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Voters approve 11 bond issues, one November tax referendum
Conference draws 76% of all districts to voluntary training
Illinois GOP on losing side in vote on U.S. child nutrition bill
Teacher CPDU credits offered for Conference
'Awkward' school board election to result from key law changes
IASB delegates agree to resolution seeking state funding stability
Board member Dupont wins board presidency award
Board secretary McElligott wins 2010 Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award
Architects, schools honored as 'EEE' winners for advanced building designs
Service Associates announce bingo winners
Gillum named Superintendent of Year, advises peers to do what's best for kids
Joint Conference panel handouts now available online via Association's Members-Only website
Conference photos offered for view and purchase online
Online Learning Center announces four winners
State adopts ethics code of basic expectations for educators
Boards urged to 'share the success' with ideas for 2011 Conference
Board members react to surprise recognition on Board Members' Day
IASB to mail summary of recently adopted New School Laws
Board members to lobby Congress on funding, NCLB at FRN event
School finance essentials topic of updated 'guide to techniques, issues and resources'


Food allergy policies
Koch leads CCSSO
Breakfast numbers up

IASB membership count now at 851
Leadership conference becomes biennial event
Help keep membership information up to date


Voters approve 11 bond issues, one November tax referendum

A look at school referendum results indicates voters approved 11 of 15 bond propositions but only one of six tax increase questions on the general election ballot, based on the Illinois State Board of Elections list of referendums on the ballot.

The 17 percent approval rate in this election for tax increases was subpar, while the 73 percent success rate for bond issues was above par. The 20-year average dating back to 1990 shows that tax questions have had a 36 percent passage rate and bond issues a 58 percent passage rate.

The November ballot saw a number of county sales tax and working cash bond referendums.

Building bond issues were approved by voters in Damiansville District 62, in Clinton County (for $1.26 million); Flora CUSD 35, in Clay, Marion, and Wayne counties (for $9.5 million); Virginia CUSD 64, in Cass and Morgan counties (for $4.9 million); Wesclin CUSD 3, Trenton, in Clinton County (for $9.6 million); West Chicago Elementary District 33, in DuPage County (for $39 million); Gurnee District 56, in Lake County (for $28.5 million); Dunlap CUSD 323, in Peoria County (for $11.5 million); Washington CHSD 308, in Tazewell County (for $10.2 million); Wayne City District 100, in Wayne County (for $6.9 million); and Freeburg CHSD 77, in St. Clair County (for $4.9 million).

Building bond issues failed in McHenry CHSD 156; Medinah Elementary District 11, Roselle; and New Trier THSD 203, Northfield.

The only school district that was successful in increasing its tax rate for educational purposes was Dwight Common School District 232, in Grundy and Livingston Counties. It sought a 50-cent increase per $100 of assessed valuation, and voters approved it by a 52-48 percent margin.

Tax rate increases were rejected in McHenry CHSD 156; Millburn CCSD 24, Wadsworth; Mokena SD 159; North Pekin-Marquette Heights District 102; and Taylorville CUSD 3. All of these districts sought to increase the limiting rate under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) in order to raise property taxes. But no such proposition was approved by voters in November.

In November, voters approved three of six countywide sales tax increase proposals earmarked for school facility purposes. Specifically, 51.6 percent of voters in Macon County approved a 1% boost in their county sales tax, and 51.9 percent in Knox County approved an identical tax boost proposal.

One other countywide sales tax proposal, in Warren County, led by 26 votes after the initial vote count, but the question remain undecided until all absentee ballots were tallied. The county clerk had to wait for the absentee ballots to arrive and be counted. On Nov. 18 County Clerk Tina Conard said the final absentee votes came in and the tax had gained four yes votes, making the margin in favor of the sales tax 30 votes.

Similar sales tax questions were voted down, however, in Iroquois, Montgomery and Sangamon counties.

One of three working cash bond issues won approval: Cary Community Consolidated School District 26, located in portions of Lake and McHenry counties (for $15 million). Similar bond issue referendums failed in Lemont-Bromberek CSD 113A; and Palatine CCSD 15.

Non finance questions

Voters approved propositions in all three school districts that sought voter authorization to elect school board members at large and without restriction by area of residence within the district. At-large voting lifts the restriction that a number of members on the board must be selected from one congressional township in the school district.

Districts where voters chose at large representation included Brown County CUSD 1, Mt. Sterling; Meredosia-Chambersburg CUSD 11, Meredosia; and Virginia CUSD 64.

One other noteworthy election question was settled in Elmhurst CUSD 205, where voters gave overwhelming approval to a plan “to use for classroom and instructional purposes the building known as the District 205 Center.”

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Conference draws 76% of all districts to voluntary training

More than 76 percent of the state’s 866 school districts attended the 2010 Joint Annual Conference, Nov. 19-21, in Chicago. This was the 78th meeting of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

This year’s event drew 3,501 guests, 2,831 school board members, 1,770 exhibitors, 723 administrators, 518 superintendents, 149 board secretaries, 26 regional superintendents and 24 university professors, as well as service associates, school attorneys, state board officials, special ed administrators, and others.

