Thursday, December 31, 2009

Belvidere School District 100 session open to future college students

University/College Admissions Workshop featuring David Waldherr, president of Cambridge Educational Services.

6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Belvidere High School Performing Arts Center.

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - District 100 session open to future college students

Friday, December 18, 2009

Huntley D-158 OKs drug policy for students in extracurriculars

The District 158 school board voted, 6-1, on Thursday night to approve a new policy that would allow checking students in all competitive extracurriculars for use of alcohol, controlled substances and performance-enhancing steroids.

Before participating in extracurricular activities, students must sign a consent form that would be valid through the rest of their high school career. The district pays $150 for each test, and up to 1,000 students involved each year could be randomly chosen.

The district pays $150 for each test, and up to 1,000 students involved each year could be randomly chosen.

School board member Kim Skaja was the lone “no” vote on the policy, citing its $20,000 annual price tag and her skepticism that it would deter students from drugs

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | D-158 OKs drug policy for students in extracurriculars

Elgin U46 seeks state waivers to pare expenses

 Elgin is the second largest school district in Illinois.  Will other districts be following this request?

To reduce its $53.5 million deficit, the District U46 school board this week approved measures aimed at increasing its bilingual classroom sizes and dropping its driver's education program.

State regulations require school districts to staff bilingual classrooms at a ratio that does "not exceed 90 percent of the average student-teacher ratio in general education classrooms."

Both require permission from the Illinois General Assembly

The state Teachers' Retirement System requires school districts to pay 23 percent of certain teachers' salary in annual pension costs. Those teachers -- who are in programs designed to serve low-income, bilingual and special education students -- draw their salaries from federal grants that support those programs.

U46 seeks state waivers to pare expenses :: The Courier News :: Local News

Thursday, December 17, 2009

McHenry County College search firm gets input from area residents

 

Five people showed up for a public meeting with a search consultant Wednesday to offer input on McHenry County College’s next president.

Read more about the problem with this situation by clicking on the following (don’t forget about the comments):  Northwest Herald | MCC search firm gets input from area residents

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kaneland budget-cutting process enters next phase

 

We’re going to first talk this through with the board at a general level,” McCormick said. “We’re going to recommend to eliminate a certain number of teaching positions, a certain number of administrative positions, a certain number of support staff.”

He said administrators would then discuss specific staff moves with the board behind closed doors, as permitted under state law, which exempts discussion involving specific personnel from being discussed in open session.

The more general discussion would take place Jan. 11. A more detailed discussion would come on Jan. 25, McCormick said.

The public would then have a chance to sound off on any proposals at a special hearing, likely to be scheduled for Feb. 8.

Click on the following for more detail:  Kaneland budget-cutting process enters next phase | Daily Chronicle

Teachers, administrator report pressure to reduce discipline referrals | The Rock River Times

A District 205 administrator and three District 205 teachers—who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal—expressed their concerns

Read this article by clicking on the following:  Teachers, administrator report pressure to reduce discipline referrals | The Rock River Times

CORRECTION---CORRECTION TO ARTICLE: Unpaid service has cost

 

This article was posted on Monday.  It mistakenly indicated that Elgin Community College expended more than $31,472 last year for trustee expenses.  I apologize to ECC for this inadvertent error.

 

school districts and colleges spend anywhere from $3,000 to more than $31,000 to cover board member expenses, including travel, conferences, hotel rooms and banquets

Carpentersville-based Community Unit School District 300, with 32 percent of its population considered low-income…Over the past five years, the district has spent $18,114 on board member travel expenses and conference registration fees

Elgin School District U46, with nearly 50 percent of its population considered low-income…spends "well under" $10,000 each year on board members,

St. Charles-based Community Unit School District 303, with 8 percent of its population considered low-income, its board member budget is more flexible….It spent more than $25,000 on items related to board members,

Elgin Community College spent $31,472 during 2008-09 on conferences and travel for the Board of Trustees. This covers the cost for their attendance at American Community College Trustees and Illinois Community College Trustee Association meetings and annual conferences. Additionally, the cost of tickets purchased by the College of Trustees to attend college-sanctioned events totaled $3,150.

