Friday, October 4, 2019

We’re moving

As of October 3, this IASB News Blog will relocate to the transformed and improved IASB website. Readers will have access to the same information, only at a different location. Click here to visit the new Association news site.

Still just a click away, news from IASB will be posted as it has been on this Blog and its predecessor, the IASB Newsbulletin. This will include
  • News of Association activity, including information about IASB programs, services, and governance matters
  • Supplementary news, information, and context that is relevant to you as a local school leader
  • Alerts about concerns facing Illinois public schools
  • The daily Leading News updates of education headlines from around the state and nation.
Please update your bookmarks. If you’ve signed up to receive emails from “Illinois School Board News Blog,” these will cease. We encourage you to sign-up for IASB’s Online Update emails, which are sent when information and updates are added to the IASB website.

Remaining at, IASB’s new website features an all-new visual design, intuitive navigation, dynamic content, and streamlined integration with the Association management database and online learning platforms. The responsive design adapts to fit mobile and tablet devices.

Thank you for reading the IASB News Blog. For now, it will remain online for archival purposes. All new content will be at

Thursday, October 3, 2019

New website improves access, convenience
for members and public

Website upgrades to improve user experience and school board member access to information and benefits debuted today at

Changes to the site include an all-new visual design, intuitive navigation, dynamic content, and streamlined integrations with the member database and online learning platform. The responsive design adapts to fit mobile and tablet devices.

Menu selections contain information and resources on school board training, elections, education laws, and school finance. Directories provide access to member districts, school attorneys, and Service Associates. Information also informs the public about the work of school boards, public education issues and trends, and legislation impacting schools.

Members can log in to register for an event or online course, or access additional resources available as a benefit of membership, indicated with a padlock symbol. Policy Services subscribers will continue to access their services online on the new site.

“As an organization we continue to evolve to meet the needs of our members in an efficient, timely manner,” said Kara Kienzler, Associate Executive Director of Communications. “The new website will deliver meaningful information, training, support, and resources necessary to meet the changing needs of school board members and member districts.”

IASB will utilize web analytics to monitor traffic and behavior to make ongoing improvements. A feedback form is available on the site to submit comments by email.

Visitors to the site may experience some minor delays during the transition. Association members are encouraged to contact the IASB office at (217) 528-9688 for assistance or with any questions.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Illinois schools earn Blue Ribbons
for academic excellence

Illinois schools earn Blue Ribbons for academic excellence

Sixteen Illinois public schools have received the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Schools Award for 2019. The Illinois State Board of Education announced the U.S. Department of Education’s selections in late September. The award recognizes schools for academic excellence.

Two schools were noted in particular for their work in closing student achievement gaps: Banner Elementary School in Dunlap and Kingsley Elementary School in Naperville. The remaining 14 schools were honored as “Exemplary High Performing Schools.”

Illinois public schools honorees include the following:

  • Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Adlai E. Stevenson HSD 125 (Lincolnshire)  
  • Banner Elementary School, Dunlap CUSD 323
  • Bannockburn School, Bannockburn SD 106
  • Columbus Elementary School, Edwardsville CUSD 7
  • Eastview Elementary School, Community Unit School District 300 (Algonquin)
  • Glen Oaks Elementary School, North Palos SD 117 (Hickory Hills)
  • Hawthorn Elementary School South, Hawthorn CCSD 73 (Vernon Hills)
  • Ivy Hall Elementary School, Kildeer-Countryside CCSD 96 (Buffalo Grove)
  • Ivy Hill Elementary School, Arlington Heights SD 25
  • Kingsley Elementary School, Naperville CUSD 203
  • Madison Elementary School, Hinsdale CCSD 181
  • Maine South High School, Maine THSD 207 (Park Ridge)
  • Prescott Elementary School, Chicago SD 299
  • Roslyn Road Elementary School, Barrington CUSD 220
  • Tri-Valley Middle School, Tri-Valley CUSD 3 (Downs)
  • William Fremd High School, Township High School District 211 (Palatine)

Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has presented the Blue Ribbon Awards to bring public attention to exemplary schools in the United States.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Division Meetings start October 1

IASB’s Division Meetings for Fall 2019, all taking place in October and starting the first of the month, will offer a variety of topics of interest to local boards of education, from ESSA to PWR and from SEL to EBF.