The Joint Annual Conference remains extremely popular, experts say, despite the economic hardships facing school districts and individuals, because of the abundant learning opportunities it provides for board members and administrators.

This year’s attendance figures, which will rise after final tallies are known, showed a 14 percent drop in district representation. About 100 fewer districts attended, a fact that conference officials attributed to local district finances, state funding uncertainties and delays, and a reduction in some professional development budgets.

The event was headquartered at Hyatt Regency Chicago, Nov. 19-21.

Information and insights on a wide range of issues in school governance and public education were found at 286 exhibits, 115 panel sessions, 28 Carousel panels, nine pre-conference workshops, three general sessions, a bookstore, delegate assembly, and other various learning and networking opportunities.

This year’s panel sessions drew 7,258 people or an average of 63 persons per panel in the five panel time slots over three days. Attendance reached standing-room-only capacity at eight sessions.

More information about this year’s conference can be found at:

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Illinois GOP on losing side in vote on U.S. child nutrition bill

All six Illinois Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act on December 2, but the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, as the bill is now known, passed easily on a vote of 264-157, with 13 not voting.

The bill had been opposed by the National School Boards Association and its state affiliate associations, including the Illinois Association of School Boards.

“We opposed the bill because it’s just another in a long list of unfunded mandates on local school districts,” said Ben Schwarm, IASB associate executive director for governmental relations.

While saying that it will provide an additional $4.5 million over the next 10 years for child nutrition programs, the 6-cent increase to the reimbursement that schools get for free meals is not thought to be enough to cover the actual cost of the meals. In addition, the USDA is now authorized to set additional nutrition guidelines for foods sold in vending machines and other school venues. The bill also will require new training for school food service workers.

“Despite the good intentions to improve child nutrition, it is disappointing that the U.S. House of Representatives would pass such an important bill without providing adequate funding for local school districts to comply with the new requirements,” said Anne Bryant, NSBA executive director.

Illinois GOP House members voting “no” were Judy Biggert (Hinsdale), Timothy Johnson (Sidney), Donald Manzullo (Egan), Peter Roskam (Wheaton), Aaron Schock (Peoria) and John Shimkus (Collinsville). Mark Kirk’s seat (D-10) is listed as vacant following his win in November and his swearing in for the partial term in the U.S. Senate.

The bill, which passed in the Senate in August, now goes to President Obama for his signature.

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Teacher CPDU credits offered for Conference

C ertified Illinois teachers who were either registered conference attendees (board members) or registered guests of attendees are able to receive Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDU) for their participation in the 2010 Joint Annual Conference.

This year, 157 teachers took advantage of the offer. That is 30 percent more than 2008, the first year that the conference provided CPDU documentation for attendance.

Completed Evaluation forms (ISBE form 77-21A) may still be returned to qualify for credit. Mail the completed forms to IASB, Attn: Bobbie Sturm, One Imperial Place, 1 East 22nd St, Suite 20, Lombard, IL 60148.

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‘Awkward’ school board election to result from key law changes

The school board election to be held on Apr. 5, 2011 is an awkward one for school election officials compared to most such elections in past years.

A bill signed last July altered filing deadlines and changed important dates for the election of board members.

Key deadlines pertaining to that election include the following:

• Dec. 20, 2010 – Last day for candidates to file their nominating papers with the school board secretary. On this day, offices must be kept open until 5 p.m. for the board secretary to receive board candidate nominating papers.

• Dec. 22, 2010 – Last day for board secretary to provide written notice of simultaneous filing lottery if such a lottery is to be held.

• Dec. 28, 2010 – Last day to file objections to nomination papers or petitions for the consolidated election of Apr. 5, 2011. Note that any legal voter of the school district may object to any nomination papers or petitions for public questions filed in the district by filing an original and one copy of the objector’s petition with the board secretary.

• Dec. 28, 2010 – Last day for candidates who have filed for two seats (full or partial terms) to file Withdrawal of Candidacy forms.

• Dec. 29, 2010 – Last day lottery shall be conducted when two or more nominating petitions are received simultaneously.

• Jan. 18, 2011 – Last day for the board to adopt a resolution placing a public policy question on the ballot for the April 5 election.

• Jan. 27, 2011 – Last day for the school board secretary to certify candidates to the election authority (county clerk or election commission) for April 5 school board election.

• Jan. 27, 2011 – Also the last day for school board candidates to file notarized papers withdrawing their nomination.

For more information about election deadlines, download a more complete list, including legal citations to pertinent Illinois laws, at:

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IASB delegates agree to resolution seeking state funding stability
Reject related plan to hold up tax payments

The Illinois Association of School Boards wants the General Assembly to determine the amount of available funding for educational entitlements and general state aid to schools by March 31 each year rather than late May.

The vote favoring greater state funding certainty took place on the floor of the Delegate Assembly on Saturday, Nov. 20. The proposal was one of six resolutions considered by more than 315 Illinois school districts at the annual assembly during the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Sponsors of the proposal said local school leaders have been forced to make decisions on district budgets without any reliable guidance on the level of state funding. Consolidated SD 158, Huntley, sponsored the resolution, which passed unanimously and without debate.