Click on the following for the complete story:  Unpaid service has cost :: The Courier News :: Local News

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Daily Chronicle Editorial: NIU’s Grady's job performance goes ignored

 

Essentially what the public received from NIU and its review panel was the further enabling of Grady in his position of police chief, a position we maintain he should no longer hold.
The review panel’s “findings” mostly left us with new and unanswered questions, the biggest of which is:
Who is holding Grady accountable for his poor job performance?

Click on the following for more detail:  Our View: Grady's job performance goes ignored | Daily Chronicle

McHenry County College’s Promise Program getting face-lift

Since closing the program to new students in October, the Foundation board has been discussing ways to keep it going

Promise program initially provided free tuition to McHenry County high school graduates who performed 16 hours of community service and kept a 2.0 grade-point average. After 939 students signed up – twice as many as expected – the foundation board suspended new enrollment to keep it solvent.

Students already enrolled in the program are guaranteed four semesters of tuition, but they must comply with more demanding grade-point and service requirements.

Three private $1 million donations put the program in motion, but higher-than-expected enrollment, coupled with a recession, threatened to drain those resources before new enrollment was put on hold.

 

For more details click on the followingNorthwest Herald | Promise getting face-lift

Monday, December 14, 2009

Real world woes: Interviews with 2009 NIU Grads

Make certain you click on this Chronicle article and READ THE COMMENTS. NIU

The job market for any chosen major may have changed dramatically over the past couple of years, Walzer said, so some graduates may need to be more flexible than they had planned. The number one goal, he said, is to get a good job, even if it’s not where they thought they would be.

Education is one of those fields where retirements have slowed…Budget cuts at many school districts have also led to hiring freezes and staff cuts

Click on the following for more details:  Real world woes | Daily Chronicle

Unpaid service has cost:

school districts and colleges spend anywhere from $3,000 to more than $31,000 to cover board member expenses, including travel, conferences, hotel rooms and banquets

Carpentersville-based Community Unit School District 300, with 32 percent of its population considered low-income…Over the past five years, the district has spent $18,114 on board member travel expenses and conference registration fees

Elgin School District U46, with nearly 50 percent of its population considered low-income…spends "well under" $10,000 each year on board members,

St. Charles-based Community Unit School District 303, with 8 percent of its population considered low-income, its board member budget is more flexible….It spent more than $25,000 on items related to board members,

Elgin Community College spent $31,472 during 2008-09 on conferences and travel for the Board of Trustees. This covers the cost for their attendance at American Community College Trustees and Illinois Community College Trustee Association meetings and annual conferences. Additionally, the cost of tickets purchased by the College of Trustees to attend college-sanctioned events totaled $3,150.

 

Click on the following for more details:  Unpaid service has cost :: The Courier News :: Local News

District 100 to raise driver’s education fee to $400

The following resolution is part of the consent agenda for tonight’s Board of Education meeting.  So in the future, not only will driver’s education behind the wheel be difficult to enroll-- the cost will closely match private providers.

Item #24--Adoption of Resolution to Request Waiver/Modification Allowing the District to Increase the maximum Driver Education Fee from "a reasonable fee not to exceed $50" to "a reasonable fee not to exceed $400" by modifying 105 ILCS 5/27-23.  The course consists of 30 hours classroom instruction and 6 hours behind the wheel. For more information go  to: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/7YJKSX/$file/Drivers+Ed+Waiver.pdf

D-300 wind study in Hampshire complete

 

In late 2007, the school board voted to spend $55,000 on the 12-month wind study that would determine the project’s feasibility.

Once the final results have been analyzed, Ulm said he would share them with the school board and start researching wind turbines for the right fit.

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | D-300 wind study complete

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Student loan default data highlights for-profits

More than one in five borrowers of federal student loans who attend for-profit colleges default within three years of beginning repayment, new figures made available by the U.S. Department of Education….

Historically, the government has reported such figures in terms of how many students default within two years - a figure that stands at 6.7 percent of student borrowers overall and about 11 percent at for-profit schools.

But the new three-year numbers, though preliminary, give a clearer picture of whether a student at a particular school will default, and the government will soon begin using them to help decide which colleges qualify for taxpayer-supported student aid programs.

