Historical Summary 1990-1999
1990 President: Nancy Elson, Canton
An automated telephone answering system is installed in the IASB Springfield office.
Board of Directors launches a study of the IASB Springfield office space needs.
IASB publishes "Playing Fair With the Children of Illinois" and launches a
campaign to educate school boards and citizens on the issues of financial adequacy, equity
and local effort . . . sponsors Illinois' participation in the National Student/Parent
Mock Election . . . publishes the first edition of Illinois School Law Survey . . . holds
its first workshop for newly-elected board members in city school districts . . . joins
with the National School Boards Association to conduct a workshop for 2,000 members of
local school councils under contract with the Chicago Board of Education . . . issues its
first combined Yearbook and Guide to Services and Staff.
The names of 306 school board members earning school board leadership and development
awards are published in the Journal.
General Assembly creates a task force on school finance.
A coalition of property-poor school districts sues the state for a more equitable
The first IASB Distinguished Service Award is presented to the Chicago Tribune to
recognize that newspaper's sponsorship of the annual all-state high school academic team.
1991 President: Nancy Elson, Canton
An accountability law is enacted, shifting the State Board of Education's regulatory
process to a focus on performance and intervention in educationally deficient schools.
The legislature runs 19 days past its June 30 deadline before adopting a budget. Final
legislation severely limits annual growth in the property tax levies of suburban Chicago
school districts and delays a portion of general state aid until next year.
The school's share of the income tax surcharge is made permanent.
IASB Board of Directors adopts criteria for evaluating school finance reform proposals
as developed by its Finance Initiatives Committee . . . receives space needs study
indicating that the Springfield headquarters office is inadequate for the staff and
programs housed there . . .approves new staff position to develop a resource center and
information services program.
IASB conducts its first televised workshop--an inter-active program aimed at school
board candidates--in cooperation with TI-IN at Western Illinois University.
IASB conducts a workshop for Chicago principals.
One hundred business firms and other employers receive IASB commendations for their
support of employees serving on local school boards.
Barbara Wheeler is elected central region director of the National School Boards
The Chicago Sun-Times wins a Robert M. Cole Award for outstanding school board
Legislative Interest Network of Kishwaukee (LINK) votes to disband due to loss of
membership and revenue.
1992 President: Robert Reich, Bourbonnais
A proposal to amend the education article of the state constitution, clarifying the
state's responsibility for financing an equitable and adequate system of public schools,
is placed on the ballot at the General Election. IASB Board of Directors expresses support
but instructs staff to assist member boards opposed to the proposition as well as for
those in favor. The amendment is narrowly defeated, garnering 57 percent of the votes cast
on the issue.
IASB heads off a labor movement to make school employees eligible for unemployment
compensation benefits during their summer vacation period.
A new system for evaluating and recognizing schools is implemented by the State Board
of Education, placing the focus on outcome standards.
An IASB survey produces responses from 2,748 school board members. The 133-item
questionnaire provides extensive demographic information as well as insights into the
perceptions of board members regarding their work and the schools.
IASB also surveys district superintendents regarding the uses of computers and other
technology for obtaining information in school administration.
The State Board of Education bestows the first Thomas Lay Burroughs Award on Judy
McConchie, president of the Marshall C.U. District 2C Board of Education.
1993 President: Robert Reich, Bourbonnais
IASB Springfield staff locates in temporary quarters from May until December while the
headquarters building receives badly needed renovation.
River flooding so extensive that it's unlikely to occur more than once every 500 years
thoroughly floods at least two Illinois schools--Hull Elementary in West Pike C.U.
District 110 and the Valmeyer C.U. District 3 school. Many others suffer various types of
Republicans assume control of the Illinois Senate for the first time since 1975. Much
of the harassing teacher union legislation that typically passes does not reach the
governor. Property tax relief/reform remains a major issue.
The long-awaited recommendations of the Task Force on School Finance Reform is filed in
January but causes little stir among elected state officials.
The Association in January formally joins with the Illinois Association of School
Administrators, the Illinois Principals Association and Illinois Association of School
Business Officials to form the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance. The Alliance
launches a joint newsletter by facsimile transmission to keep membership informed of
legislative activity without delay.
Enactment of a "5 + 5" early retirement incentive in January greatly
increases the number of teachers and administrators retiring; 53 school boards turn to
IASB for help in filling their vacant superintendencies, nearly double the number handled
in a typical year.
Corporal punishment in the schools is banned by law.
Numerous school boards debate the legality of prayers at commencement ceremonies,
caught between local religious groups and constitutional law.
IASB introduces a new legally-referenced policy subscription service for school boards,
called PRESS, and 350 initial subscribers sign up.
1994 President: Stanton Morgan, Bismarck
Landmark legislation is adopted to provide broad waiver authority to local school
districts, allowing districts to request waivers of burdensome state mandates contained in
the Illinois School Code and state regulations. IASB leaders attended the bill-signing
ceremony in the Governor's Office.