Division Meetings also offer networking opportunities and updates from Association staff and division representatives. Online registration is required and can be completed at

The list of divisions, dates, locations, and topics, as well as registration information, is available through IASB’s Events Calendar. Attendance at Division Meetings earns participants five points in IASB’s Master Board Member Program.

Sponsors for the Fall Division Meetings are listed below.

Legacy Sponsors
Guin Mundorf, LLC
Kings Financial Consulting Inc.

Division Meeting Sponsors
Forecast5 Analytics, Inc.
Larson & Darby Group
Legat Architects
PMA Financial Network
Robbins Schwartz

Monday, September 30, 2019

Deadlines for placing referenda
on March 2020 ballot near

Three months remain for school districts to propose funding questions to voters in the next regularly scheduled election in March.
December 30 is the last day for a school board to adopt resolutions to place advisory referenda on the ballot at the March 17, 2020 General Primary Election (105 ILCS 5/9-1.5 and 10 ILCS 5/28-2). The local school board election authority is responsible for receiving citizen-led questions and certifying petitions and board resolutions for referenda.
School districts have until January 9 for the board secretary to certify public policy questions to the election authority (10 ILCS 5/28-5).
IASB tracks election results of school finance referenda for bond issues, school tax rate propositions, and county school facilities sales tax outcomes. The historic data is available online.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Conference housing deadline,
early-bird rates end October 1

The deadline to register for the Joint Annual Conference at the discounted early-bird rate of $499 is Tuesday, October 1. Conference housing blocks will also be closed at that time. Conference registration will remain open at a cost of $525 per person. IASB members and districts can register through their IASB account. Conference registration instructions and a registration checklist are available on the IASB website.

Hotel rooms remain available at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile and the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile at Conference block rates. The reduced block rates will expire on October 1 and registrants will need to secure their own housing accommodations for the November 22-24 conference. Hotels located in proximity to the Annual Conference are listed on the Conference webpage.

There are still openings available for individuals interested in attending the School Safety and Security Seminar on Friday, November 22, from 7:45-11:30 a.m. In addition, most Pre-Conference Workshops still have availabilities on Friday. Full-day workshops will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with opportunities for half-day workshops from 9-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3 p.m. Online registration for both the Security Seminar and Pre-Conference Workshops will close at 4 p.m., November 14.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Resolutions Committee Report now available;
Proposals will be voted on at Delegate Assembly

The 2019 IASB Resolutions Committee Report is being mailed to member districts this week. The report is also posted on the IASB website.

The Resolutions Committee met August 2 to consider and make recommendations on new proposals and amendments to current position statements brought forth by Association member districts. The report summarizes proposed resolutions for 2019, and rationales and the Committee’s recommendations on each. IASB membership will vote on these at the Delegate Assembly, November 23 at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

IASB Resolutions Committee Report
For 2019, the Committee recommends adoption of 10 proposed resolutions. The Committee also recommends amendments to five current position statements and one reaffirmation of a current position statement.

Four proposed resolutions are related to school safety and security; the Resolutions Committee recommends "Do Adopt" for all four.

One is an update of a proposal that did not pass the membership vote last year, which calls for IASB to support legislation that would provide local school boards the option to decide if they will allow for properly trained staff to be armed in school buildings as part of the district’s overall student safety and protection. A second proposed resolution would address school safety and security by calling for IASB to support legislation that would create and fund a program that would assist school districts in hiring school resource officers. Two other safety-related resolutions, one regarding a school district police force and another on school zone traffic safety, are also recommended for adoption.

A proposal relating to the process of conducting background checks on teachers is also recommended as “Do Adopt” by the Committee.

Adoption is also recommended on a proposal that IASB will support changes to legislation to allow school districts to consider social responsibility goals, including preferences for businesses owned by minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans, in selecting companies to service contracts.

Two proposed resolutions impact school districts that host State Authorized Charter Schools. One would call for IASB to support allowing a school district to be part of the charter renewal process. A second would support defining the expectations of such schools to educate at-risk students. The Resolutions Committee recommends “Do Adopt” to both.

The Committee recommends adoption of two measures regarding the timing of seating and terms of newly elected school board members. A third election-related proposal, on who can swear a new member in, received a “Do Not Adopt” from the Committee. A measure aimed at compensating school board members is also recommended as “Do Not Adopt.”

Full details of the 2019 recommendations, including the amendments and reaffirmation, are available in the Resolutions Committee Report.

