Friday, May 31, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-19

 LEGISLATURE WORKS THROUGH THE FINAL DAY

The Illinois General Assembly was working feverishly today (Friday) to try and finish its aggressive agenda before the midnight deadline for adjournment. Though significant issues have been taking shape and discussions are continuing in committees and on the chamber floors, many of the more controversial issues need more time for negotiations. The House of Representatives just announced that it plans to be in session through Sunday – therefore missing the scheduled adjournment deadline. In the past couple of hours, amendments have been filed to enact legislation for a Fiscal Year 2020 state budget, a Budget Implementation Act (BIMP), a statewide capital infrastructure plan, and expanded gaming.

The Alliance will provide updates throughout the weekend as details become available. For now, here are some of the most important bills being considered.

SB 39 (Link, D-Vernon Hills) would establish a property tax relief fund in the state treasury to be used to issue property tax rebates to taxpayers.

SB 262 (Cullerton, D-Chicago) contains the FY 2020 appropriations and spending priorities. The evidence-based funding formula for K-12 education will likely see an increase of at least $375 million.

SB 687 (Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields) contains the income tax rates that will be put into place if the proposed constitutional amendment is approved to allow for graduated income tax rates.

SB 1814 (Steans, D-Chicago) contains the BIMP provisions. A pension provision is included to raise the current 3 percent end-of-career salary increase limit to 6 percent. A companion bill, HB 62 (Harris, D-Chicago), includes provisions regarding funds for construction of schools, early childhood facilities, higher education facilities, and hospitals.

SB 1932 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) would establish the Property Tax Relief Task Force that will make recommendations for short-term and long-term property tax relief for homeowners

SB 690 (Link) contains provisions for expanded gaming, including allowing sports betting, and also adds provisions to enable Illinois to capture “out-of-state” online retail sales tax.

BILLS APPROVED BY BOTH CHAMBERS

HB 247 (Carroll, D-Northbrook) requires school districts contracting with a third party for drivers’ education to ensure that the private instructor has a teaching license and that the district administrator evaluate and observe the instructor.

HB 254 (Guzzardi, D-Chicago) requires school districts to report certain information about actively employed teachers, pupil-teacher ratios, class instructors by grade level and subject, and class sizes to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

HB 1561 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) requires all school boards to develop threat assessment protocols and create threat assessment teams. Additionally, it allows receipts from county wide sales tax for school facilities and health/life safety funds to be used for personnel such as school resource officers or mental health professionals.

HB 2124 (Welch, D-Westchester) provides that a public body may hold a closed meeting to consider the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees, specific independent contractors, or specific volunteers of the public body or legal counsel for the public body.

HB 2165 (Murphy, R-Springfield), for the high school graduation requirement of three years of math, requires one year to be Algebra I and one year to include geometry content that may be an Advanced Placement computer science course. It further allows the geometry content to be integrated, applied, interdisciplinary, or career and technical education that prepares a student for career readiness.

HB 3550 (Williams, D-Chicago) requires a sex education course provided in grades 6-12 to include an age-appropriate discussion on the meaning of consent to sexual activity.

HB 3606 (Martwick, D-Chicago), regarding student data privacy, contains a myriad of unfunded and/or unworkable mandates on school districts that would place enormous and expensive burdens on districts.

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

SB 1798 (Rose, R-Champaign) requires each school district to create, maintain, and implement an age-appropriate policy on sexual harassment that must be posted on the school district's website.

SB 1952 (Manar) would permanently eliminate the test of basic skills and allow student teachers to be paid.


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Federal Legislative Report (116-03)

116th Congress, Number 03

VOUCHER PROVISIONS REMOVED FROM HOUSE PASSED BILL
Last week, the House passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act (H.R. 1994) that was initially reported out of the Ways and Means Committee last month with provisions to expand 529 education plans for homeschooling and for private school "expenses in addition to tuition."  Because of advocacy in opposition to those provisions, they were removed before the legislation was cleared for floor consideration by the House Rules Committee.

The SECURE Act would expand 529 plans, however, to allow distributions from 529 plans for student loan repayments, namely a "qualified higher education expense" up to $10,000 annually.

