points:
  • Not every student will need to complete a FAFSA (students who do not need student loans, do not plan to attend college, plan to join the workforce or the military, etc.
  • Students meeting all of the academic graduation requirements should be allowed to receive their diploma without this unnecessary condition
  • Since there is a provision to non-comply, it would be more workable as an "opt in" provision, instead of creating burdensome paper work for the school district with an "opt out" provision
  • The provision "any support or assistance necessary" is much too broad
  • The additional workload on the principal could be tremendous – creating procedures and carrying out tasks to assure that every student has either filed a FAFSA form or has applied for and received an eligible waiver
  • The additional workload to assist students with completion of the FAFSA form could be overly burdensome, both for small districts with fewer staff and for larger districts with hundreds of graduates each year
  • There are concerns about how school districts will handle sensitive data that is required on the FAFSA (it requires household incomes, savings and checking account balances, investments, and information directly from the taxpayers' IRS 1040 tax form
SB 10 and HB 2078 would increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year. Both bills are postured for final votes on the floors of the House and Senate. Check here for more information. IASB opposes both bills.

SB 28 would revert back to a prescriptive five-clock hour minimum school day and would cause school districts to forfeit the current flexibility and opportunity for innovation. Though an amendment was adopted in the Senate that made slight improvements, the overall loss of flexibility for school districts requires IASB to remain opposed to the bill.

The House unanimously approved the bill today and it will be sent to the Governor for consideration.

Monday, May 20, 2019

‘Coming to Order’ offers insights
into better school board meetings

Experienced board members and newcomers alike who want to make the most of their meetings are encouraged to read Coming to Order — A Guide to Successful School Board Meetings.

The second and most recent edition of Coming to Order explains how to plan and conduct meetings that fit the needs of the individual school board; it takes the board meeting beyond compliance with legal requirements to meetings that serve the interests of both school and community. This edition was updated to conform to changes in both law and practice and, in particular, to accommodate new thinking about the most effective practices of the school board.

Some of the special topics addressed in Coming to Order are: avoiding common time wasters, parliamentary procedure, ways of making decisions, myths and truths, electronic communications, orienting new members, filling vacancies, and how to deal with pressure groups.

There is no named author; rather, this book reflects the contributions of many current and former IASB staff members. They are acknowledged by name in the book.

Coming to Order may be ordered from the IASB Online Bookstore or by calling 217/528-9688, ext. 1108. Discounts are available to IASB member districts.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-17

On Wednesday, the Senate Government Accountability and Pensions Committee unanimously approved HB 3053 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) which contains procedures to arbitrarily reduce the number of school districts by 25 percent. The bill is now pending on the Senate floor.

Alliance members made an impressive showing in their opposition to the bill. 625 witness slips were filed in opposition to the bill – most of which were filed by school board members and administrators. Continued advocacy is essential, however. Even if you have already filed a witness slip or called your legislators, another call to your state senator is needed. Talking points regarding the legislation can be found here.

Meanwhile, lawmakers continue to work behind closed doors on other major issues still pending. The Fiscal Year 2020 state budget, legalization of recreational cannabis, legalization of sports gaming, and a statewide capital projects bill are still being discussed.

Click here to read about other legislative action that took place in Senate and House committees this week.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Division Governing Meetings
run from now to June

During the next six weeks most IASB divisions will host a summer governing meeting for board members to elect new division officers and discuss programming needs for future division meetings.

 As mentioned, division officers, who serve two-year terms, may also be chosen. Officers elected include: Chair, Director, Vice Chair, and Resolutions Chair, and others as provided by the division in its division by-laws. The selection process gives each active member school board of IASB one vote, cast by a school board member, on a slate provided by a nominating committee and/or on nominations from the floor

The meetings are also a place to get updates on other Association events and activities.

Each such gathering features a discussion of possible topics, dates, and locations of future division meetings. IASB field services directors facilitate conversation at these meetings to identify and prioritize the topics of most interest. All board members and superintendents from a division hosting such meetings are welcome to take part.

Not all divisions will hold governing meetings. In some divisions, the membership will delegate to an executive committee the responsibility to work with the field services director to identify topics of greatest interest to participating districts.

