Friday, August 16, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-23

Governor JB Pritzker has been signing into law dozens of measures every week as he works through the 600 bills that were approved by the General Assembly and sent to his desk. Just last Friday, the Governor acted upon 150 pieces of legislation.

Many of the recent bill signings were bills opposed by the Alliance that will cause challenges for local school districts. The Alliance offered amendatory language in most cases to try to make the bills less onerous for school districts. Letters were also written to the Governor asking for vetoes or amendatory vetoes, but instead the bills have been enacted into law.

HB 2719 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) will 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. 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." The bill is now Public Act 101-0180, effective June 1, 2020.

Several new curricular mandates have been approved as well. 

HB 246 (Moeller, D-Elgin) requires schools to teach about the diversity of our society, including the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in society. The bill is now Public Act 101-0227, effective July 1, 2020.

HB 2265 (Lilly, D-Oak Park) requires every public elementary school to include in its sixth, seventh, or eighth-grade curriculum at least one semester of civics education. The bill is now Public Act 101-0254, effective July 1, 2020.

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. The bill is now Public Act 101-0305, effective January 1, 2020.

SB 1601 (Sims, D-Chicago), with regard to the instruction on history of the United States, requires that the course must also include instruction on the history of Illinois. The bill is now Public Act 101-0341, effective January 1, 2020.


NSBA Summer Leadership Seminar in Chicago

The 2019 NSBA Summer Leadership Seminar for IASB officers and executives and other state’s school board association leaders are being held August 16-18 in Chicago.

The conference focuses on leadership sessions for state association officers, as well as updates on federal issues. Other highlights include: opportunities for regional and peer-to-peer networking, a look at key trends, as well as an exploration of collaboration, shared vision, innovation, and leadership development.

Attending from IASB will be: Executive Director Tom Bertrand, as well as Association officers, including: President Joanne Osmond, Vice President Thomas Neeley, Immediate Past President Phil Pritzker, and Treasurer Linda Eades.

“The great thing about this seminar is that it provides sessions and exercises to help participants better understand their role as motivators, leaders, and change agents,” said IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand.

The seminar has been held in Chicago for many years. The agenda for this year’s event includes exercises for sharing state association perspectives.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Board member resources featured in next noon webinar, August 22

The next installments in IASB’s noon webinar series will resume the “Lunch and Learn” format and take place on August 22. The series resumed with Holding the Gavel: Tips for Board Presidents featured tips and best practices for board presidents, or aspiring ones in a one-hour webinar on August 13.

Next up, on August 22, the webinar entitled “Lucky 7s: Questions, Answers, and Resources for New and Experienced Board Members” will feature seven Qs and As from IASB’s legal and field services teams, as well as the top seven resources that all board members should have at their fingertips. The Thursday, August 22 webinar will take place from noon to 1 p.m.

IASB’s lunch-time webinars are free to members. Registration for the webinars is available through IASB's Online Learning Center. Visit, and select the yellow "My Account" button to log in. From there, choose the Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

If you can’t participate in the live webinar, plan to “attend” the archive version, which will be available 24-48 hours after the live event. All 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, August 8, 2019

Time to submit nominations
for 2019 Holly Jack Award

2018 winner
Linda Wehrheim,
Winnetka SD 36
School districts throughout Illinois are encouraged to nominate those who perform the duties of the board secretary for IASB’s Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award. Application forms are available on the IASB website.

Nominees must be local district employees (superintendent’s secretary, superintendent’s administrative assistant, or school board recording secretary) who have performed the duties of a board secretary for a minimum of five years. Qualifications include a passion for work in the field of public education, dedication toward improving the quality of life for others and education in the community, independent problem-solving abilities, constant desire for self-improvement, and innovation and imagination within the work environment.

The nomination form needs to be signed by the superintendent and the board president. Letters of support from individuals, either inside or outside the district, may be submitted with the form, but are limited to no more than five. The deadline for submitting all related nomination materials is September 30, 2019.

The recognition 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 Administrative Professionals' Program offered at the Joint Annual Conference.

The award will be presented in November at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago during the Administrative Professionals’ Program.

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

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Celebrating the News Blog's 1,000th post

The Illinois School Board News Blog has reached the 1,000-post milestone.

From 1943 to 2015, IASB published a monthly Newsbulletin, sharing information that members want to know and addressing the information-gathering needs and interests of board members and other school leaders. Originally a printed and mailed publication, it was later a digital publication.

In 2015, the publication was reformatted as this News Blog for more timely coverage of education issues. The Blog includes information on IASB events, services, and publications; advocacy alerts and updates on state and federal legislative issues; election information; current topics in K-12 education, board and board member development opportunities, the work of the IASB Board of Directors, and daily news headlines.

The Newsbulletin and Blog have been edited by Gary Adkins since 1987. Thanks to our readers, the 999 previous posts have garnered over 300,000 pageviews.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

IASB Resolutions Committee meeting

On Friday, August 2 the IASB resolutions committee will meet in Bloomington-Normal to hear testimony from districts that submitted resolutions. Committee members will debate the proposals and then make a recommendation to adopt or not adopt each measure. The Resolutions Committee is comprised of one elected member from each of the Association’s 21 divisions.

This year, 18 resolutions were submitted by local boards of education seeking to address such concerns as student and school safety, charter schools, special education funding, prevailing wage, and other important issues. The deadline for districts to submit resolutions was June 26.

Once the committee has completed its recommendations on each proposal, a “Resolutions Committee Report” will be distributed to each member district and posted on the IASB website. This report is intended to provide a summary of each measure to assist districts when deciding how to vote on the respective resolutions presented at the Delegate Assembly.

The IASB Delegate Assembly will gather at the Joint Annual Conference on Saturday, November 23 to debate and vote on proposed member resolutions. If approved by the delegates in attendance, the resolutions will be adopted as part of IASB’s official Position Statements.