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Historical Summary 2000-2009

2000 President: E. Jerald Eiffert, Mt. Zion

IASB Executive Director Wayne Sampson retires on August 31.  As his successor, the Board of Directors selects Michael D. Johnson, superintendent of Evergreen Park High School District 231, following a nationwide search.

The State Board of Education announces its support for a mandatory school breakfast program. The legislature instead approves $1 million worth of incentives for schools to participate voluntarily in the federal breakfast program.

IASB and the Illinois Association of School Administrators cooperate in filing a court brief supporting Decatur District 61 in a widely publicized case involving expulsion of seven students for fighting at a football game. The school board's action is subsequently upheld.

The State Board of Education announces it will require high school students to take the ACT college entrance exam along with the new Prairie State Achievement Exam.

Governor George Ryan appoints a school funding advisory board headed by former State Superintendent Robert Leininger.

State Education leaders launch a $250,000 project to establish an Illinois Virtual High School on the World Wide Web beginning with the 2000-2001 school year.

Responses from district superintendents to a survey from IASB and Western Illinois University indicate that more than 90 percent of districts do not perform drug testing of students.

IASB introduces a CD ROM version of the Illinois School Code, 2000 edition.The CD is packaged with the print version.

IASB staff also develop and produce a training video on the principles of effective governance.  Staff will use the video and a participants manual in a variety of workshop formats.

2001 President: Dennis McConville, Peru

Members of the IASB Board of Directors begin to be assigned to all Illinois State Board of Education committees to provide local board perspective to the state board staff.

IASB announces for the first time the Association has begun to offer links to hundred of school district Web addresses from the Membership Directory on the IASB Web site.

PRESS, the Policy Reference Education Subscription Service is first published online. PRESS is a subscription service providing sample board policies and administrative procedures to approximately 700 member school districts. A beta site for the online policy services is introduced at the annual conference of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

Robert Leininger, former state superintendent of education and chair of the Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB), says spring of 2003 will be the ideal time for school leaders to pressure lawmakers to reform the general state aid formula.

IASB Executive Director Michael Johnson is appointed to two state panels—one gubernatorial and one legislative—searching for a long-term solution to a funding crisis facing the Teachers' Retirement Insurance Program. By year's end, one task force fashions a short-term solution acceptable to the legislature and governor.

The Illinois Council of School Attorneys (ICSA), an affiliate organization of IASB, prepares alternative special education procedures enabling school districts to comply with difficult new state requirements. Because ICSA attorneys donate their time and IASB covers all other costs, the procedures are distributed free of charge.

An IASB survey reveals teachers in 98 percent of Illinois school districts are organized for collective bargaining, and a majority (53 percent) use "traditional" bargaining processes.

Schools across the country sponsor "moments of silence" to allow students and staff to reflect upon the nation's tragedy of September 11.

2002 President: Christy Coleman, Geneseo

Evaluation of the superintendent is the subject of a new publication from IASB, entitled "How to Develop a Performance Evaluation Process." The 48-page booklet is produced by IASB staff as a resource for both boards and superintendents.

IASB Board of Directors and staff toured Chicago District 299 schools on the city's southwest side February 22 in order to stay in touch with developments in the state's largest school district.

Voters approve 27 of 54 school tax increases, and 43 of 60 bond proposals (72 percent), on the March primary ballot, according to the April 2002 Illinois School Board Newsbulletin.

IASB releases an updated step-by-step guide to conducting student disciplinary hearings, The School Official's Guide to Student Disciplinary Hearings, updated by attorney Alan Mullins.

IASB announces a new service to make any school board's policies available via the Web. The service will keep up-dated policies in the hands of people who need them and permit each policy to be linked directly to the statutes, regulations or case law related to that policy.

IASB's board of directors visits a potential building site after plans are approved to hire an architect and explore purchase options for construction of a new IASB headquarters, to be funded from budget reserves.

IASB launches a new electronic bookstore enabling Internet visitors to browse and search by title, author, or topic -- and make purchases -- online at

IASB staff publishes "staff standards" conveying what board members have a right to expect from staff members.

232 Illinois schools, including 179 in Chicago, are required to provide school choice under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). State assessment results are used to identify schools allegedly not making "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) in 2000 and 2001.

IASB executive director Michael Johnson appears on WGN radio to explain school leaders' disappointment with the state's accelerated approach to implementing NCLB. "We have suddenly jumped into year three of a five-year cycle," Johnson says.

IASB launches a new brand name for its leadership and training programs for board members. Called School Board LeaderShop, the program includes workshops and networking opportunities designed to provide the knowledge, skills, and resources board members need for provide effective leadership.

IASB publishes a new book, Essentials of Illinois School Finance, by James B. Fritts, a training manual and reference for school business managers, budget makers and anyone interested in understanding school finance.