The Illinois School Board Journal reports in the January-February edition of a
long-suppressed federal study called "The Sandia Report," which concluded that
the U.S. education system is doing a good job of educating and training American youth.
The article reports that "high school dropout rates are stable or declining, SAT
scores have remained constant" and more students are earning college degrees than at
any time in the nation's history.
Robert Leininger steps down as State Superintendent of Education and is replaced by
At the November general election, Republicans assume control of the Illinois House for
the first time in 12 years and control both houses of the Illinois General Assembly for
the first time in decades.
The federal Goals 2000 program is initiated under the so-called Educate America Act. A
state task force is assigned to study the implementation of Goals 2000 in Illinois. Task
force members include Renee Kosel, IASB Director-at-Large, New Lenox; Kathy Reed, IASB
Director-at-Large, Casey; and Gary Carter, legislative chairman, IASB Egyptian Division,
1995 President: Stanton Morgan, Bismarck
Tax caps covering suburban Cook County are pushed through the General Assembly on a
"fast-track" agenda in the wake of a county-wide referendum that shows
overwhelming voter support for imposing limits on property taxes. Lawmakers adopt
legislation to ease the tax cap strain by allowing boards to issue "limited tax
bonds," which enable districts to retain existing property tax extensions. The law
allows districts to issue bonds secured by their own existing tax base and limited debt
IASB adopts a new mission statement, which reads as follows: "The mission of the
Illinois Association of School Boards is excellence in local school governance and support
of public education."
Governor Edgar signs into law a bill to outlaw smoking on school property.
IASB obtains a $25,000 grant from AT&T to support the School Technology Fair and
Tech 2000. Both events feature demonstrations by local districts of school technology, all
designed to obtain support for replication by other school districts around the state.
IASB goes online via Access Illinois, an electronic bulletin board service that also
features information from the State Chamber of Commerce, the Governor and other state
officials. The service provides instant access to information about IASB programs and
services, by modem, to computer users statewide.
Even as school district consolidations have continued to reduce the number of school
districts in Illinois, IASB membership totals climb, with 866 of the 915 public school
districts in Illinois claiming membership. This represents far and away the highest
membership ratio (94.6 percent) in more than a decade.
IASB initiates a drive for school districts to form a consortium to comply with federal
laws and regulations concerning drug and alcohol testing of school bus drivers. The
program proves to be a low-cost way to comply with the federal mandate.
1996 President: Jay Tovian, Villa Park
Governor Edgar unveils a plan to close the gap in per-pupil funding by shifting $1.5
billion in school funding from local property taxes to the state. Although lawmakers
ultimately reject the Governor's proposal, talk of such a sweeping change helps achieve a
school funding boost of $291 million--the largest increase in school funding in many
Grassroots school supporters in McHenry County create McVotes, a legislative service
organization similar to the highly successful Legislative Education Network of DuPage
IASB launches a Homepage on the Internet's World Wide Web, enabling those interested in
school governance and local school board matters to obtain services, publications and
current information from anywhere at any hour.
IASB offers a School Design Data File, a new service providing "state of the
art" school design ideas to interested member districts and school architects.
Plans are announced for a reorganization within IASB to better align the organization's
structure with its mission statement, and to provide additional field service support to
member districts. The Field Services Department, including Policy Services, and part of
the Communication Department are combined under the title Member Services. A new Advocacy
Department is also formed, uniting governmental relations functions with the Association's
media/public relations functions. Staff service functions are consolidated into the new
Administrative Services Department.
Late in the year a bold new proposal for school funding reform is put forward by the
education community. Called "Fair School Funding," the draft proposal is based
upon five guiding principals: raising the foundation level, reducing resource inequities,
causing harm to no district, moving the state toward 51 percent funding for schools, and
providing substantial property tax relief. By year's end, hopes are high that the needed
changes can be secured.
1997 President: Jay Tovian, Villa Park
The State Board of Education adopts comprehensive statewide learning standards that set
state expectations for what students in Illinois public schools must learn in English,
language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, physical development and health, and
the fine arts (plus advisory standards for foreign languages). Standards represent the
first step toward local assessments, according to the State Board, with testing to be
performed by school districts. The state plans to develop a system for assessing student
and school progress toward fulfilling the new standards by 1998-99.
IASB offers access to the full text of the Illinois School Code from the
Association's Web site, along with a user-friendly search engine.
The Illinois School Board Journal publishes a series of seven articles
throughout the year by IASB staff members based on Stephen Covey's best-selling book,
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The articles apply Covey's
organizational and leadership principles to the work of school boards. They note, for
example, that "a board which is always doing that activity which is most important
will rarely feel overwhelmed or off the mark." The Association later announces plans
to offer training to school boards and superintendents in the "seven habits."