The resolution will become part of the IASB’s Position Statements, which are used by school lobbyists of the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance in setting the Association’s legislative agenda.

Delegates narrowly rejected another budget-related resolution that called for legislation to allow school districts to “set-off” income tax payments due to the state against amounts owed by the state to school districts.

The resolution, submitted by Indian Prairie CUSD 204, Naperville, was intended to send a message that schools are damaged and growing impatient with delayed payments.

“We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch the erosion of revenue for our students,” as the state has consistently delayed payments to school districts as a means of financing its own budget shortfalls, said James Toynton, a board member from Aurora West USD 129.

As of May 2010, the state was behind $1.4 billion in payments to school districts. This practice, sponsors said, negatively impacts the financial operation of schools. In addition, many districts are forced to incur substantial borrowing costs to make up the funding shortfall.

Curt Bradshaw, board president of sponsoring District 204, argued that “there really is no downside to this,” because it would force lawmakers to appreciate and respond to the education funding problems the legislature has caused.

But the measure also drew opposition.

Barbara Intihar, board secretary of Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200, said “the [income tax withholding money] we are dealing with is not our money; it is our employees’ money.” These payments must be made or “there could be all kinds of nasty things that could happen to our employees” as a result, she added.

Other delegates feared that less state income tax revenue would mean less funding available for schools.

The proposal failed by voted of 156-169.

The delegates voted on four other proposals, all of which passed. They included resolutions seeking to maintain local school district control over student academic placement; to end unfair allotment practices regarding general state aid for certain multi-county districts; to modify the law governing state oversight panels to preserve the bonding authority of school boards affected by such panels; as well as a proposal seeking modifications to recent changes to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The issue of maintaining board control over student placement was submitted by Millstadt CCSD 160 and was passed by an overwhelming margin on a consent calendar and without debate.

The issue of rectifying unfair general state aid (GSA) allotments for certain multi-county school districts was submitted by Consolidated SD 158, Huntley, and was passed overwhelmingly on a show of hands.

That resolution covers multi-county districts operating under limits of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), popularly known as tax caps, if such districts have lost GSA. The district rationale behind the proposal noted that adversely affected districts are losing 10 to 25 percent of their GSA annually due to the rollover indexing calculation in the GSA formula.

To facilitate school district compliance with the new FOIA law and at the same time remove unnecessary burdens, several specific changes were sought through another resolution to:

  • Increase allowable FOIA response time from five to 10 business days
  • Exclude official school breaks in counting days for required response time
  • Allow denials for commercial purposes
  • Allow denials for any request that is unduly burdensome

“What this does is improve the process,” said Michael Fuechtmann, a school board member from sponsoring district Keeneyville SD 20, Hanover Park.

Delegates also voted to amend a current IASB position on law governing state oversight panels. The delegates voted to preserve the bonding authority of school boards impacted by such panels.

In addition, delegates re-elected President Joseph Alesandrini of Pekin CHSD 303 and Vice President Carolyne Brooks of West Richland CUSD 2, Noble.

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Board member Dupont wins board presidency award

Paula Dupont, president of CCSD 180 in Burr Ridge, is the winner of the 2010 Thomas Lay Burroughs Award.

Presented by Jesse Ruiz, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, Dupont was one of 10 finalists for the award that has honored the state’s top board president since 1991.

“This is always a tough choice,” Ruiz said. “But this district and this school board president displayed laser-sharp focus in passing a referendum in 2009 to equalize opportunities for students, regardless of where they live.”

Dupont acknowledged that the experience – successful after an initial ballot rejection – was both a “professional and personal journey for us,” referring to the school board and everyone who worked “to embrace change” in the school district.

The grade school district, with an enrollment of 700 students, has an 84 percent minority population, and 73 percent of the students qualify as low-income. But the district located in southeast DuPage County also has a section of million dollar homes.

District voters approved a tax increase in the limiting rate under property tax caps in April 2009. A similar effort failed in 2008.

She was nominated for the award by her superintendent, Thomas Schneider. He noted in his letter to ISBE that “under less courageous leadership, this openly diverse community would have failed. She refused to let that happen.”

Dupont, who with her husband Mike has two daughters, said her greatest joy was seeing the success of Burr Ridge students in high school. Last year, Burr Ridge Middle School graduates recorded an average 3.39 GPA as freshmen.

The award was presented Nov. 21, 2010, at the 78th Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

The Burroughs Award for extraordinary leadership is named for the late chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education who also served as president of the Collinsville CUSD 10 board.

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Board secretary McElligott wins 2010 Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award

A 32-year board secretary from Marquardt SD 15 in Glendale Heights was named as the 2010 recipient of the Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award during the opening ceremonies for board secretary’s professional development program at the IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference.

Mary Ellen McElligott credited the IASB administrative assistant for whom the award was named for getting her involved in professional development.