Representatives of IASB's 862 member districts vote to demand that a state assessment be developed to test the Illinois Learning Standards test only those areas required by the federal NCLB.

2003 President: Christy Coleman, Geneseo

Education Week's "Quality Counts" report compares the 50 states on education and gives Illinois an "F" on equitable distribution of resources and a "C+" on adequacy of resources.

IASB move its headquarters offices to a brand-new building on Springfield's near south side in late April. Officers and staff celebrate with an open house on June 10.

As the war in Iraq continues, school officials in some districts add a "shelter-in-place" plan for chemical attacks to their usual emergency procedures.

A new IASB survey of board members and superintendents shows school leaders generally are not optimistic about the impact NCLB is having on Illinois schools. Superintendents cite a lack of information and clarity regarding the requirements of this sweeping federal law.

In light of widespread school financial woes, IASB's Board of Directors cancels a dues increase for fiscal year 2004 that would have resulted from increased school district operating expenditures.

The first four school boards contract with IASB to post and maintain their policy manuals on the Internet, complete with updates as needed and links to legal references -- Tinley Park CCSD 146, Elgin Area District U-46, Sherrard CUSD 200, and Mattoon CUSD 2.

The announcement of three new member districts swells IASB's total membership to 858, out of 887 Illinois school districts, roughly 97 percent.

The joint annual conference features a new welcome and orientation session for first-time attendees, and a new "IASB Room," where members can learn about their Association's benefits and services. It's located in the Hyatt's Comiskey Room.

Agreeing that NCLB is inconsistent and unrealistic, IASB delegates vote to seek reforms in the federal law. Representatives of more than 280 Illinois school boards vote to support sweeping changes and full funding.

IASB Past President Myron W. Clark passes away at age 91. Clark was the only individual ever to serve as president of two different state school boards associations: Illinois (1974-75), and Minnesota (1949-50).

2004 President: Raymond Zimmerman, Flanagan

IASB publications launch an in-depth examination of childhood nutrition and obesity relating to public schools. The series is compiled on the IASB Web site at:

Seventy IASB directors, division officers and staff meet at the Hyatt Regency Chicago to learn how a school district can detect its vision. This new workshop is twice repeated for IASB's general membership in April.

Meetings are held across the state to acquaint eligible districts with IASB's new Targeting Achievement Through Governance program. Funded by a grant from the State Board of Education, the program aims to enhance the leadership capacity of school boards that have schools identified as not making Adequate Yearly Progress under NCLB.

The IASB Board of Directors reviews and accepts a budget for 2004-2005 projecting revenue of $7.14 million, and expenses of $7.02 million.

IASB offers its first-ever symposium for School Board LeaderShop Academy members. Included is an interactive presentation on the "nuts and bolts" for increasing local support.

IASB discontinues its School Public Relations Service, a quarterly packet of materials designed to assist with school communications. SPRS fell into disuse with the widespread availability of similar material on the Internet.

IASB's Publications Department determines it sold 11,456 books, bringing in $219,499 in revenue in FY 2004, neither of which is a record.

IASB staff publishes a toolkit in a three-ring binder that offers communications assistance for school districts that are struggling with questions surrounding "adequate yearly progress" and the No Child Left Behind law.

Shortly after signing legislation that granted him the authority, Governor Rod Blagojevich replaced seven members of the nine-member State Board of Education. Within days, State Superintendent Robert Schiller was replaced with interim superintendent Randy Dunn, head of the department of educational administration at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

IASB mailed letters to all school board members and superintendents alerting them to a new Internet service being introduced by IASB called

The joint annual conference is the scene of a new workshop for school board secretaries, an event that drew 120 people and set the stage for a new group of IASB services for school districts.

2005 President: Raymond Zimmerman, Flanagan

IASB publishes an updated second edition of its top-selling book, Essentials of Illinois School Finance, by James B. Fritts. The book becomes a standard text in many university courses in school finance.

The State Board of Education appoints Randy Dunn to the position of interim state superintendent of education. A year later, the word "interim" is dropped from his title.

In January, IASB launches its Online Learning Center on the Web site of the National School Boards Association. The Online Center offers workshops that deliver factual information that can be imparted effectively without the aid of group or face-to-face interaction.

The legislature votes to reduce the state's contributions to its various pension systems, freeing up hundreds of millions of dollars for the state's fiscal year 2005 budget. Schools get an increase of $200 per pupil in general state aid.

IASB pledges support for a new national center to promote and enhance public education.

Illinois voters fill approximately 3,080 school board seats at the April elections, including more than 1,700 incumbents and 1,370 new members. IASB workshops for new board members draw 535 participants to learn about the basics of governance, school law and finance.

During the year, 4,332 school board members and 789 superintendents attend at least one IASB program or event. Four hundred board members record credits toward Master School Board Member status.