For-profit colleges are attracting a surging proportion of federal student aid dollars

Click on the following for more information: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/dec/13/student-loan-default-data-highlights-for-profits/

School administrator salary information easier to obtain

Here is a list of superintendent salaries for McHenry County: 

 

Click on the following for more details: Northwest Herald | School administrator salary information easier to obtain

Northern Star Editorial: Lacking cents and sensibility

Editorial critical of administrative salaries and cost of bowl appearances.

At the top of the pyramid, Peters is making $325,980…
Eddie Williams, vice president of finance and facilities and COO, is cashing a $293,328 paycheck, …Brian Hemphill, vice president of Student Affairs and enrollment management, received a very generous raise, seeing his salary increase about $28,000 to $198,708…Provost Ray Alden: $265,200, … Anne Kaplan, vice president for administration and university outreach: $200,640, ….NIU Police Chief Donald Grady is enjoying his $198,960 salary as he sits at home. Since last fiscal year, Grady – the highest paid police chief of all Illinois public universities – received an incomprehensible $98,000 raise

2006 Poinsettia Bowl, where NIU was embarrassed by Texas Christian, put the university about $283,000 over , the NIU Foundation picked up about $189,000 of the tab.

2008 Independence Bowl sent the university $154,000 over budget without the NIU Foundation there to bail it out this time,

Click on the following to read the entire editorial:  Northern Star Online: Lacking cents and sensibility

Elmhurst Press’ Editorial: St. Charles D-303 may have to look at salary cuts

that they’re facing a $4.4 million deficit in the 2011 budget. Superintendent Don Schlomann said there was no way the district could balance its budget without cutting staff positions.

Cutting staff positions is one option. Another option is to request a tax-rate increase beyond what’s permitted by law through a referendum. The district will be hurt by the first choice, and voters are likely not to approve the second. A third option would be to renegotiate the district’s salaries with its unions

Cutting salaries is regrettable, but the district may have no other option. Public schools must face the truth that they can no longer afford to carry the personnel costs they have.

Click on the following for more details:  Editorial: D-303 may have to look at salary cuts - Elmhurst, IL - Elmhurst Press

Keys to job skills: WorkKeys could give key economic tool for Northwest Illinois

 workkeys

WorkKeys is a program that measures “real-world” skills by testing potential employees. The program aims to help educators by identifying gaps between student skills and employment needs and markets itself as a key

would cost no more than $30,000 to get WorkKeys off the ground. The main start-up costs are linked to software installation and obtaining the proper license to use the WorkKeys application.

Click on the following for more details on this story from the Journal-Standard:  Keys to job skills: WorkKeys could give key economic tool for Northwest Illinois - Freeport, IL - The Journal-Standard

WorkKeys is a proprietary product of ACT, a non-profit corporation known for its college testing services.  For more information on WorkKeys go to:  http://www.act.org/workkeys/index.html  This program is available to students at McHenry County College and Elgin Community College.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

College of DuPage's ESL changes riles teachers

the college of dupage ...

About 10 percent of the student population of COD is made up of ESL students, college officials said.

In addition to ESL program cuts, adult basic education and GED programs were also reduced at the college in an effort to rein in costs, Perez said.

Click on the following for more detailDaily Herald | College of DuPage's ESL changes riles teachers

Sycamore School District 427 reimbursed for cybertheft

 

District 427 has been reimbursed by its insurance company after officials discovered about $300,000 missing from district coffers following unauthorized wire transfers earlier this year.

This summer, District 47 officials reported about $425,000 missing. However, some of the money was recovered and the unauthorized transfers were halted.

Click on the following for more details:  Sycamore District 427 reimbursed for cybertheft | Daily Chronicle

Insurance covers Crystal Lake Elementary D-47 fraud loss

 

CRYSTAL LAKE – District 47 officials are expressing relief now that almost a half million dollars in missing funds has been replenished.

The district was reimbursed by its insurance company after discovering about $350,000 was missing this summer as a result of unauthorized wire transfers.