H.R. 1994 is now headed to the Senate.

HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVES DACA BILL
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee convened for more than eight hours to consider three immigration bills, including the Dream Act of 2019 (H.R. 2820) sponsored by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), which was approved by a vote of 19-10.  The Dream Act would apply to participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was suspended in 2017 and then resumed under a court order to continue to process applications of eligible individuals until the courts reach a conclusion in the matter.

The Dream Act would establish a "special procedure for applicants with DACA," and states that the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security "shall establish a streamlined procedure for aliens who have been granted DACA and who meet the requirements for renewal (under the terms of the program in effect on January 1, 2017) to apply for cancellation of removal and adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence on a conditional basis ..." 

Click here to read the complete Federal Legislative Report (116-03), including Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations, grants for services for children with disabilities, school safety grants, education bills assed out of committee, and net neutrality legislation.


Nominations for 2019 educational environments sought

A jury will select school design entries for exhibition
at the Joint Annual Conference on November 22-24.
The Association is now accepting entries for the 2019 Invitational Exhibition of Educational Environments, sponsored by the IASB Service Associates. The competition is open to design firms engaged in Illinois public school facility projects completed in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

The program recognizes both the design firm and school district for facilities that are new or renovated for instructional, recreational, administration, or other use.

A jury comprised of three school board members or administrators appointed by IASB and three architects appointed by the IASB Service Associates will evaluate entries in September. The identity of submitting entities will be concealed from the jury.

Those reviewing the projects will have complete freedom in selecting entries that best represent a statewide cross section of school building designs. The jury will give prime consideration to solutions of the stated educational program requirements as detailed in the Call for Entries.

Categories for projects include New Building, Major Addition, Minor Additions (under 10,000 gsf), Major Renovation or Adaptive Reuse, Special Project – Historic Preservation or Sensitive Rehab, and Special Project – Small Projects under $4 Million or Single Spaces. A seventh category, Special Project – Engineering Solution, was added this year to recognize such projects.

The jury will select entries invited to display in the final exhibition November 22-24 at the IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Awards of Distinction or Merit may be granted to projects the jury deems to represent outstanding educational environments. Honorable Mention recognition for other outstanding examples may also be made at the discretion of the jury.

Entry forms are due in the IASB Springfield office by July 15.

For more information about the Exhibition of Educational Environments or questions about the content, contact 217/528-9688 or 630/629-3776, ext. 1105.

Nominated exhibits from previous years can be accessed through IASB’s School Design Data File.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-07

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN CAPITOL
As the legislature works through the final week before the scheduled adjournment, significant issues are being considered in both the Senate and House of Representatives. On Monday, the House approved SJRCA 1 which proposes to amend the State Constitution to allow for graduated income tax rates. The question will now go to the voters at the November 2020 election.

The accompanying bill (SB 687) that contains the new income tax rates has yet to be called for a vote on the House floor. It seems that another bill in the Senate tax package, SB 690, has stalled in the House for now. SB 690 would place all school districts under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL). The House, however, put its spin on the property tax relief issue by amending two bills. SB 39 would establish a property tax relief fund in the State treasury to be used to issue property tax rebates to taxpayers. It would not affect or expand PTELL. SB 1932 would establish the Property Tax Relief Task Force that will make recommendations for short-term and long-term property tax relief for homeowners. Its report will be due 90 days after the law is enacted. Both bills are pending on the House floor.

Leadership, sponsors, and stakeholders continue to meet to find agreeable language for bills on expanded gaming, legalization of recreational marijuana, and a capital projects package. Hot button issues such as firearm ownership and abortion rights are being considered this week as well.

FAFSA BILL CLEARS SENATE
HB 2719, which would require each high school student to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a prerequisite to receive a graduation diploma, was approved by the Senate Tuesday. The bill was sent to the House for consideration.

IASB opposes the bill. Details can be found here.

School board members are urged to contact their State Representatives and ask them to vote "No" on HB 2719. IASB drafted an amendment that was given to the sponsor and proponents in the Senate, but it was not considered. The bill has yet to be assigned to a House committee for a hearing, but it can happen with just a one hour posting notice. Once the bill is scheduled for a House committee hearing, school board members are urged to file a witness slip in opposition to the bill.