The Illinois School District Liquid Asset Fund boasts 333 active participants.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Morris Daily Herald take the top awards in the Robert M. Cole Awards competition that is sponsored each year by IASB and conducted by the Illinois Press Association. The awards recognize outstanding coverage of local school board issues.

High school graduation requirements are increased by the legislature to include passing grades in two years of science, three years of math, two "writing intensive courses" and an English course every year of high school.

IASB launches a series of "Webinars" (online seminars) to teach prospective users about the benefits of "e-tools" and how it works. The seminars connect 65 participants from nearly 50 districts with experts via phone and the Internet.

2006 President: Marie Slater, Wheaton

IASB invites members to visit with training experts by phone while linked up online at for a series of online "webinars." These training sessions, offered in January and February 2006, explain the use of schoolboardnet, IASB's online communications service.

School report card data shows that the state's school dropout rate has continued to decline for a decade, falling from 6.5 percent in 1996 to 4 percent in 2005. The mobility rate for students also has declined.

The 11th annual IASB Job Fair for Teachers, Administrators and Education Majors, held in March at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, proves a great success, as evidenced by the number of people participating, as well as their enthusiastic reactions. Attendance holds steady from the previous year as 42 school recruiters attend the job event, compared with 43 the year before. Meanwhile, 919 candidates for teaching and administrative positions take the opportunity to make contacts or interview for job openings. Ninety percent of participating districts say they plan to return again the next year.

The state says it won't cancel its ISAT testing contract with a company hired to provide Illinois Standards Achievement Tests, even though State Superintendent Randy Dunn recommends the cancellation. Dunn made the recommendation after the testing company reportedly failed to deliver test materials to school districts on time.

IASB hosts an April benefit at Morton's, The Steakhouse, in Chicago to aid gulf coast school districts recently ravaged by hurricanes. The event is held after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita severely damage New Orleans, forcing the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to move its 66th annual conference from New Orleans to Chicago.

Learning, exploration and world-class amenities highlight five days in Chicago for hundreds of representatives of Illinois school districts attending the 2006 NSBA Conference. The conference, held April 8-11 at Lakeside Center at McCormick Place, features panel presentations from eight Illinois districts, as thousands of school board members, superintendents, education officials and their guests gather in the Windy City. This is the first NSBA Conference held in Illinois since the 1960s.

John J. Mannix, associate executive director of IASB, dies on July 26 after a long battle with cancer. Mannix, 57, joined the Association staff in 2002, after serving on the IASB Board of Directors for eight years as representative of the Illinois Association of School Trustees. At IASB, Mannix supervised the Field Services staff and operations in both the Springfield and Lombard offices. In addition, he helped create an NCLB toolkit of IASB services for districts and developed and supervised the Comiskey Room at Conference as a place to showcase Association staff, products and services.

IASB's October Newsbulletin reports on a battle shaping up over electric power rate hikes, noting that most Chicago-area electric rates will rise a little more than 20 percent in 2007, while most central and southern Illinois rates "will rise by 40 percent or more." The newsletter also notes that an IASB-sponsored consortium may offer a low-cost alternative to schools.

Representatives of the Illinois Association of School Boards' membership meet at IASB's annual November Conference in Chicago and resolve to demand stronger state support for the school construction grant program, and to push for a constitutional amendment to make the state pay most of the cost of school funding.

2007 President: Marie Slater, Wheaton

Scoring problems by state vendor Harcourt Assessments delayed the release of 2006 ISAT results until February 2007, even though by law the spring test results should have been released by Oct. 31, 2006.

A report from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Capital Development Board revealed 450 school districts report capital needs totaling more than $8.2 billion.

After 37 years at IASB, Jerry Glaub, associate executive director for communications, retired May 1, and will work part-time or on special projects.

A second high school challenge conference was held in Bloomington on June 14-15 and featured Willard R. Daggett of the International Center for Leadership in Education, who stressed rigor, relevance and relationships for success in school reform.

Redesign of, the Association's website, was completed in July and work began on a Members-Only site.

The Illinois School Law Survey, Tenth Edition, and Illinois School Code Service were published.

PRESS and PRESS Plus subscriptions reached an all-time high of 830 paid participants.

Cover stories for The Illinois School Board Journal in 2007 examined the following topics: religion in public schools; school board "watchdogs"; the high school reform movement; wellness policies; handling mental illness at school; and cyber bullying.

Four school board members were among those honored with "Those Who Excel" awards from the Illinois State Board of Education. Awards of Excellence went to Carol Farnum, president of Aurora East District 131; Paul C. Piszkiewicz, board member from Des Plaines CCSD 62, and Mary Wilkerson, board member at Evanston THSD 202. Tim Baldermann, former board member of New Lenox SD 122, received an Award of Recognition.

IASB expanded its training strand for board secretaries at Joint Annual Conference in November to a record 12 topics and a "meet and greet" session.