Resolution proposals are submitted each year by school boards that are members of the Association. IASB staff works with the proposing school board(s) as needed, by reviewing and researching proposed resolutions to provide background on current law. Then, each proposed resolution is reviewed by the Resolutions Committee, made up of 21 school board members representing each of the Association’s divisions.

IASB membership votes on the recommendations each year at the Delegate Assembly, held in November in conjunction with the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago. The decisions reached by member boards of education determine the direction of the Association’s advocacy efforts on behalf of its members.

Negotiations continue;
offers filed in several Illinois districts

Several Illinois school districts are in the process of extended negotiations and contract filings with the Illinois Education Labor Review Board (IELRB) signaling an intent to strike. Here is a summary of the labor issues across the state as of September 20.  As of this writing, there have been no strikes in 2019-2020 in Illinois.
The teachers union and support staff offers for Carbondale ESD 95 were posted to the IELRB website on September 11. The district reportedly settled with support staff last week. District 95 has three elementary schools and a middle school. The sticking points in the teacher contract negotiations include classroom furniture and classroom provision funds, as well as annual pay increases over the proposed three-year contract.
Nearby, the Murphysboro CUSD 186 final offer was posted by the IELRB on September 17. Negotiations center on percentage raises and qualifying steps. Murphysboro has K-2 and 3-5 elementary centers and a middle and high school.
More information is available from the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB), which collects public postings for education-related final offers. IELRB postings can be accessed here.
The teachers and staff at Blue Ridge CUSD 18 in Farmer City have formed a “strike exploratory committee” after the district’s last offer. Positions were explained at a September 19 board meeting, and the negotiators are expected to meet again September 24.
Bremen CHSD 228, based in Midlothian with four south suburban high schools, continues negotiations with a federal mediator after starting the school year without a contract. Issues include salary and insurance, teacher evaluations, and climate.
The state’s largest school district, Chicago Public Schools, is continuing highly-publicized negotiations with the administration of Lori Lightfoot, in her first year as mayor. The Chicago Teachers Union is scheduled to vote this week and could set a strike date as early as October 7.
Evergreen Park ESD 124 teachers planned to file an intent to strike notice after negotiations broke down on September 20. The union represents 135 teachers and 70 paraprofessionals and support staff at four elementary schools and a middle school. The board notified parents of continuing negotiations, which include salary and its impact on teacher retention.
Talks include health insurance premiums, pension contributions, and salary in Mendota SD 289. Teachers reportedly filed an intent-to-strike notice and the next mediation session is scheduled for October 1. Mendota SD 289 has a building for kindergarten and first grade and another for grades 2-4. A middle school for fifth through eighth grades is also home to a preschool.
North Shore SD 112 teachers have completed a strike authorization vote. The 385-member North Shore Education Association and the district saw their contract expire in August and have been in federal mediation. Negotiations include planning time and continuing education, as well as salary. North Shore has seven elementary schools, a middle school, a junior high school, and an early childhood center.
In recent settlements, DeKalb CUSD 428 reached an agreement with its teachers in mid-September, averting a potential strike after months-long negotiations. Diamond Lake SD 76 (Mundelein) and its teachers approved a five-year contract offer with a September 24 date scheduled for ratification. Forest Park SD 91 and its teachers reached an agreement in late August after months of negotiations.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Holly Jack Award nominations due September 30

There is still time to submit nominations for IASB’s Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award for 2019. Districts are encouraged to recommend board or district secretaries who go above and beyond to serve staff, school board, community, and students.

Eligible nominees must be a district employee (superintendent’s secretary, superintendent’s administrative assistant, school board recording secretary, etc.) who has performed the duties of the board secretary for a minimum of five years.

The nomination form, with the signatures of the superintendent and board president, must be submitted by September 30. Letters of support from individuals, inside or outside the district, may be included but are limited to five or fewer.

The Holly Jack Award 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 honorary award will be presented in November at the Conference in Chicago during the Administrative Professionals’ Program.

Click here to view past winners. For more information about this year’s award, contact Peggy Goone by phone at 217-528-9688, ext. 1103; or by email at

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fall Division Meetings offer an array of topics

Topics have been announced for IASB’s Fall Division Meetings. All scheduled for October this season, they begin with four October 1 events, including Starved Rock Division’s visit with State Superintendent of Schools Carmen I. Ayala, Ph.D. discussing “Today’s Opportunities to Lead with Equity.