“We’re facing tough economic times,” McElligott said as she accepted her award, “but it can’t hurt to educate ourselves for our bosses and our future.”

Judges selected McElligott from among 22 board secretaries nominated. Selection criteria are performance, initiative, innovation, staff development, self-improvement, passion for public education and dedication.

This was the second year that a board secretary has been recognized with the award; the 2009 recipient was Janet Miller of Mt. Vernon SD 80.

Among her accomplishments, McElligott has organized a network of seven elementary districts so that their secretaries meet four times a year and also share information and ideas through a listserv, has presented panel sessions for both IASB and the National School Boards Association, and encouraged her district to go to paperless board meetings in 2003, well ahead of many districts.

She was also the recipient of an Illinois State Board of Education “Those Who Excel” award in 1992.

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Architects, schools honored as ‘EEE’ winners for advanced building designs

Wight and Company of Darien won the top Award of Distinction in the 2010 Invitational Exhibition of Educational Environments (EEE). The company won two awards of merit in last year’s competition before stepping up to grab the top award this time around.

The juried design award was granted for work on the Ann Reid Childhood Center in Naperville CUSD 203.

Representatives from the firm and the district accepted awards during the first general session on Nov. 19, at the 2010 Joint Annual Conference.

A total of 18 projects were chosen in the 2010 competition and were on display in the Riverside Center Exhibit Hall at the conference. Projects are evaluated in September by a jury of architects and school leaders in a process where neither the school district nor the architects are identified on the project materials.

Other award winners for 2010 were:

Award of Merit - Legat Architects, Inc. for Hubble Middle School in Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200; DLA Architects, Ltd. for Ridgewood High School Gymnasium Addition in Ridgewood CHSD 234.

Honorable Mention - Farnsworth Group & Fanning Howey Associates, Inc., for Glen Oak Birth-8th Community Learning Center in Peoria SD 150; Healy, Bender & Associates, Inc., for Parkside School in Peru ESD 124; Wight & Company, for Riverside Brookfield High School Additions/Renovations in Riverside Brookfield THSD 208; and FGM Architects, Inc., for Sycamore North Grove Elementary School in Sycamore CUSD 427.

A School Design Data File of award winners is easily searchable to identify school designs that meet specified criteria.

For more information about the School Design Data File, call IASB at ext. 1105, or email

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Service Associates announce bingo winners

Winners of $75 Visa gift cards in a conference Bingo Game, sponsored by IASB Service Associates, have been selected. Names were drawn on Saturday, Nov. 20, in the exhibit hall from the 125 cards submitted by Bingo players.

Bingo cards were included in the 2010 conference program; players had to have each of the 17 sponsor squares initialed by the participating exhibitor before turning the card in.

A $75 gift card is being mailed the week of November 29 to each of the following winners:

• Chris Deddlebock, Alton

• Teresa Rodwell, Rock Island

• Laurie Martin, Canton

• Tina Winkeler, Bartelso

• Heather Steele, Decatur

• Catherine Hewlett, Richmond

• Kim Klein, Oakley

• Wilson Morales, Oswego

• Joanna Lane, Eldorado

• Tanya Walker, Bradford

• Bill Alexander, New Berlin

• General Parker, Peoria

• Gary Maxey, Freeport

• Linda Cusack, Burbank

• Sarah Nedved, Coal Valley

• Liz Campbell, Bolingbrook

• Mary Dempster, Peoria

• Wendell Marshall, Lovejoy

• Cheryl Friedrick, Green Valley

The IASB Service Associates are businesses that offer school-related products and services who have earned favorable reputations for quality and integrity and who have been invited to become members by the IASB board of directors.

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Gillum named Superintendent of Year, advises peers to do what’s best for kids

It’s a great day to be a Titan!” exclaimed Robert Gillum, superintendent of Ball-Chatham CUSD 5. His enthusiastic comment concluded his remarks after winning the Illinois Superintendent of the Year Award.

The award was announced Sunday, Nov. 21, during the third general session of the Joint Annual Conference.

Gillum, who has led the unit district south of Springfield for the past four years, will now represent Illinois in the National Superintendent of the Year competition.

Greeted by a standing ovation, Gillum quickly acknowledged that many people contributed to his success. “I share this award with the entire Ball-Chatham community,” he said. Gillum, who has held leadership positions in IASA, AASA, LUDA, and other education organizations, also credited Chicago public schools for his own progress.

He suggested that school leaders “quit worrying about test scores and do what’s best for children. We want to do things right, but we must do the right things. When we do that, the scores will take care of themselves.”

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Joint Conference panel handouts now available online via Association’s Members-Only website

Handouts from more than 87 panels presented at this year’s Joint Annual Conference are now available at the IASB Members-Only website at

Panels with online links to their materials are listed by the panel title and hotel/room name. The panels appear in chronological order of the conference; by day and time slot presented. The only exceptions were the board secretaries’ panels. Available materials are listed at the end of the other panels. Panels are only listed if materials have been submitted, but additional panels and their online materials will be posted as they are received.