More information on these upcoming meetings is available on the IASB events calendar. Registration is available online.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-16

With the end of session on the horizon, many important pieces of legislation are being discussed in Springfield. One of the bills that could impact schools and their communities the most, HB 3053 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) is scheduled to be heard Wednesday, May 15. HB 3053 addresses forced school district consolidation. Specifically, the bill requires identification, before May 1, 2020, of no less than 25 percent of school districts in Illinois that will be required to hold a referendum to consolidate in the next general election.

An appointed board will place referendum questions on the ballot to decide school boundaries and local tax levies.

To voice your opposition to this measure, please click here and follow the instructions to file a witness slip in opposition to HB 3053 scheduled to be discussed in the Senate State Government Accountability and Pensions Committee.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report, including contact information for members of the committee, as well as revenue proposals under discussion and other legislative action for the week. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Book offers overview of what school board members need to know

A revision to a book introducing the work of boards of education in Illinois has been published by the Illinois Association of School Boards.

The Effective School Board Member provides an overview of what school board members need to know, including duties and responsibilities, the structure of school governance, financing the schools, relations with administration and staff, board meeting procedures, a code of conduct, and other information.

The 2019 revisions reflect how state aid is distributed with the Evidence-Based funding formula. The book and revisions reflect contributions from current and former IASB staff.

The chapters include: A member of the board of education; School governance in Illinois; The local board of education; Powers, duties, and effective governance; The school board in action; Financing the Schools; and Collective bargaining and the school board.

Several appendices provide additional reading and resources.

The Effective School Board Member may be ordered from the IASB Online Bookstore. The member price is $2. It is distributed free to all newly-elected board members this year as part of the Association’s welcome packet to new board members.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Cole Award recognizes
outstanding school board coverage

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

The recipients were announced at the Illinois Press Association's annual convention on May 3 in Springfield. The five first-place winners, in divisions based on circulation, include the following newspapers and journalists.

Ann Gill of the Coal City Courant won first place in Division A for extensive and well-written coverage of the work of the Coal City CUSD 1 Board of Education, including school safety issues and the announcement of a new intervention program. Division A was a competitive field that includes for non-daily newspapers with under 3,000 circulation.

Dan Burke of the Galena Gazette won the top Cole Award prize in Division B/C for larger non-daily newspapers. The work included enterprise reporting of a settlement by the school district and coverage of the East Dubuque Unit SD 119 school improvement plan.

Kimberly Fornek of The Doings of Hinsdale took first place in Division C/D for the depth and breadth of reporting on a referendum proposal that followed the board of education’s decision to make deep cuts.

Noelle McGee of the Champaign News-Gazette received first place in Division E, including mid-sized daily newspapers, for reporting on a variety of timely issues, including a deep dive into the Champaign CUSD 4 teacher contract and the substitute teacher shortage.

Eric Peterson of The Daily Herald won the Division F first-place award for extensive and well-rounded coverage of Township HSD 211 contract negotiations as a strike date approached, notably the “Surreal: 90 hours to a deal” piece.

The 2019 Cole Award runners-up included Janice Hunt of the Oakland Independent, Hillary Dickerson of the Galena Gazette, Owen Lasswell of the Taylorville Breeze-Courier, Lyndsay Jones of the Champaign News-Gazette, and Lauren Fitzpatrick of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Named in memory of the first full-time executive director of IASB, the Robert M. Cole Award recognizes outstanding coverage of education issues and emphasizes newspapers’ contribution to public understanding of local school governance and support for effective dialogue that helps the community and school board define major public policy issues.

The Illinois Press Association is one of the largest state press organizations in the country. IPA provides professional education, government access, and newspaper advertising promotion to members. They also provide assistance for Newspapers in Education and literacy programs.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-15

 As was reported earlier this week in the IASB Legislative Alert and the IASA Capitol Watch, the Illinois State Senate approved a tax reform package Wednesday. SJRCA 1 proposes to amend the Illinois Constitution to allow for graduated income tax rates. SB 687 contains the graduated income tax rates that would be put in place if SJRCA 1 is approved by the voters. SB 689 would repeal the estate tax that is currently imposed in Illinois. SB 690 would, beginning in levy year 2022, place school districts in every county under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL).

While the tax package was attracting all of the attention in the Capitol, other legislative committees were considering bills that have moved over from the opposite chamber.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives will reconvene next Tuesday through Friday.

