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

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.