YET ANOTHER VERSION OF SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION BILL
The Senate sponsor of the School District Efficiency Commission legislation, HB 3053, filed another amendment to the bill this week. The bill, as introduced, calls for the Commission to establish its criteria for why schools should consolidate and arbitrarily reduce the number of school districts by 25%. The amendment makes very slight changes to the original bill and the IASB is still strongly opposed. It would not allow the Commission to recommend the consolidation of "individual schools", but still requires the Commission to reduce the number of school districts by 25% by establishing criteria defining school districts and requiring referenda to be placed on the ballot around the State.
The amendment was assigned to a sub-committee and was not called for a vote.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Stay on top of the headlines
with Leading News

Icon of Leading News
As a service to our membership, IASB offers news headlines on this, the Illinois School Board News Blog.

Leading News is a daily collection of public education-related headlines from across the state and nation. Association members understand the importance of staying informed, not only on the major education issues of the day, but also concerning which topics the media is prioritizing. Leading News is one way school board members can meet the directive of the Code of Conduct for Members of School Boards that states:

"I will be sufficiently informed about and prepared to act on the specific issues before the board, and remain reasonably knowledgeable about local, state, national, and global education issues."

You can reach this resource by clicking on the Leading News icon in the right column of the News Blog. An archive of Leading News is available there as well.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-18

LEGISLATURE HEADS DOWN HOMESTRETCH

The Illinois General Assembly is fast approaching the scheduled May 31st deadline for adjournment. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are working today (Friday). The Senate does not have session scheduled for Saturday or Sunday, but will return to the Capitol Monday. The House had scheduled session days straight through the weekend, but cancelled session for Saturday.

Lawmakers have huddled in various groups to negotiate key pending issues over the past week. Leaders and bill sponsors are meeting to find agreements on legislation regarding legalization of recreational marijuana, expanded gaming, capital projects, tax increase, and a property tax freeze. Each of these are important pieces necessary to meet the revenue requests of Governor JB Pritzker’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 state budget.

Other education-related legislation is still awaiting final votes as well. The bills to increase the minimum salary for teachers – SB 10 and HB 2078 – are on the Senate floor and House floor, respectively. Since nothing is ever really “dead” in the Capitol, the Alliance is still watching closely for any movement of legislation regarding P.E. (SB 1189 and HB 2234) and school consolidation (HB 3053).

 
LATE DEVELOPMENTS

PROPERTY TAX CAPS

The House Revenue and Finance Committee is scheduled to meet Monday morning at 8:30 to consider the bill that will extend property tax caps to school districts in all counties. SB 690 (Zalewski, D-Riverside) 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 percent or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Under the proposal, school districts would have their “extension limitation” set at 0 percent if they are not “qualified school districts.” A “qualified school district” is one that received less than 97 percent 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.

The Alliance opposes the bill and school board members and administrators are urged to file a witness slip to register official opposition to the proposal. The link to file a witness slip can be found here.

SB 689 (Zalewski), which would repeal the estate tax that is currently imposed in Illinois, is also scheduled for hearing in the committee.

FAFSA REQUIRED FOR GRADUATION

An amendment was filed to HB 2719 (Ammons, D-Champaign) 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. 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. Also, the school district “must provide to each high school student any support or assistance necessary” if a student needs assistance in completing the FAFSA.

HB 2719 was approved by the Senate Education Committee and is awaiting action on the Senate floor. Here is the text of the amendment.

INTER-DISTRICT TRANSFERS OF STUDENTS

SB 449 (Lightford, D-Maywood) allows a student who is a victim of gender-based violence to transfer schools (even to another school district) immediately if the student’s continued attendance at the original school poses a risk to the student’s mental or physical well-being or safety. It also provides that a student’s disclosure of his/her status as a parent, expectant parent, or victim of gender-based violence be a mitigating circumstance in any suspension or expulsion proceeding. Many other requirements for school districts are also included affecting homebound instruction, student absences/truancy, staff training, review/revision of policies and procedures, complaint procedures, confidentiality, and student accommodations and services.