Click here to read the full Alliance Legislative Report 101-15, including other bill action from the week and bills scheduled for committee next week. 

IASB officer nominations sought

The nominating committee of the Illinois Association of School Boards is seeking candidates for the offices of president and vice president. Nominating forms available here are due, with supportive documents, in the IASB office in Springfield by 4 p.m., August 2, and candidates will be interviewed that same month.

The following criteria will be used by the committee in considering nominees: leadership experience and general participation in IASB activities; leadership experience on the local board; involvement with other education-related organizations; other leadership experiences; and special talents or interests of benefit to IASB as currently constituted.

Candidates for the position of President or Vice-President of the Illinois Association of School Boards should possess, at a minimum, the following qualifications:
  • Demonstrated leadership on a local board of education and at IASB division and state levels. 
  • Demonstrated participation in a wide spectrum of IASB activities at all levels. 
  • Demonstrated ability to speak for public education in Illinois and to be an advocate for IASB positions. 
  • Membership on the IASB Board of Directors for at least two years is preferred
Officers serve one-year terms and may serve no more than two consecutive such terms, or until their successors are elected and qualified.

Nominations for elective offices shall be made according to the nominating committee procedures that are posted at the IASB Members-Only website. Candidate Data sheets for the office of IASB president or vice president are required and must be received by 4 p.m., Friday, August 2. Please mail to: Chair, IASB Nominating Committee, Illinois Association of School Boards, 2921 Baker Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-5929. Please contact Chris Montrey at 217/528-9688, ext. 1143, with any questions.

A candidate slate will be presented to the Delegate Assembly in Chicago on November 23.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

IASB offers resources
to help new board members get started

IASB has prepared a number of resources and materials to assist newly elected school board members with their duties and responsibilities to become effective school leaders.

A packet of helpful information is being mailed free of charge to all new board members who are identified by their local school district. The mailings will begin in May as new board members are added to their district rosters in the Association’s membership database.

The welcome packets contains the following materials:
  • Welcome from IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand
  • A letter to the family of the new board member
  • Chart of state-mandated training requirements
  • Membership Guide booklet
  • The Basics of Governance booklet
  • The Effective School Board Member book
  • A special edition of The Illinois School Board Journal for new board members
In addition to the mailing, a number of resources to assist new school board members are available on a dedicated webpage, www.iasb.com/newmember. Helpful materials and new videos will be added to this page periodically to assist first-term board members with their duties.

Included on the webpage is a “Welcome to School Board Service” video that explains the services, training, and other resources the Association provides to help boards of education become effective school leaders supporting quality public education.

Districts that have questions about the new board member resources may call 217/528-9688, ext. 1131.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-05

The Illinois State Senate today (Wednesday, May 1) approved a package of tax reform provisions as part of Governor JB Pritzker's legislative platform. The measures will be sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

HJRCA 1 proposes to change the Illinois Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax rather than the current flat tax system. The resolution was approved by the Senate on a vote of 40-19. The proposal will need a 3/5 vote of the House of Representatives in order for it to be placed on the General Election ballot next year.

SB 687 contains the graduated income tax rates that would be put in place if HJRCA 1 is approved by the voters. The Senate passed the bill on a 36-22 vote.

Details of these two proposals can be found here.

SB 689 would repeal the estate tax that is currently imposed in Illinois. It was sent out of the Senate on a 33-24 vote.

Probably the most important component of the tax package for school districts is SB 690. The bill would, beginning in levy year 2022, place school districts in every county under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL).  PTELL sets an "extension limitation" at the lesser of 5% or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Under the proposal, school districts would have their "extension limitation" set at 0% if they are not "qualified school districts".  A "qualified school district" is one that received less than 97% reimbursement for certain mandated categorical grants or "did not receive the minimum funding required for that school district under the evidence-based funding formula" in the previous school fiscal year.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-14

The Illinois General Assembly resumes the spring legislative session today (Tuesday) after a two week break. House bills still moving through the process are now in the Senate; Senate bills will be considered by the House of Representatives.

There are a number of bills opposed by the Alliance that have been approved in the chamber of origin. As they are considered by committees in the opposite chamber, a new opportunity exists for school board members and administrators to express their opposition to legislators. It is imperative that local school district representatives weigh in on these matters, explaining the impact the legislation would have on their school districts.