Access to the Members-Only website to obtain the handouts is limited to board members, superintendents and secretaries who have a member ID number that is contained within the IASB database of member districts. Access is free; however, users must set up an account with their member ID number. The number appears on mailing labels of all materials sent out by IASB, and it begins with a “2.” For information on how to access the site, visit

The 79th Joint Annual Conference will be held Nov. 18-20, 2011, in Chicago. Districts that want to present a panel can download a Request for Proposals from the IASB website at:

Information for exhibitors will be posted in early 2011. Housing and registration packets will be mailed to districts in early June 2011.

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Conference photos offered for view and purchase online

A gallery of photos from the entire conference will be available at a secure third party site, photo/. Viewing is free and photos are available for purchase. User name (iasb2010) and password (chicago) are required for access.

Those who wish can order their own prints. They are available in any size, from wallets to 11 by 14 inches. Photos can be ordered in any quantity or size, and all major credit cards can be used for payment. Typical delivery time is one to two weeks.

Questions can be directed to Robert Levy Photography, 773/625-1741, or by emailing Questions about photo orders can be emailed to

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Online Learning Center announces four winners

There were four names drawn in a raffle for the LeaderShop Online Learning Center held in the IASB Information Room during the Conference. The winners chosen were:

• Susan Stibal, West Chicago SD 33

• Craig Macklin, Okaw Valley CUSD 302, Bethany

• Mary Ann Spicer, Cahokia USD 187

• Sherry Hughes, Bradford CUSD 1

These board members will receive free registration for one Online Learning Center course and may choose from the following: School District Labor Relations: What Illinois Law Requires; Superintendent Evaluation; Media Relations; and the newest online course: Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure.

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State adopts ethics code of basic expectations for educators

The Illinois State Board of Education recently adopted a “Code of Ethics” for all Illinois educators, included in state regulations under Chapter 23, section 22.20, available online at .

No school board policy or administrative procedure is required or recommended, but the code, which applies mainly to teachers and other certificated educators, may be of note to superintendents and other school leaders who wish to ensure that their district’s professional educators comply with ethical guidelines. The new ethics code, in regard to responsibility to students, states:

The Illinois educator is committed to creating, promoting, and implementing a learning environment that is accessible to each student, enables students to achieve the highest academic potential, and maximizes their ability to succeed in academic and employment settings as a responsible member of society. Illinois educators:

1) Embody the Standards for the School Service Personnel Certificate (23 Ill. Adm. Code 23), the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (23 Ill. Adm. Code 24), and Standards for Administrative Certification (23 Ill. Adm. Code 29), as applicable to the educator, in the learning environment;

2) Respect the inherent dignity and worth of each student by assuring that the learning environment is characterized by respect and equal opportunity for each student, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, language or socio-economic status;

3) Maintain a professional relationship with students at all times;

4) Provide a curriculum based on high expectations for each student that addresses individual differences through the design, implementation, and adaptation of effective instruction; and

5) Foster in each student the development of attributes that will enhance skills and knowledge necessary to be a contributing member of society.

The code of ethics also discusses the educator’s responsibility to parents, families and communities.

IASB includes a sample policy and procedure in its PRESS service that addresses school staff ethics and conduct. Sample policy 5:120, Ethics and Conduct, articulates the board’s expectation that employees are “to maintain high standards in their school relationships, to demonstrate integrity and honesty, to be considerate and cooperative, and to maintain professional and appropriate relationships with students, parents, staff members, and others.”

The policy goes on to warn that “any employee who sexually harasses a student or otherwise violates an employee conduct standard will be subject to discipline up to and including dismissal.” While the policy is over ten years old, it has been frequently updated to be responsive to changing times, most recently in October 2010.

The employee conduct standards published in PRESS are detailed in administrative procedure 5:120-AP2, Administrative Procedure - Employee Conduct Standards. It states that professional and ethical behavior is expected of all district staff members.

The Conduct Standards serve as a notice of expected conduct and are intended to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of students and employees, ensure the community a degree of accountability within the school district, and define misconduct justifying disciplinary action.

PRESS is a policy and procedure information and update service available from IASB. For more information or to subscribe, contact or or call 217/528-9688, ext. 1119 or 630/629-3776, ext. 1232.

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Boards urged to ‘share the success’ with ideas for 2011 Conference

The Illinois Association of School Boards is seeking proposals on Feb. 18 for “Share the Success” panel sessions at the 2011 Joint Annual Conference. An electronic RFP form is available to make it easier and faster to comply by submitting them online.

School districts and other organizations are invited to submit specific proposals for these 90-minute panel presentations — presented by the board members, administrators and other school or community members involved in the particular programs showcased — based on actual school system experiences.

Presenters give insight and practical information on how to solve common problems. They share discoveries and innovations from programs succeeding in their districts. They also provide tips on how boards can achieve such successes.

IASB seeks panel suggestions, to be submitted by filling out forms either online or by mail, in any of eight categories.

The 2011 Joint Annual Conference is set for Nov. 18-20 in Chicago.   Proposals for Share the Success panel sessions must be received in the IASB Springfield office no later than Feb. 18.