The Alliance continues to participate in discussions with the bill’s proponents to eliminate some of the school district mandates and add flexibility to schools. However, a second House amendment filed late this week still falls short and the Alliance remains opposed.

Click here to read the full Alliance Legislative Report 101-18, including a number of bills approved by both chambers and sent to the governor.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

ISBE Briefs

Illinois Report Card Data and Verification Tool
A new tool to assist districts with the 2019 Report Card process will be available July 1. The Data Review and Verification Tool (DRVT) will display most Report Card metrics based on the data that school districts have submitted up to that point in time. The idea is to allow administrators and school officials to review their districts metrics months before the official October release of Illinois Report Card data. This will allow districts to then provide feedback on potential anomalies, missing data, or other errors.

ESSA Site-Based Reporting Guidance

ISBE has released updated guidance to assist LEAs and other reporting entities with reporting per-pupil expenditure data at both the district and school level. The updated guidelines are designed to provide clarity to help fulfill site-based expenditure requirements under ESSA. A number of other resources on site-based expenditure reporting are available, here.

Early Childhood Grants Extended
ISBE has announced it has extended the Fiscal Year 2019 Early Childhood State Grants to September 30, rather than ending the grants on June 30 as originally planned. Reasons expressed for the change:
  • Some grantees have not received all funding for their state Early Childhood programs;
  • Preschool for All and Prevention Initiative grantees were recently notified of a one-time additional funding opportunity for grantees that anticipate meeting current expense and enrollment targets.
ISBE announced recently it would extend all Early Childhood grants to September 30, 2019, regardless of the current project end date. Specifically, the extension is applied to the following state programs:
  • Preschool for All 3-5 Program (Revenue Code 3705-00)
  • Prevention Initiative 0-3 Program (Revenue Code 3705-01)
  • Preschool Expansion (Revenue Code 3705-PE)
Grantees will see the new Sept. 30 end date reflected in the electronic Grants Management System if a budget amendment is needed, as well as in the Financial Reimbursement Information System Inquiry. All grantees will still be required to complete and submit a June 30, 2019, expenditure report through the Electronic Expenditure Reporting System.

Questions regarding the end-date extension or expenditure reporting requirements should be directed to the agency’s Division of Funding and Disbursements at 217/782-5256.

Questions regarding the one-time opportunity for additional FY 2019 funding or budget amendments should be directed to the Division of Early Childhood Education at 217/524-4835 or earlychi@isbe.net.

Support and Accountability Listening Tour continues
The State Board of Education continues to host a Support and Accountability Listening Tour at various stops throughout the state in the month of May. ISBE is asking for stakeholder concerns and suggestions that could be added to an amendment to the Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan with the goal to improve measurement and support of school performance.
The Listening Tour will stop at

  • Carbondale Community High School—May 23 from 5-7 p.m.
  • Rock Island ROE—May 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-06

KEY LEGISLATIVE ISSUES REMAIN
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.

BUDGET AND REVENUES
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.

CAPITAL PROJECTS PROPOSAL
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.

SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION
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.

STUDENT DATA PRIVACY
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.

NEW GRADUATION REQUIREMENT
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
MINIMUM TEACHER SALARIES
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.

5 CLOCK HOURS MINIMUM
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

COMMITTEE APPROVES CONSOLIDATION BILL
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

SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION LEGISLATION
TO BE HEARD
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 emphasizes 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

LEGISLATURE BEGINS BUSY LAST MONTH
OF SESSION
 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.

 The IASB Nominating Committee, when considering persons recommended for IASB elective offices, shall consider the following criteria:
  1. Demonstrated leadership on a local board of education and at IASB division and state levels.
  2. Demonstrated participation in a wide spectrum of IASB activities at all levels.
  3. Demonstrated ability to speak for public education in Illinois and to be an advocate for IASB positions.
  4. Involvement with other education-related associations or organizations.
  5. Other leadership experiences.
  6. Special talents or interests of benefit to IASB as currently constituted.
  7. 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

TAX PACKAGE APPROVED
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.