While the state saw 22 school districts receive intent-to-strike notices, all but two threatened stoppages ended in contract settlements before a walk-out. Only Harlem District 122 (one week) and Cahokia CUSD 187 (two weeks) actually went on strike.

The Illinois Legislature debated mandatory training for school board members. The Alliance PAC lobbied that IASB has been providing exemplary training for 94 years and that school board members should not be singled out among governmental officials as the only ones required to receive training.

The latest study of revenue and expenditures for public schools shows Illinois ranks second nationwide in reliance on local revenue, 59.5 percent. Only Nevada at 65.3 percent puts a greater burden on its local taxpayers.

2008 President: Mark C. Metzger, Aurora

Twenty-nine school districts placed school finance referendum questions on the February 5 primary election ballot, including 12 tax increase propositions and 17 building bond issues. Of those, only McLean CUSD 5, Normal, and Schiller Park SD 81 approved increases for their education fund. Overall, the approval rate for tax increases was just 13 percent.

IASB's Chicago-area divisions hosted 237 school board members and guests at a Rally for Public Education on February 27. The rally featured Anne Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association, who spoke about school boards and the role they play in universal education.

Barbara Somogyi, board president, Elk Grove CCSD 59, and Sean William Doyle, board president, Summit Hill SD 161, became IASB's third and fourth School Board LeaderShop Academy fellows. A biennial Academy Symposium was held June and featured speakers Lawrence Baskins and Ray Lauk, both former Illinois superintendents.

Mark C. Metzger, IASB president, was elected to fill a one-year term on the NSBA Board of Directors for the Central Region during the NSBA conference in Orlando, FloridaDonna Johnson, IASB director of executive searches, was elected as chair of the National Association of Superintendent Searchers (NASS).

More than 600 educator candidates attended the 13th Annual IASB Job Fair at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. The job fair featured 43 school districts as recruiters.

Helen McClelland, Country Club Hills SD 160, retired from the IASB Board of Directors and was replaced by Tom Cunningham, Orland SD 135, to represent South Cook Division.

Five school board members and one entire board were recipients of ISBE "Those Who Excel" awards.

Long-time IASB Lombard office administrative assistant Holly Jack died October 20 after a short illness. Executive Director Michael D. Johnson announced that a new award in her memory will be presented for school secretaries beginning in 2009

IASB launched a new Members-Only website at Joint Annual Conference in November. Among other things, the site will allow users to track their own training and participation records and to create a personal calendar for use at the annual conference.

Joanne Zendol, board president of Berwyn South SD 100, was named as the 2008 recipient of the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award as outstanding Illinois school board president.

2009 President: Mark C. Metzger, Aurora

IASB released a new edition of the Good School Maintenance Manual, providing updated programs and procedures for maintenance of buildings, grounds and equipment, as well as expanding to include a section on how computers and technology fit with maintenance programs.

The "Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award," named for a long-time IASB employee who died in 2008, was presented to Janet Miller of Mt. Vernon SD 80 at the 2009 Joint Annual Conference.

The Association's 14th Annual Job Fair drew 547 job seekers to the Shannon Center of Saint Xavier University on March 7, making it the sixth largest in the event's history.

IASB joined with IASA, Illinois ASBO, IPA and the Illinois Government Finance Officers Association (IGFOA) to sponsor a new day-long conference in September for district administrative professionals, including school board secretaries, superintendents' assistants, business office staff and building office staff.

A new publication, "Orienting New School Board Members on the way to Becoming a High-Performing Board Team," outlines a process to help boards facilitate conversations about a school district's identity, purpose and board process with newly seated board members.

Former IASB Executive Director Wayne Sampson died July 21, 2009. Sampson, who served as the Association's leader from 1989 to 2000, also had been a school board member and had served as president of the Association's board of directors.

A newly revised edition of Collective Bargaining and the Illinois School Board Member by Ronald R. Booth was released mid-year..

The nominating committee endorsed Joseph T. Alesandrini, Pekin CHSD 300, as its choice for IASB president in 2010. Carolyne Brooks, West Richland CUSD 2, was endorsed as vice president. Both were elected by the Delegate Assembly at the 2009 Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Two long-serving members of the board of directors resigned in the fall. Carol Farnum (Kishwaukee) and Barbara Somogyi (North Cook). Karen Carney of School District U-46 in Elgin replaced Farnum and Phil Prizker of Wheeling CCSD 21 replaced Somogyi.

Five school board members received "Those Who Excel" awards in 2009 from the Illinois State Board of Education.

The IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference in Chicago set a new attendance record of 12,379, an increase of 118 more than in 2008 and the third consecutive year that attendance has topped the 12,000 mark.

Fred Huddlestun, who has served 14 years on the Jasper County CUSD 1 school board, was named the Outstanding School Board President for 2009 by the Illinois State Board of Education.

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