To obtain details, including selection criteria, and the forms necessary (a new electronic RFP form is available), visit: .

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Board members react to surprise recognition on Board Members’ Day

As part of a statewide recognition of School Board Members’ Day, parents joined with Carpentersville District 300 administrative staff on Nov. 8 to surprise the board with words and tokens of appreciation. Parent Bob Schwab, who chairs the D300 Community Finance Committee, noted that it was a historic occasion. D300 has not previously made a point to publicly thank its entire school board.

“The recognition is long overdue,” Schwab said. “After all, the time you spend in regular board meetings represents just a fraction of the actual hours that you devote to leading our district.”

In addition to attending regular and special board meetings, District 300 board members each serve on two to three board committees, where a lot of research and study takes place. Their work also requires a lot of contact with parents and community members, attendance in professional development opportunities, showing support at various school events and functions, and other activities.

Making difficult decisions that directly affect thousands of lives, officials said these decisions support educational opportunities and increase accountability in the schools.

“Not to mention, you can’t even go to church or the grocery store without being asked about our school district,” Schwab said. “And you do all of this without compensation while juggling families, jobs and other commitments.”

Superintendent Ken Arndt kicked off the surprise by asking the somewhat stunned board members to leave their seats and stand near the middle of the boardroom, just as students do when they are being publicly honored by the board. Later they got the full “recognition treatment” by lining up for handshakes and certificates presented by parents and administrators.

“Very few persons understand the challenges that school board members face,” Arndt said. “You are an elected official. You are paid absolutely nothing, and you get nothing but grief. But you do it from the goodness of your heart and to try to make our community better.”

Leslie Russo, a mother who volunteers on the board’s education committee, shared her observations of the time, energy, and heart board members give to making the best use of the district’s shrinking resources.

“We recognize that the sacrifices you make aren’t solely yours, but also your families,” she said. “We recognize that none of you make these decisions lightly. You don’t come in for a meeting, vote, then go home and forget about it.”

School Board Members’ Day in Illinois was initiated by legislative resolution HR162 (95th General Assembly) in 2007, designating Nov. 15 of every year. Interest and support for the program has grown in the succeeding years, as witnessed by the number of districts downloading supporting materials from IASB’s website at

This year, there were 13 different documents available for School Board Members’ Day activities. These included tip sheets, certificates, sample proclamations, marquee slogans, editorials and letters, new release, and other materials.

Member districts downloaded 876 documents in September, 865 in October and 1,191 in November.

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IASB to mail summary of recently adopted New School Laws

IASB will mail in January a summary of newly adopted laws and changes to existing laws that are relevant to public school districts.

New School Laws summarizes bills adopted during the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. Compiled by the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance, it will be mailed to superintendents, business officials and principals, as well as to each school board’s legislative liaison and president.

Laws are indexed by bill number, Public Act Number and title. Laws are also separated by subjects, such as Boards of Education, Personnel, Regional Office of Education, School Finance, School Safety and Health, State Board of Education, Students, and Taxation.

This list of laws is not exhaustive or detailed, nor is the publication intended as a substitute for the Illinois Compiled Statutes or legal counsel. The synopsis of each act is brief and may or may not encompass the full content or impact of the act. However, the synopsis is designed to call attention to statutory changes and additions that may merit further research.

Also included in the upcoming publication, where applicable, will be the IASB Policy Service (PRESS) information regarding new legislation. If a new law requires action by the school board, the corresponding PRESS Policy number will follow the public act information.

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Board members to lobby Congress on funding, NCLB at FRN event

S chool leaders will have the opportunity to join school board members from across the country at the National School Boards Association’s annual Federal Relations Network (FRN) Conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 6-8, 2011. During the legislative conference attendees will learn in-depth federal issues affecting schools, hear from education experts and political pundits, and lobby their members of Congress.

The two big issues lobbying efforts will focus on will be funding under the Fiscal Year 2012 budget and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). School districts appreciated and utilized federal funding from the stimulus and the Education Jobs Fund, but many districts and states will at some point have to face the funding cliff.

The federal fiscal year is October 1 to September 30, and they still have not passed a budget for this fiscal year. The president has made it clear that any additional dollars he asks for in his education budget over last fiscal year’s numbers are for competitive grants. Both the House and Senate in their work on the budget increased the amount the President proposed for both Title I and IDEA and decreased the amounts for competitive grants.

Ever since President Obama has been in office, hopes have been high that Congress would finally reauthorize ESEA and in that process make much needed changes. Even before President Obama came into office, those that were originally behind NCLB were recognizing that there are some serious issues with the law. Now that the Democrats have lost control of the House, education lobbyists are hopeful that change will not slow the process.

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School finance essentials topic of updated ‘guide to techniques, issues and resources’

The Illinois Association of School Boards has published an updated Fifth Edition of its top-selling book Essentials of Illinois School Finance.

Sub-titled “A Guide to Techniques, Issues and Resources,” the book was originally designed as a training manual and desk-top reference for school business managers and budget makers. While it still serves that role, the book also provides an effective reference for anyone who needs to understand “the essentials of Illinois school finance.”