The North Cook Division will also feature the topic of educational equity, with “Equity: An Educational Imperative” presented by Bea Young and Susan O’Halloran on October 16

Click below for more and the complete list of dates and topics.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Nominations sought for 2019 Burroughs Award

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is inviting nominations of local board presidents for the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award for the state's outstanding school board president.

The award was created in 1991 in memory of the late ISBE chairman, who was at one time school board president for Collinsville CUSD 10. The Burroughs Award is presented each November at the Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials. This year’s Conference is November 22-24. The award will be presented on Sunday, November 24.

The Burroughs Award is intended to recognize extraordinary leadership on behalf of education at the local level, especially through characteristics similar to those shown by Burroughs. The criteria for this award recognize leadership on behalf of improved student learning and educational excellence, on behalf of equal educational opportunities, and/or in resolving a crisis or major difficulty.

Last year’s recipient was Richard J. Nogal, president of the CHSD 230 (Orland Park).

Nominations can be submitted to ISBE Board Services Coordinator Ana Arredondo, via email at, with “Burroughs Nomination” as the subject. The deadline for nominations is October 4, 2019. Click here for complete nomination information.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Upcoming webinar:
The Culturally Responsive Board

IASB will host a free webinar to discuss how cultural differences on boards of education can lead to innovation and a more inclusive district. 

Presenters will talk about communication, decision-making, and other challenges that may occur when different cultures are present on a school board. Presenters will also emphasize that differences that are understood, embraced, and valued can lead to great things for the district and a more productive board of education.

The hour-long webinar, entitled “The Culturally Responsive Board” will begin at noon on Tuesday, September 17. Registration for the webinar is available through IASB's Online Learning Center. Visit, and select the "My Account" button to log in. From there, choose the Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

Individuals who can’t participate in the live webinar should plan to “attend” the archived version, which will be available 24-48 hours after the live event. All past webinars are available through IASB’s Online Learning archive free of charge.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Federal Legislative Report 116-05


As both House and Senate members return to Washington, D.C. after their August recess, the main focus will be FY20 appropriations, as the end of the current fiscal year is September 30.

In late July, Senate and House leaders reached an agreement on a two-year budget deal with President Trump, separate from the FY20 appropriations process. The measure increases aggregate spending by $320 billion over the next two fiscal years and lifts the debt ceiling until 2021. Included in the increase is an aggregate $57 billion increase for non-defense programs, including education. Absent a deal to increase the spending caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011, federal education spending was expected to decline for the next fiscal year.

For FY20 appropriations, as reported in the last Federal Legislative Report (116-04), the House passed their version in late June, which included substantial funding increases for education. The focus is now on the Senate where staff had been working over the August recess to prepare for a push for a final vote before the end of September. However, it has been reported recently that Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has indicated he intends to decrease the allocation for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee by $5 billion and redirect the funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall expansion. Senate and House Democrats have expressed opposition to this decision, and there are no indications that there are enough votes to approve this shift. It is uncertain if the Senate can complete their work before the end of the fiscal year with this idea on the table.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Panel titles, times, and more listed
in Conference Preview

The 2019 Joint Annual Conference Preview is now available on the IASB website. The 24-page informational booklet includes an at-a-glance schedule of major Conference events, plus descriptions and time slots for Panel Sessions, Pre-Conference Workshops, the School Safety and Security Seminar, and much more. 

This will be the 87th Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), and Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO). The November 22-24 event will carry the theme, “Transform Vision into Reality.”

The preview highlights 106 Panel Sessions, with topics ranging from school safety and referendum questions to district financials and legal issues (pages 6-13 of the Conference Preview). The 60-minute panels will be presented at 9 and 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday; 7:30 and 10:30 a.m., and 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 to the regular Panel Sessions, 29 half-hour presentations will be featured at the Carousel of Panels (page 14) on Saturday, November 23 and 10 Coffee and Conversation (pg. 15) discussions will be held Sunday morning.

Friday, November 22 additional learning opportunities for school leaders. These events include eight IASB Pre-Conference Workshops (page 21), the half-day School Safety and Security Seminar (page 23), Illinois ASBO Pre-Conference Seminars, IASA Pre-Conference Sessions, and the Illinois Council of School Attorneys Seminar on School Law (page 22). These professional development workshops each require an additional fee and advance registration to attend.

The two-day Administrative Professionals’ Program (pages 16-17) takes place on Friday and Saturday. Attendees of this event, designed specifically for board/district secretaries and administrative professionals, must be paid Conference registrants, but there is no additional charge.