In what would become one of the most costly unfunded mandates on school districts, HB 2078 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) would arbitrarily increase the minimum salary for teachers to $40,000 per year. The House approved the bill earlier this month on a vote of 79-31. Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is handling the bill in the Senate. HB 2078 is scheduled for a hearing and vote in the Senate Education Committee tomorrow (May 1) at 2 p.m.

School board members and administrators are urged to call their State Senator and ask for a "NO" vote on the bill. They should also submit a witness slip to officially register their opposition to the Committee. Complete instructions on how to submit a committee witness slip can be found here.

HB 2078 requires all school boards to increase the minimum rate of salary for teachers in the district, phased in as follows:

  • not less than $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year 
  • not less than $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year 
  • not less than $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year 
  • not less than $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year 

Each year thereafter, the minimum teacher salary, subject to review by the General Assembly, must increase from year to year by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Enactment of HB 2078 would bring public schools closer to a standard, statutory salary schedule, as well as consume a significant share of any increase in funding that comes to school districts from the new evidence-based formula. Though the legislative change would require a minimum salary (of which at least half of Illinois' 850 school districts are now below), there would undoubtedly be a ripple effect throughout the entire salary schedule if the bill were to be enacted into law. More importantly, it usurps the local authority of local school boards and teachers to negotiate salary and benefits based on the resources, wants, and needs of teachers, the community, and the district.

Click here to read the full Alliance Legislative Report 101-14, including other issues to watch.

Start strong with the May/June Journal

The May/June issue of The Illinois School Board Journal offers key information for new school board members, and also serves as a refresher for those returning to their roles of public education governance for their local school districts.

With the best resource for newcomers being experienced school board members, the Journal asked several to share their recollections of the first year of service, and give advice to newcomers. The result is the 2019 version of “What to Expect.” The Journal has additional advice on getting started from an experienced school board member and school attorney and another piece on “Starting Right” from Larry Dirks, IASB field services director. Readers can also get a “first take” on understanding school finance.

Watch for the “Start strong” Journal in your mailbox, or read the digital edition by clicking on the image below.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Registration is underway
for New Board Member Workshops

New school board members in Illinois can get off to a great start at IASB's New Board Member Workshops, which include state-mandated training and opportunities for instruction on holding effective meetings, working with the superintendent, and learning the work of the board.

Nine Workshops will be held on select Fridays and Saturdays in June and July, at locations throughout the state. For complete information on dates, times, locations, fees, and registration, visit https://iasb.com/training/nbmw.cfm.

Each Friday session of the New Board Member Workshops includes state-mandated training. Professional Development Leadership Training (PDLT) covers the latest in education and labor law, financial oversight and accountability, and fiduciary responsibilities. A session on Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) evaluations for school board members is required before they can participate in a vote on a dismissal based in the Optional Alternative Evaluation Dismissal Process. The Open Meetings Act training focuses specifically on the law as it applies to school board meetings and members and is also mandated by the state.

The Saturday session, entitled “Basics of Governance” is updated for 2019 and includes essential information and resources for effective school board governance, including the role and work of the school board; distinguishing board work from that of the superintendent and staff; and best practices in school board governance.

Experienced board members and superintendents are welcome to attend with their newly elected board members.

Advance registration is required. Check with your district office about group registration opportunities for your board team.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

IASB adds two new staff members

Valorie M. Moore
The Illinois Association of School Boards has recently added two new staff members.

Valorie M. Moore, Ph.D., has joined IASB as a consultant with the Executive Searches department.

Moore recently retired as superintendent of Brookwood SD 167 in Glenwood. Her education career spans over 30 years, starting as a fine arts teacher. She has administered in large districts and small; as well as suburban, urban, rural, and parochial school districts. She worked with staff to implement the Common Core Standards; Charlotte Danielson’s Teacher Evaluation Model, RtI, data-driven decision-making, contract negotiations, directed curriculum and literacy for 20,000 students K-12, and organized a differentiated professional development conference for over 600 teachers and support staff. She has been an adjunct professor for the superintendent leadership Ph.D. program at Concordia University in River Forest and has mentored several administrators and teachers.
Kat Barone

She received her undergraduate degree in Speech and Theater from Eastern Illinois University while an actress and television radio host. She holds a master’s degree from Northeastern University in Education Administration and her doctorate focused on transformational leadership from Roosevelt University.