From the peculiarities of Illinois property taxes and state funding to the formulas for projecting enrollments and staffing budgets, this book covers just about everything—and does it in plain English. Other features include a chapter on the role of school board policy in maintaining fiscal health (which is also addressed in the Foreword) and a detailed alphabetical index.

The author, James B. Fritts, is a retired public school business official who also has taught school finance to administrators and aspiring administrators at Northeastern Illinois University and Loyola University of Chicago.

In addition to his own experiences and those of numerous students and colleagues, Fritts calls on a wide array of sources with expertise in state funding, property tax administration, and virtually all aspects of school business management.

The Fifth Edition is completely updated with revised laws through July 2010 and state funding data for fiscal year 2011. Author Fritts also makes a valiant effort to help school budget managers deal with the nightmarish impact of the state’s recent economic downturn and its impact on virtually all sources of school district income.

The first part of the book deals with revenue—where schools get it, how they maximize it, protect it, manage it and plan for it. The second half of the book addresses expenditures—how schools budget for them, reduce them, and make plans to deal with them. Together, the two sections provide a solid base for financial management and long-range planning.

Beginning with how Illinois funds its schools and the school district organization, Part One reviews the budget as a legal document and revenue plan, fund accounting, the property tax cycle and assessment process, the rules and impact of ‘tax caps’, corporate personal property replacement tax revenue, how the general state aid formula works, and categorical grants for special programs.

It continues with federal appropriations and matching grants, uses of local revenue sources, techniques for revenue projection, short- and long-term borrowing options, maintaining revenue controls, and successful referendum planning.

Part One concludes with an analysis of the school funding debate over equity and adequacy.

Part Two reviews how school expenditures are managed and monitored. The process begins by looking at the structure and techniques of budgeting expenses, the ‘seasons’ in the budget calendar, projecting student enrollments and staffing needs for elementary and secondary schools, and containing non-instructional and capital costs

It continues with multi-year budgeting projections, cost control practices, interpreting financial reports, and the forces that are changing the budgeting process.

A special chapter at the end examines the many standards for school finance and business management that need to be established by action of the local governing board. Topics examined include maintaining reserves through fund balance policies, as well as standards for financial reporting, budget development, bidding and purchasing, internal checks and balances, student activity funds, audits, bonding of the treasurer, the selection of banking services, and protecting physical facilities.

Essentials of Illinois School Finance is available from IASB Publications, 2921 Baker Drive, Springfield, IL 62703. Telephone 217/528-9688, extension 1108; fax 217/528-2831. Price is $35 ($25 for IASB members) plus $5 per order for shipping.

The book also may be purchased online at:

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Cary (Nov. 16, Northwest Herald) A local district and one of its schools did not entirely meet No Child Left Behind standards this year because of the test scores of its students with disabilities. Making adequate yearly progress required 77.5 percent of students meeting or exceeding state proficiency standards on tests. Although the school and district passed overall, their subgroup of students with disabilities did not. A curriculum director said it is important to take all data with a grain of salt because the proficiency standards vary from year to year and from state to state. As for the future, in 2011, 85 percent of students will have to meet or exceed state standards, and by 2014, 100 percent of students will have to meet or exceed state standards.

Chicago (Nov. 1, Sun-Times) Daily, yoga-like “Calm Classroom” exercises have begun at Gompers School. Inhaling deeply, exhaling slowly, and stretching, students attempt for a moment to be oblivious of their surroundings. “Calming” exercises are just one innovation leaders at Gompers say took root last school year, and helped reduce fourth-grade suspensions that had been one of the Chicago public school’s most troublesome concerns. Principal Melody Seaton believes the behavioral changes such exercises helped instill are one reason Gomper’s elementary-level test scores soared last school year.

Chicago (Nov. 3, Chicago Tribune) Ron Huberman, the Chicago District 299 chief executive officer who joined the district in 2009, was expected to step down on Nov. 29, well before Mayor Richard Daley — who appointed him — ends his final term. While Huberman’s departure was anticipated, the announcement that he would leave before the end of the school semester left some educators unclear of the district’s direction.

Cuba (Nov. 07, The Journal Star, Peoria) The Cuba Middle and High School located eight miles west of Canton in Fulton County was the focus of a 30-minute PBS documentary, “The Grass is Always Greener” on Nov. 11. The district was chosen because of its energy sustainability design, operations and academic programs. The program not only identified the many benefits of the “green” school but credited the insight and effort that went into the project. After a school board member raised the issue, the community went to work - obtaining $6 million through federal grants and raising $2.6 million through a referendum.

Quincy (Nov. 1, Quincy Herald-Whig) Data in the 2010 Illinois School Report Cards released on Oct. 29 by the Illinois State Board of Education show the graduation rate for black students at Quincy High School rose to 86 percent in 2010. That is up from 75 percent in 2009. Principal Danielle Edgar said the school has been making a concerted effort over the years to improve the graduation rate for all students. After reaching a low of 74.4 percent in 2001, the school’s overall graduation rate has steadily climbed to a high of 91 percent in 2009. The rate came in at 90.1 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, Edgar said, “our building as a whole has made some attempts to be more proactive in identifying all kids who are in need of some type of intervention.”

