Saturday, March 2, 2019

Alliance Summit prepares stakeholders to advocate for public school interests

Hundreds of school leaders enjoyed the chance to network with peers.
Hundreds of school board members, district administrators, school business officials, and other education leaders attended the 2019 Alliance Leadership Summit, held February 26-27 in Springfield.

The lobbying preparations, convening at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre, were jointly sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Association of School Business Officials, and the Illinois Principals Association.

The school management organizations said their goal for the summit was to bring their individual members together as a unified team in order to learn about issues and engage legislators on the needs of public education. The agenda included hearing from guest speakers and panelists on timely public policy concerns. More importantly, the Summit also helped teach participants the ropes on how to advocate effectively on the issues affecting public schools.

Day one included a keynote presentation by Dr. Jeff McCausland, Col., U.S. Army, who shared historical insights on President Abraham Lincoln’s strategic vision and successful approaches to crisis management. Panel presentations featured political analysts, and a detailed issues discussion led by executives and lobbyists from the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance.
IASB Executive Director Thomas E. Bertrand touched on key issues
in closing remarks on Tuesday, including alternative teacher licensing.

Attendees were briefed on how and why local school leaders should advocate on behalf of public education, and participants received a variety of tools to craft and deliver their messages to lawmakers at the capitol. The day concluded with a legislative reception at the Statehouse Inn.

Day two began with a panel presentation by legislators, including State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Representative Terri Bryant, State Representative William Davis, and State Representative Tony McCombie.  A subsequent panel presented lobbying tips and advice from Alliance lobbyists.
IASA Executive Director Brent Clark introduced a panel
of distinguished lawmakers to Wednesday morning attendees.

After lunch, local school leaders visited the statehouse to engage with their elected representatives, aides, and other key legislative staff.  Armed with position papers and other informational materials, participants engaged with their school district representatives to describe district needs and share suggestions and stories touching upon legislation.
Attendees visited the statehouse to engage with their legislators.

Among key lobbying points are support for:  the Governor’s request for an additional $375 million for the Evidence-Based Funding Model, a large increase in funding for the Early Childhood Block Grant, ensuring that any capital project funding includes school districts, and giving added flexibility with regard to pensions by increasing the limit on end-of-service salary for school employees.

For more information from the summit see Twitter (  Note that during the summit the Twitter hashtag #ILedsummit19 was used.