She has presented at professional development events for school superintendents, including the NABSE Aspiring Superintendents’ Conference. She has presented, as well, at the Joint Annual Conference. As a member of IASB’s Executive Searches team, Moore assists school districts in recruiting and selecting a superintendent or other key administrator. IASB offers the expertise and has developed a process to help boards prepare for that decision, which includes conducting a needs assessment, collecting candidate information, keeping records, and maintaining contact with educational agencies.

As a member of IASB’s Executive Searches team, Moore assists school districts in recruiting and selecting a superintendent or other key administrator. The department, led by Thomas Leahy, offers expertise and process to help school boards determine their next superintendent or other administrator. This includes conducting a needs assessment, collecting candidate information, keeping records, and maintaining contact with educational agencies.

Kat Barone joins IASB as an administrative assistant in the Policy Services department and replaces James Wagner, who now works in IASB Legal Services. Policy Services and Legal Services are both part of IASB’s Office of General Counsel, led by Kimberly Small.

Barone is pursuing a degree in Information Technology with a concentration in web design and development from Southern New Hampshire University. Certified as a Customs Specialist by the NCBFAA, Barone previously worked as a global compliance specialist for MIQ Logistics. Barone recently moved to the Chicago area from Buffalo, New York.

IASB’s Policy Services department offers a full range of policy services and tools designed for boards of education.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Second chance:
Get current on Collective Bargaining

Those who missed IASB’s Collective Bargaining Workshops missed
  • Current information on key collective bargaining issues and techniques
  • The changes in federal and Illinois law and governance as they relate to collective bargaining
  • Expert guidance from school attorneys and administrative staff
  • Q and A with experienced negotiation team members
Now IASB’s Online Learning Center is offering members a second chance to get that important information.

IASB is presenting the Naperville workshop as an Online Learning Center course. The Naperville event was presented by Melissa D. Sobota and Shelli L. Anderson, attorneys from Franczek, P.C.

More than 200 board members and superintendents attended the live events. But the online course represents a second chance for members to see and hear what they did, and examine trends in collective bargaining. Register for this course to learn about key collective bargaining issues such as: compensation, benefits, working conditions, the Janus decision, and more.

The cost of the online course is $20. Go to iasb.com and log in through the gold MY ACCOUNT option in the left margin of the homepage to learn more.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award nominations now being accepted

Holly Jack
IASB is seeking nominations for the 2019 Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award. All eligible nominees must be school district employees (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 recognition award was created to honor long-time IASB employee Holly Jack, who worked as a field services administrative assistant and was instrumental in developing training for district secretaries and administrative professionals at the Joint Annual Conference.

Nominees for the Outstanding Service Award should demonstrate characteristics similar to those exhibited by Holly Jack in her work with districts. Qualifications include a constant desire for self-improvement, passion for public education, dedication toward improving the quality of life and quality of education for those in the community, independent problem-solving abilities, innovation within the work environment, and a drive to empower and equip colleagues with knowledge allowing them to reach their full potential.

Nomination forms must be signed by the superintendent and the board president. Up to five letters of support from individuals are allowed in addition to the nominating form. The deadline for submitting all related nomination materials is September 30. Applications and past winners of the Award can be found on the IASB website.

The winner will be selected by a panel of impartial judges and be notified immediately after the decision. The award will be presented in November during the Administrative Professionals’ Program at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

New primetime IASB webinar to focus on student mental health

IASB will be hosting a newly created webinar focused on the importance of mental health and well-being policies and practices for students. Glenn “Max” McGee, a former Illinois state superintendent, author, and nationally recognized speaker on the topics of student mental health, educational leadership, and public policy will be presenting the one-hour learning opportunity.
The April 25 webinar will be held at a new time, 7 p.m.

Titled, “From Distress to Success: Policies and Practices to Foster Student Mental Health and Well-Being,” McGee will explore existing beliefs about students’ mental health, examine “distressors” students are faced with, and propose changes in policies and practices that act to support student mental health.

