Lighting the way...

My Account




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 funding system.

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 Association.

The Chicago Sun-Times wins a Robert M. Cole Award for outstanding school board coverage.

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 water damage.

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 Joseph Spagnolo.

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, Fairfield.

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 service extensions.

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 years.

Grassroots school supporters in McHenry County create McVotes, a legislative service organization similar to the highly successful Legislative Education Network of DuPage (LEND).

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 state superintendent.

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 IASB.

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 program—the largest in state history—includes $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 purposes.

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.

Return to Historical Summary Menu


School Finance Book
Click on Banner for More Information

Although the IASB website strives to provide accurate and authoritative information, the Illinois Association of School Boards does not guarantee or warrantee the accuracy or quality of information contained herein.

Copyright 1999-2018 by the Illinois Association of School Boards. All rights reserved.
IASB Privacy Policy Statement