Information on other Conference activities, including the IASB Delegate Assembly (page 8), Exhibition of Educational Environments (page 12), Conference bookstore (page 15), and Exhibit Hall (page 18) are also featured in the Preview.

Newly named this year will be the IASB Info Center (previously IASB Homeroom), where board members can learn about and take part in demonstrations of various products and services. Members will also be able to meet with Association division officers, field services directors, and policy and executive search consultants.

Further details will be available in the official Conference Program, which can be picked up onsite at the Conference registration desk in the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Online registration is available at early-bird rates of $499 until October 1. Additional registration and housing information can be found online.

Friday, September 6, 2019

September/October Journal
updates administrator salaries

In the September/October issue of the Illinois School Board Journal, IASB and a team of educators from Western Illinois University add to the series of analyses of administrator salaries in Illinois. As usual, there is information on superintendents; this year there’s a separate study on principals. The annual series allows school boards to assess, over time, trends and changes in administrator pay. Each year provides a new perspective as the data – provided annually by ISBE – includes benefits to the mix for superintendents.

The Journal's regular features include tips for board presidents and policy prompts, especially for new board members. Watch for the new Journal in your mailbox, or read the digital edition by clicking on the image below.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

2019-2020 Annual School Calendar
now available

The 2019-2020 Annual School Calendar of legal dates and deadlines is now available.

The calendar is produce by IASB each year to assist school districts with preparing their local school calendars. Dates contained in this calendar comply with all statutory deadlines contained in the Election Code, School Code, and selected acts of the General Assembly. It does not contain dates imposed by the State Board of Education or its regulations.

The Annual School Calendar is posted online only to allow for revisions to be made in a timely manner if newly enacted legislation or other needed updates occur. It is also important to note that the calendar is published for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice from the school district legal counsel.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Four join IASB staff

Patricia Sullivan-Viniard
Patricia Sullivan-Viniard, Ed.D., has joined IASB as a consultant with the Executive Searches department.

Sullivan-Viniard recently retired as superintendent of LaGrange Highlands SD 106 following a career in education that spanned 37 years. Beginning as a teacher, she taught elementary education, high school special education, and junior and senior high English language arts. She then moved into administration. While serving as principal of an elementary school, the school received numerous honors, including the National Blue Ribbon School and Illinois Spotlight School awards. She also served as an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for many years, before moving into the superintendency.

Lori Grant
She received her undergraduate degree in elementary and special education from Quincy University and a Master’s Degree in English from Western Illinois University. She earned a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Western, which included conducting research regarding gifted education practices that promote or hinder equity. Her research received the Robert F. Hall Dissertation Award for excellence in dissertation research, and she was selected to present her research at the American Education Research Association’s conference. She has presented on various topics at Title I conferences, the IASA/IASB/IASBO Joint Conference, and for many school districts. She also served for several years on ISBE’s Consolidated Committee of Practitioners.

Nakia Hall
As a member of IASB‘s Executive Search team, Sullivan-Viniard assists school districts in recruiting and selecting a superintendent or other key administrator. The department, led by Thomas Leahy, offers expertise and processes to help school boards determine their next superintendent or other administrator. This includes conducting a needs assessment, collecting candidate information, screening and interviewing candidates, and maintaining contact with educational agents.

IASB has welcomed two new individuals to the staff, both working in the Lombard office as Field Services Directors.

Lori Grant was a teacher, music department chair, and instructional coach before transitioning to the private sector. Most recently Grant was a Divisional Trainer for Gordon Food Service. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Ohio State University and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University.

Nakia Hall, Ed.D., also joins the IASB team after a career in education. Hall was an elementary school teacher, adult learning English as a Second Language instructor, writing lab coordinator, and adjunct professor. She was recently owner and CEO of Executive Order Leadership Development Firm. Hall earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, and Master of Arts and Doctor in Education degrees from Olivet Nazarene University. She also is finishing up 10 years as a
Isaac Warren
board member for Crete-Monee CUSD 201U.

Field Services Directors are the primary staff contacts responsible for assuring that member district needs are met by the Association.

Isaac Warren has joined the Communications and Production Services department as assistant director of digital communication, bringing the Association his expertise in graphic design and layout, video recording and editing, 3D rendering of graphics, social media, and writing and editing.
Warren is a 2019 graduate of Greenville University with a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media. Prior to that he earned an associate’s degree in Journalism from Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. His undergraduate work included serving as news editor of The Lamp student newspaper at LLCC and The Vista, Greenville’s student magazine.