Cynthia Yates, a spokeswoman for the Chicago office of the FBI, confirmed in September that District 47 and Sycamore School District 427 were are part of a cybertheft investigation that the agency was undertaking.

That investigation is ongoing, she said Friday

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | Insurance covers D-47 fraud loss

Elgin Community College sticks to 2-year degrees, certificates

Very strange story—a trustee who thinks he can change state law?

ECC board Trustee Bob Getz says the state should offer three-year bachelor's degrees to save money and time for students, and that ECC should help make this happen. Current state law does not allow this, though, and ECC administrators say they have no plans to seek modification of that limitation.

Click on the following for more details:  ECC sticks to 2-year degrees, certificates :: The Courier News :: Local News

Friday, December 11, 2009

Northern Illinois University reinstates Chief Grady

While the Northern Star editorial board disagrees with the
outcome of this process, it respects NIU’s decision and will work hard
to help improve relations among news media, the public and the NIU
police.
"The Northern Star stands by its Oct. 8 editorial. We are disappointed
that the university’s investigation appears to have focused
overwhelmingly on one particular point of that editorial, when the
intent was to illustrate a wide-ranging list of public concerns.
"The newspaper also stands behind the well-demonstrated honesty and
ethics of its fall 2009 editor in chief, Justin Weaver."

Click on the following for the full details:  Northern Star Online: University reinstates Chief Grady

Deadline is Jan. 19 to request free tutoring under NCLB –Rockford District 205

 

Free tutoring services are being offered because standardized test scores at these schools failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for Illinois State Standards.

Click on the following for more details:   Deadline is Jan. 19 to request free tutoring under NCLB | The Rock River Times

Teacher struck by student at Rockford’s West Middle School | The Rock River Times

Thursday, Dec. 3, a teacher at Rockford’s West Middle School sustained injuries that required immediate medical attention after breaking up a fight between two students. Witnesses reported a smaller student was involved in an altercation with a larger student when the teacher intervened.

Click on the following for more details:  Teacher struck by student at West Middle School | The Rock River Times

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Grayslake North HS principal Vance resigns

resignation was accepted Thursday night, about a week after it surfaced he was the subject of a sexual harassment investigation while performing the same job in Plainfield last year.

District 202's ex-assistant superintendent for administration and personnel, backed Vance's Grayslake North job quest with a letter of recommendation April 30. She didn't note the investigation or Vance's reassignment.

Click on the following for more detailsDaily Herald | Grayslake North HS principal Vance resigns

Objective Measures Of ADHD Symptoms Using The Quotient(TM) ADHD System May Reduce Cost Of ADHD Drug Trials

pilot study examined the concordance of the Quotient(TM) ADHD Test, an objective assessment tool to measure hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity, with the current standard of care, clinical ADHD rating scales (ADHD-RS). Rating scales are questionnaires that ask the subject and/or parent about the severity and frequency of ADHD symptoms.
The study indicated that implementing the Quotient(TM) ADHD System for objective measures of symptoms along with a threshold of >40% reduction in symptoms completely eliminated the placebo response. This means that it may be possible to reduce the size and cost of clinical trials for ADHD medications, which ultimately may accelerate data review by the FDA and introduction to the market.

The Quotient(TM) ADHD Test takes 15 minutes for children 12 and under, or 20 minutes for adolescents and adults. The report is available within a few minutes after the patient completes the test. The clinician integrates the Quotient(TM) ADHD Test report with information from other assessment tools and the clinical evaluation to guide treatment decisions.

Objective Measures Of ADHD Symptoms Using The Quotient(TM) ADHD System May Reduce Cost Of ADHD Drug Trials

New technology makes ADHD diagnosis more precise

Quotient ADHD System, manufactured by BioBehavioral Diagnostics Co., and Neba, an EEG test by Lexicor, have “sharpened diagnosis and treatment,” Kohn said.

Between 3 percent and 7 percent of school-age children in the U.S. have ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, the number of ADHD cases has increased 3 percent each year from 1997 to 2006. CDC findings show it is diagnosed at significantly higher rates among non-Hispanic, primarily English-speaking children covered by insurance

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | New technology makes ADHD diagnosis more precise

Staff cuts, frozen salaries in future for Dist. 300 Carpentersville

could save almost $3 million by freezing salaries, instituting furlough days, eliminating overtime and reducing substitute teacher pay rates.

will keep its budget in the black next year as the state delays payments and federal stimulus money dries up.