The Illinois School Funding Coalition holds a series of well-attended meetings around
the state to gather ideas and help refine a Fair School Funding Proposal put forward by
school management organizations, led by IASB. The effort leads to adoption by the Illinois
House of Representatives of a plan very similar to the fair funding proposal, as revised
by school leaders statewide. Lawmakers fail to adopt this sweeping school funding reform
plan in the spring session because the bill is not called for a vote. Lawmakers later
adopt a $400 million funding boost for schools, anyway, but do not address the
state's over-reliance upon property taxes to fund public schools or provide for a
reliable and stable funding source for public education. The new legislation does,
however, include a $1.4 billion school construction grant program over five years. It also
establishes a reasonable foundation level of per-pupil funding through fiscal year 2001.
Barbara Wheeler, past president of IASB, is voted president-elect of the National
School Boards Association. IASB President Jay Tovian is chosen by Governor Edgar to serve
as a member of the Education Commission of the States.
The IASB Board of Directors approves a new visual image for the Association based on
the theme "Lighting the Way to Excellence in School Governance" and authorizes
the staff to develop a new logo and other design elements.
1998 President: Jay Tovian, Villa Park
State Superintendent of Education Joseph Spagnolo resigns from his post, effective
August 31, and is not replaced until the next year. Robert Mandeville serves as interim
IASB joins with Motorola University to develop a two-day leadership academy for school
board members and make it available on a regular basis.
A total of 180 Illinois school districts apply for the initial year of the state's
new School Construction Program. The applications cover $1.7 billion in total costs for
proposed school construction and renovation projects, with the state's share pegged
at $674 million.
The Illinois General Assembly approves an elementary and secondary education budget
that fully funds the new general state aid program, providing an 18.3 percent increase
from the previous year's funding level.
Working cooperatively with school board associations in four other states, IASB
develops a new book focusing on policy development methods for boosting student
achievement. The book, Targeting Student Learning: The School Board's Role as
Policymaker, is intended to supplement the policy and training services available from
New Illinois State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee is the first to be
appointed to this post directly from the ranks of district superintendents. A 23-year
veteran educator, McGee becomes Illinois' sixth appointed state superintendent on
January 1, 1999.
1999 President: E. Jerald Eiffert, Mt. Zion
George H. Ryan, the former Secretary of State and past Speaker of the Illinois House of
Representatives, is sworn in as the state's 39th Governor. Governor Ryan
had campaigned for office on a pledge to budget at least 51 percent of all new state funds
for elementary and secondary education.
School board elections are moved from November to April of odd-numbered years,
eliminating the non-partisan election date. To avoid shortening the terms of
incumbents, school board members elected in April are not seated until November.
IASB responds with suggestions both for school boards and for unseated members on how to
make good use of the seven-month delay. IASB also holds two series of workshops for
newly-elected (but unseated) board members, one on the principles of school
governance and a second on school law and finance. A new state law authorizes school
boards to reimburse the training costs of unseated members.
The seven-month delay in seating winners will occur again following the April election
in 2001, before a normal schedule can be resumed in 2003.
The first Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) is administered to students
statewide in order to measure the status of student learning in relation to the new
Illinois Learning Standards. The legislature later approves a set of replacement exams for
high school students, abolishing the use of the ISAT at the high school level. The new law
requires Illinois high school students to take the Prairie State Achievement Examination
(PSAE) in the eleventh grade beginning in March 2001. The ISAT remains a requirement for
the lower grades.
IASB joins other education organizations in filing a friend-of-the-court legal brief
ultimately on the prevailing side in a case challenging the legality of a
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district organized to offer tax incentives to
"redevelop" farmland in violation of the spirit of the Illinois TIF law.
Lawmakers later approve, and Governor Ryan signs, a mild reform bill revising the
state's TIF law, including provisions to prevent most farmland from becoming part of
a TIF district, and to outlaw the use of TIF funds for work done on tax-exempt buildings,
such as recreation halls and municipal buildings. The bill closes major loopholes in the
definition of "blighted areas." School districts still lack the authority,
however, to block the designation of a TIF area that would be harmful to local schools.
The legislature adopts Governor Ryan's five-year, $12 billion infrastructure
improvement plan known as "Illinois First." This public works programthe
largest in state historyincludes $1 billion in new state bonding authority for
school construction and repair.
The Illinois Energy Consortium (IEC) is approved by the IASB Board of Directors. School
management organizations organize the consortium to help schools benefit from reduced
electric rates available under electric industry deregulation. CILCO, a central Illinois
power company, is chosen as the program administrator.
The Lake Division of IASB becomes the first division to create its own homepage on the
World Wide Web, aimed at improving communications with its membership.
IASB joins in supporting a lawsuit to challenge the state's new tuition tax credit
law, maintaining that the law violates the state's constitutional requirement for
separation of church and state by allowing public funds to be used for non-public
IASB's membership ratio reaches a zenith, as more than 97 percent of all Illinois
school districts hold membership in their Association. Of the state's 895 school
districts in November 1999, only 26 districts are not members of IASB.
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