The free webinar will take place April 25 at 7 p.m
. 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, April 18, 2019

State Board seeks stakeholder
comment about teacher shortage

The Illinois State Board of Education has announced its April 17 board meeting agenda will include discussion of the statewide teacher shortage. The agency is encouraging school stakeholders to attend and comment about the shortage during the meeting’s public participation segment.  Planned topics include educator testing and innovative approaches to addressing the teacher shortage.

School leaders can access the meeting information packet, including the agenda, here.

The State Board’s entire meeting will be audio cast on the internet at www.isbe.net.  Click the “LISTEN IN” link at the bottom of the ISBE home page at the start of the meeting.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Growing number of Illinois graduates perform at college level on AP exams

Beyond a positive trend in Illinois student content mastery
as shown on AP exams, 22 school districts in the state made
the Class of 2018 AP District Honor Roll, a new report shows.
Illinois ranks 10th in the nation for the percentage of 2018 graduates – 27 percent – who scored at least a 3 on the College Board Advanced Placement exams during their high school career. The national average is 23.5 percent, according to the new AP Cohort Data Report.

AP exams measure a student’s content mastery of college-level studies in specific academic disciplines. A score of 3 or higher on an AP exam demonstrates that a student is capable of doing the work of an introductory-level course in a particular subject in college.

Illinois also continues to report record numbers of graduates taking AP exams, with nearly 41 percent of graduates taking an AP exam during high school – up from 22.5 percent in 2008.

The percentage of Illinois graduates who scored a 3 or higher grew by 8 percentage points from 25 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in 2018. Illinois is fifth in the nation for the largest percentage point increase over the past decade in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school.

Additionally, the College Board named Fenton High School District 100 in Bensenville the national AP District of the Year among all small-sized school districts in the United States and Canada, based on the district’s increases in AP access and achievement. Illinois school districts have won AP District of the Year awards in six of the past nine years.

Twenty-two Illinois school districts made the Class of 2018 AP District Honor Roll. View the full list on the College Board website.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-13

The Illinois General Assembly took action on several major pieces of legislation this week. Bills regarding teacher salaries, compulsory school attendance age, superintendent sharing, charter schools, and pensions all advanced.

Both chambers finished up their work today and have now hit the half-way point of the session. When the Senate and House of Representatives resume again on April 30, the Senate will be taking up House bills and the House will be considering Senate bills.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Resolutions sought for
2019 Delegate Assembly

Resolutions will be voted on at the 2019 Delegate Assembly.
Local school boards are invited to submit resolutions for consideration by the 2019 Delegate Assembly. Resolution forms and information were mailed to IASB member district superintendents and board presidents in early April.

IASB’s Delegate Assembly is held each year at the Joint Annual Conference to determine the Association’s advocacy efforts on behalf of its members. Each school board that is a member of the Association is entitled to one voting delegate.

Proposals can be submitted by IASB member districts as new resolutions, amendments to current position statements, reaffirmations of existing position statements, or as belief statements. The deadline to submit resolutions is June 26.

The IASB Resolutions Committee, consisting of one elected member from each of the 21 Association divisions, will meet in August 2019. After resolutions are submitted, IASB staff will review the proposals and consult with a representative of the district that crafted the measure to prepare background material for review by the Resolutions Committee. Districts proposing resolutions must have at least one board member present at the committee meeting to speak to the proposal.

The committee meets to review  proposals and recommend ”to adopt” or “not adopt” each measure, and make selections for referral to the full membership at the Delegate Assembly. This year’s committee will be chaired by IASB Vice President Thomas Neeley.

Resolution forms and additional information about the process is available by contacting Mary Ellen Buch at 217/528-9688, ext. 1132. A fillable 2019 resolution form and information can also be downloaded from the IASB website.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-04

IASB Legislative Alert 04

As highlighted in the last IASB Legislative Alert, the Illinois General Assembly is convening this week to consider bills for final action in the chamber of origin. Several key pieces of legislation were discussed Tuesday.

The issue of student data privacy has been discussed in the Capitol for last several years. Though IASB is sensitive to this issue, the proposals that have come forward have been unworkable for local school districts. HB 3606 is no exception.

The bill contains a myriad of unfunded and/or unworkable mandates on school districts that would place enormous and expensive burdens on districts, including requiring each district to try and re-negotiate potentially hundreds of agreements, adding new posting requirements on websites, and allowing parents to opt out of classes they do not wish their children to participate in.