Click on the following for more details:  Daily Herald | Staff cuts, frozen salaries in future for Dist. 300

NIU conference focuses on region's future | Daily Chronicle

Returning prosperity to America's Heartland: Building a shared vision for our region's future

Attending are about 120 area leaders from businesses in both the public and private sectors, elected officials and other decision makers who make up the "fabric of the region," Gleeson said. Education, population growth, energy consumption, employment and job creation are all components for prosperity,

NIU conference focuses on region's future | Daily Chronicle

Colleges ‘have a huge stake in this community’

 

His [Rockford Mayor Morrissey’s] idea is to develop the kind of higher-education programs needed to attract and keep middle-class workers and their employers in Rockford.

Dr. Becherer[Rock Valley College] will discuss the idea that education should be accepted as a K-20 process, and no longer separated into finite segments — through 12th grade, an associate degree, or a four-year university

Click on the following for more details:  Colleges ‘have a huge stake in this community’ - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Report: Illinois lagging on tobacco prevention funding

Illinois ranks 42nd among U.S. states in its funding of tobacco prevention programs.

Tobacco companies agreed in 1998 to settle lawsuits several states brought over smoking-related health care costs. The companies are paying the states about $206 billion over more than two decades.

Illinois this year will collect $857 million from the settlement and tobacco taxes. The reports says the state will spend about 1 percent of it on tobacco prevention.

Report: Illinois lagging on tobacco prevention funding - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

U of I Trustees Continue Search for President

 

Ethical, great leader, good communicator, good listener, someone who can be trusted, and that we'd all be proud to see at the head of our great institution.
Hasara says the search committee hopes to discuss applications by February

Click on the following for more details:  City Room™ - News In Brief - U of I Trustees Continue Search for President

Roosevelt University 'vertical campus' going up in February

student services offices, business classrooms, science labs and more than 600 beds for students. Officials said Tuesday that bonds have been secured to pay for the $110 million structure.

Roosevelt University 'vertical campus' going up in February :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Education

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Many in U-46 protest school calendar decision

The Elgin Area School District U-46 board got an earful Monday night from parents, teachers and students angered at being left out of the decision to end three schools' year-round calendars.

Click on the following for more details:  Daily Herald | Many in U-46 protest school calendar decision

Monday, December 7, 2009

McHenry County College’s Promise students impact the community through volunteer work

This MCC scholarship program promises free college tuition to graduates of McHenry County high schools

Ignacio is one of about 930 students who enrolled in the Promise program this fall, more than twice as many as expected.
Because of the program, the number of volunteers in McHenry County has nearly doubled as well, says Rebecca Stiemke, director of the United Way of Greater McHenry County Volunteer Center.
Students taking advantage of the scholarship program are asked to register their volunteer hours with the center. Those hours are expected to jump even more as next fall’s participants must complete 32 hours of community service per term, up from this year’s 16 required hours.

Faith in Action in McHenry, an agency that assists seniors living at home

McHENRY COUNTY COLLEGE PROMISE SCHOLARSHIP FUND BY THE NUMBERS:
The 2009-2010 school year:
• Approximately 930 students enrolled, which is more than twice what was expected.
• Scholarship recipients are full-time students who are required to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and complete 16 hours of community service in order to have 15 credit hours paid for before the semester.
The 2010-2011 school year:
• Scholarship recipients will be required to maintain a 2.5 grade point average and complete 32 hours of community service in order to have 12 credit hours reimbursed at the end of the semester.

Click on the following for more details:  McHenry County Magazine | MCC Promise students impact the community through volunteer work

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Area students honored as State Scholars

17 Belvidere High School Students and 37 Belvidere North students are Illinois state scholars.  Standardized test scores and performance-based academic data reported by the high school are used to determine eligibility.

BOONE COUNTY - The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has recognized Illinois high school students who have been named 2010-11 State Scholars for their outstanding academic achievement.