Rockford (Nov. 3, RockfordRegister Star) Rockford middle school science teacher Chris Magee spent about $1,200 of her own funds on classroom supplies last year. That does not include odds and ends she regularly buys that aren’t specifically for experiments or labs. When she was new to teaching, Magee says she spent even more on one-time purchases, like bookshelves, classroom library books, videos and storage containers. The story is the same in classrooms across the country. Teachers typically spent almost $400 on school supplies and $540 on instructional materials for the 2009-2010 school year, according to a survey conducted this year by the National School Supply and Equipment Association.

South Beloit (Nov. 4, RockfordRegister Star) Twenty-three sixth- and seventh-grade students at Willowbrook Middle School will have written their own novel by the end of November. The effort was completely voluntary; they were not writing for extra credit or a grade, nor did they work on them during class time. The writers group was led by substitute teacher Dani Zoeller, using the guidelines of National Novel Writing Month, an online writers forum. The kids meet with Zoeller three times a week after school for an hour to write, brainstorm and collaborate. The writing goals range from 3,000 to 50,000 words.

Springfield (Oct. 27, Illinois Times) General state aid, mandated programs and pre-kindergarten funding have been and should remain top education priorities for the state as it muddles through yet another budget process with record-breaking deficit projections, educators told the Illinois State Board of Education at a public hearing held in Springfield. Primary and secondary education have taken funding hits over the past two years. Yet general state aid remained steady for the current fiscal year, FY 2011.

Statewide (Oct. 27, Chicago Tribune) More than half of the state’s public schools fell short of ever-rising   testing targets under the federal No Child Left Behind law. For the first time, many of the state’s academic powerhouses were among the schools that did not meet test targets this year, raising serious questions about the standard by which schools are judged.

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Food allergy policies
Every school board is required to implement a policy based on the Guidelines for Managing Life-Threatening Food Allergies by Jan. 1, 2011. Also, at least every two years, an in-service training program for school personnel who work with students must be conducted by persons with expertise in anaphylactic reactions and management. Access guidelines and instructions at

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Koch leads CCSSO
State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch has been named president of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This will be in addition to his duties as State Superintendent but the term is only for one year. The Council, made up of public K-12 education officials from around the country, works with federal and state agencies as well as Congress on national education policy development and decisions. Koch was elected CCSSO president in late November at the national organization’s annual fall meeting. Visit

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Breakfast numbers up
Participation in school breakfast programs has increased by more than 25 percent since 2006, and more than 15 percent alone last school year. Studies have shown that students who participate in the national School Breakfast Program have lower rates of absence and tardiness which can increase the General Revenue dollars received by the local district. The program has shown that students offered breakfast closer to class and test-taking time perform better on standardized tests.    For more information, visit

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IASB membership count now at 851
The latest Association membership report saw Galatia CUSD 1 join IASB in November. Galatia is located in Saline County and is part of the Association’s Shawnee division.

Nonrenewal of membership were filed by EdwardsvilleCUSD 7 and St. Libory CCSD 30 (Southwestern division), East Prairie SD 73, Skokie (North Cook division), and Western Springs SD 101 (West Cook division).

The changes bring the count of member school districts to 851, or 98.3 percent, of the state’s 866 districts.

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Leadership conference becomes biennial event
IASB has announced that it is changing its annual Leadership Conference to a biennial event.

The conference, which has been held every February for a number of years, was designed as a professional development opportunity for IASB division officers and board members.

The event will not be held in 2011 but will become a regular conference on a two-year rotation, beginning in 2012.

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Help keep membership information up to date
Has your local school board recently experienced board turnover, or has a school board member changed address? IASB is appealing to member school districts to update Association membership records in order to ensure that new members or addresses will be added to the database. To update the records for your district, send current information to the Records Manager at IASB. For further information, call IASB’s Janice Kidd at ext. 1142.

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January 4 – Kaskaskia Division Winter Governing Committee Meeting, Cunetto’s Rest., Greenville

January 4 – Shawnee Division Winter Governing Meeting, Bennie’s Italian Foods, Marion

January 19 – Professional Advancement - Seeking the Superintendency, IASB Springfield

January 27 – Data First for School Governance Workshop, Morton CUSD 709 District Office

February 5 – South Cook Legislative Breakfast, Old Quarry Middle School, 16100 127th St., Lemont

For more current information, see

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Illinois Association of School Boards

This newsletter is published monthly by the Illinois Association of School Boards for member boards of education and their superintendents. The Illinois Association of School Boards, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, is a voluntary association of local boards of education and is not affiliated with any branch of government.

James Russell, Director of Publications
Gary Adkins, Editor

2921 Baker Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62703-5929

One Imperial Place
1 East 22nd Street, Suite 20
Lombard, Illinois 60148-6120

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