Also at Greenville, Warren worked with Greenville SMART to create 3D renders of floor plans for a building undergoing renovation. In 2017, he interned at the Sangamon County Farm Bureau. He was a videographer, video editor, and camp counselor for Kanakuk Kamps in the summer of 2018.

The assistant director of digital communication is a new title at IASB. Warren replaces Gary Adkins, who has worked for 32 years in IASB’s Communications department.  As director of editorial services, editor of the Illinois School Board News Blog and its predecessor, the Newsbulletin, and contributor to numerous other projects, Adkins retires on August 31 having written and edited millions of words for IASB.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Training offered for those seeking superintendent position

IASB is continuing its partnership with the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) to offer one-day professional development seminars for those seeking to join the ranks of superintendent. “Seeking the Superintendency” seminars will be available in Springfield and Lisle during the month of September.

“IASB and IASA have been offering this Professional Advancement Seminar for 42 years.

Participants will hear from the IASB search staff in regard to the vacancy and application process. They will also hear from IASA Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark and Sara Boucek, IASA associate director/legal counsel,” said IASB Executive Searches Director Tom Leahy.

A number of topics to assist those who are interested in pursuing a superintendent position will be on the agenda.  Attendees will hear from executive search consultants and legal experts about the process of filling vacancies and where and how to learn of superintendent job openings. Additionally, registrants will discuss the interview process, job strategies, and what should be included in their portfolio when applying.

Presenters will also cover the contract process, including assessing a potential offer and reviewing an employment contract.

“I know from personal experience when I was seeking the superintendency that my attendance at this event nearly 30 years ago gave me the confidence and tools necessary to move forward to obtain the superintendent position,” continued Leahy.

Seeking the Superintendency” seminars will be presented at the Universal Technical Institute in Lisle on September 5 and at the IASB Springfield office on September 19. A third offering will be available January 15, 2020 at IASB’s Springfield office.

Registration is $175 per attendee and includes materials, a copy of the Illinois School Law Survey, continental breakfast, and lunch. Online registration is available by using an IASB member account or contacting IASB at 217/528-9688, ext. 1145.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-25

Governor JB Pritzker has completed action on all bills that have been sent to him by the General Assembly. The legislature approved 600 bills this spring that required action by the Governor. The Governor signed most all of them into law. Seven bills were vetoed – most of those being duplicative of other bills that already had been signed. One bill was issued an amendatory veto.

Of the 600 bills passed, nearly 20 percent either directly or indirectly affected local school districts. The Digest of Bills Passed contains a summary of all of these bills.

Click here to read the full Alliance Legislative Report 101-25, including the bills recently signed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

School designs submitted for awards

Projects will be invited to
display at the Conference in
Chicago, on November 22-24.
Twenty-four school design projects have been submitted for judging in the 2019 Invitational Exhibition of Educational Environments.

Awards in the 29th annual competition will be decided by a jury comprised of three school administrators and three architects at IASB office in Springfield on September 12. The event is sponsored by IASB Service Associates.

Design projects to be judged are limited to new or renovated facilities owned or operated by or for Illinois public school districts, used for instructional, recreational, administrative, or other purposes, and completed in time for occupancy with the start of school in Fall 2019.

The jury will select projects to receive Awards of Distinction, which is the highest level, as well as Awards of Merit and Honorable Mention. Projects will be invited to display throughout the three-day Joint Annual Conference in Chicago, November 22-24.

A description of last year’s winners can be viewed here.

All 24 entries will be added to IASB’s School Design Data File. This searchable online database is available for use by school districts and architectural firms and is updated each year after the competition. It currently contains more than 500 Illinois public school design projects in a database housed on the IASB website.

Saturday, August 24, 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 23, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-24

Governor JB Pritzker continued working through the 600 bills that were approved by the General Assembly and sent to his desk. Many of the new Public Acts have an immediate effect on school districts. While some of the bills recently signed allow for greater flexibility for local districts, there are many that may also have serious repercussions.

One of the most consequential bills signed into law is HB 2078 (Stuart, D-Collinsville). In yearly increments, HB 2078 increases the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year. The minimum salary increase would be 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, and 
  • Not less than $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.

Following the 2023-24 school year and each year thereafter, subject to review by the General Assembly, the minimum teacher salary shall be increased by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the previous school year. The bill is now Public Act 101-0443, effective January 1, 2020.

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 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