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Area students honored as State Scholars

Thursday, December 3, 2009

UPDATE: This October 29, 2009 Posting on RVC has changed

Nearly all of this has been deleted from Wikipdia.  Possibly by efforts of friends of Rock Valley College.  Click on:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_valley_college  and see the new posting.  Click on the green numbered reference in the passage below and view the references used in the original Wikipedia article.
 
Wikipedia: Very critical of Rock Valley College—both past and current administrations

Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based mostly on anonymous contributions

The following originally taken from Wikipedia back in October 2009: 

.The college [Rock Valley College] was established in 1964 through a district-wide referendum after a two-year study established the need for a community college. RVC’s district comprises Winnebago and Boone County and parts of Stephenson, Ogle, McHenry and DeKalb counties. Since opening for classes in 1965, RVC has grown to an institution of 140 faculty members, 500 part-time lecturers and more than 7,500 students.

On Jan. 13, 2004, RVC President Dr. Roland "Chip" Chapdelaine was fired from the college nearly one year after Rockford-based, weekly newspaper, The Rock River Times, launched an award-winning, year-long series of news articles that spotlighted corruption at the college and Chapdelaine's mismanagement at RVC. [2]

The news articles were authored by Jeff Havens, staff writer for The Rock River Times, who was illegally fired by Chapdelaine and the RVC Board of Trustees in 2002. Havens was Laboratory Manager in the Physical Science Department at RVC from 2000 to 2002. Havens employment was illegally terminated by RVC after Havens publicly criticized Chapdelaine and RVC Board Trustees in print and broadcast media. Havens also spearheaded a union organization effort for staff at RVC.

The RVC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to fire Chapdelaine after the newspaper launched its news series, which culminated with an article that detailed RVC Board Chairman Chris Johnson's wife's land sale to RVC during the time she was a real estate agent.[3]

Approximately five months after the news series began, Havens and The Rock River Times were named defendants in a lawsuit filed in Winnebago County Circuit Court on June 5, 2003 by Donald B. Johannes, former RVC trustee and board chairman the evening Havens was illegally fired in Aug. 13, 2002 (Winnebago County Circuit Court case 03-L-219).

In the lawsuit, Johannes alleged he was defamed when the newspaper published an article on April 23, 2003 in which Johannes denied benefiting from the sale of insurance to RVC. Johannes was an insurance agent for more than 20 years, in addition to being an RVC trustee.[4]

Johannes' lawsuit was thrown out of court on Jan. 22, 2004 after the court ruled Johannes failed to prove anything in the article was false—just nine days after Chapdelaine was fired as RVC president. However, the court allowed Johannes a second chance to file his complaint.

Johannes re-filed his allegations the following month, but they too were thrown out of court for a second time on May 28, 2004 after he again failed to provide any evidence the article was false. When Johannes re-filed his lawsuit, he admitted in his filing there was a conspiracy to fire Havens for his written criticisms of the college—a violation of Havens' First Amendment right to exercise free speech.

In the first amended complaint filed with the state court, Johannes wrote: “On information and belief Jeffrey Havens…was fired…for writing negative articles about the college as summarized above.”

Observers of the proceedings speculated the real purpose of the lawsuit was to discourage the newspaper from continuing its investigation and reporting on events at the college, persuade owner Frank Schier to fire Havens as a reporter and financially ruin the newspaper.

In October 2004, the news series was recognized by the Illinois Press Association for outstanding reporting in their "Best of the Press" contest.

Although no specific reason was ever cited by the Board for terminating Chapdelaine, his tenure included the following:

1. Complaints. Numerous complaints from the college's employee groups to RVC Trustees

2. No confidence. Three "no-confidence" votes by all three employee groups that totaled 204-28

3. Status downgrade. Downgrade of RVC recognition status by the Illinois Community College Board. As of 2008, no other locally funded and operated community college in Illinois has ever had such a downgrade in status. The status was upgraded by the state two weeks after Chapdelaine was fired in January 2004

4. Deficit spending. Five consecutive and unprecedented years of deficit spending that totaled more than $7.3 million

5. Political donations. Illegal use of taxpayer funds by Chapdelaine for two political contributions, which were allegedly reimbursed only after inquiries about the expenditures were made by The Rock River Times