HB 3606 could be considered in committee today (Wednesday) or Thursday. 

Various amendments have been filed and the sponsor has indicated that House Amendment #3 is the version that will be called in committee. IASB opposes all versions that have been filed (House Amendments 1, 2, and 3).

School board members are urged to call their State Representatives to urge a "NO" vote and to file a witness slip to register opposition to the bill. HB 3606 is posted for hearing in the House Cybersecurity, Data, Analytics, and IT Committee.

Click for a comprehensive analysis of HB 3606.

SB 10, which would increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year, was amended in the Senate Education Committee and could be called for a vote on the Senate floor at any time. The amendment made no real substantive change to the underlying bill. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved its minimum teacher salary bill Tuesday, HB 2078, on a vote of 79-31. That bill will now be sent to the Senate. IASB still strongly opposes both bills.

SB 1189 would add stringent, new requirements for school district Physical Education (P.E.) programs. The bill was called in the Senate Education Committee Tuesday to consider an amendment which would, generally, remove high schools from the new requirements. The underlying bill, however, is still full of onerous, unworkable requirements for school districts and IASB still opposes the bill.

Largely due to the vocal opposition by school board members and administrators, the sponsor did not attempt to move the bill forward and indicated that it would not be considered before the Senate deadline to move bills over to the House. Discussions will continue throughout the session.
A companion bill, HB 2234, is still pending on the House floor.


SB 1838 and HB 3053 address forced school district consolidation. Specifically, the bills would identify, before May 1, 2020, no less than 25 percent of school districts in Illinois that will be required to hold a referendum to consolidate in the next general election. Several amendments were filed to SB 1838 which were considered Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee. The committee failed to adopt the amendments and the underlying bill is still pending on the Senate floor. HB 3053 was approved by the House last month and has been sent to the Senate.

IASB strongly opposes both bills.

District financial profiles
continue improvement trend

A growing number of school districts were financially solvent in fiscal year 2018 thanks to increased EAVs, growth in state revenue, stable district expenditures, and less borrowing than in previous years. Those are the key findings from the Illinois State Board of Education’s annual financial profile report.

The ISBE analysis also shows a jump in the number of school districts earning the best state designation, “financial recognition,” with fewer districts falling into the poorest designation, “financial watch list” status.

As mentioned, higher EAVs, meaning rising property values, helped boost levy and debt capacity, even as state revenue increased $1.2 billion (19.3 percent) from the previous fiscal year.

ISBE places school districts into four categories of financial health based on a scoring system that evaluates several key metrics: the district fund balance-to-revenue ratio, expenditure-to-revenue ratio, days’ cash on hand, and the percentage of remaining short-term and long-term borrowing capacity.

In all, 695 districts earned “financial recognition,” the highest total in the 16-year history of the financial profiles, up from 640 in fiscal 2017. Meanwhile 111 districts were in the “financial review” category, a decrease from 147 the previous year. Thirty-three districts were designated in the “financial early warning” category, down from 43, while 12 districts landed in the “financial watch” category that can sometimes lead to state intervention, down from 22 districts.

The number of districts that relied on deficit spending to get through the school year dropped to 116 from 344 in last year’s profile. But that number is projected to rise in the current fiscal year – and be reflected in next year’s report – to 310, based on estimates submitted by districts.

That projection could change however, if additional tier funding to districts is provided under Evidence Based Funding (EBF). That is, if lawmaker fund EBF as planned, and if continued increases in property tax revenue from rising EAVs continues to improve the financial outlook for some school districts.

For more information, see the 2018 School District Financial Profiles.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Board members eligible for Excel awards; applications available online

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has a program to recognize outstanding school board members, administrators, staff members, and teachers, and application forms are now available online. Those Who Excel is a statewide program that annually recognizes contributions to all Illinois schools.

Nominations may be sent electronically to jseiler@isbe.net or printed and mailed with required materials to: Communications, ISBE, 100 North First Street, Springfield, IL 62777-0001. All nominations must be received electronically (by close of business) or postmarked by Monday, June 3, 2019. 

This year’s Those Who Excel banquet will be held Saturday, October 19, at the Marriott Bloomington-Normal Conference Center. 

Call ISBE’s communications office for more information at 217/782-4648.