6. No-bid contract. Controversial awarding of a no-bid $5.6 million construction contract to Robert Stenstrom of Stenstrom Companies Ltd., for whom RVC named their Samuelson Road facility after he allegedly made a $1 million donation to the college. RVC never produced documentation the $1 million was ever received, despite requests from The Rock River Times.[5]

The $1 million was to be derived from construction services offered by Stenstrom,and sale of Stenstrom's personal jet. Part of the $1 million Stenstrom proposed was for "in-kind" construction management services. But the services were tied to a condition in which the services would only be offered if his company received the building contract for the Support Services Building. The Support Services Building was originally slated at $4.2 million, but ultimately cost $7.9 million.

The other half of the $1 million "gift" was contingent upon the sale of an aircraft owned by Stenstrom. However, at the time of the awarding the contract, and the alleged donation, the aircraft was being flown around Illinois for a political campaign. The campaign involved former Winnebago County Board Chairman Kris Cohn's failed bid for Illinois Secretary of State's office in 2002.

After RVC hired Stenstrom under terms of Illinois construction management law, Stenstrom awarded the contract to costruct the Support Services Building to himself. However, Illinois law prohibits construction managers from awarding contracts to themselves. Trustees, Chapdelaine and Stenstron also linked the hiring to Stenstrom's proclaimed $1 million donation to the college.

Despite the obvious abuse, and likely breaking of construction management law, Winnebago County State's Attorney Paul Logli refused to investigate the issue because he claimed the statute was "undeveloped," and was not interested in developing the statute.[6] Four years later, Logli was appointed to the position of Winnebago County Circuit Court judge in 2007 after holding the same job during the 1980s.

7. Recruitment scandal. Double payments to Chapdelaine in 1997 for airline expenses for his recruitment to RVC. Prior to that time, Chapdelaine was president of Cumberland County College in New Jersey.

In 1997, Chapdelaine charged $770 to his Cumberland County College credit card for three round-trip airline tickets from Philadelphia to O’Hare Airport at the same time he was being considered for his RVC position.

RVC also issued Chapdelaine two checks during the same period totaling $2,107.53 for his recruitment to RVC.

Cumberland County College documents show Chapdelaine charged Cumberland County College for two July 17, 1997, airline tickets to O’Hare, the day after he secured the RVC presidency on July 16,1997. Chapdelaine charged $612 to Cumberland County College for tickets and flight insurance for himself and his wife on July 17, 1997.

8. Construction overuns. At least $9.6 million in construction cost overruns, which included the Stenstrom-named facility on Samuelson Road, and the Support Services Building that Stenstrom constructed on RVC's main campus.

Chapdelaine's supporters argued he was a "change agent" who ushered RVC into a bold era of needed construction projects. Critics countered Chapdelaine severely mismanaged the college.

Epilogue

RVC hired Dr. Jack Becherer as its new president in 2004. Becherer has connections to the same corruption network that gave rise to Chapdelaine through his previous employment at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills,Illinois during the 1990s.

After a two-year presidency at Cuyahoga Community College's Eastern Campus in Cleveland, Ohio in which Chapdelaine proposed changing the institution into a center for "holistic medicine," he was hired in late 2006 as president of Los Angeles Trade Tech College. According to a Jan. 26, 2007 press release from the Los Angeles Community College District, Chapdelaine was presiding over $230 million in construction projects at the college.

Approximately five years after Chapdelaine was terminated, RVC began more building projects that included the following, which were featured in the Rockford Register Star in 2009.[7]:

  • $28.5 million science and math building
  • $1 million for renovations to the Stenstrom Center for Career Education
  • $13 million for renovations to the Physical Education Center
  • $2 million for updated parking lots on the main campus during
  • $7.5 million

Genoa fundraiser hoax under investigation

The Genoa residents who showed up at Genoa-Kingston High School on Tuesday evening thought they were picking up pork chop dinners they had bought to help support the school’s basketball team.
The problem was, there were no dinners.
At least nine people in the Willow Glen area of Genoa were victims of the hoax, paying $10 for bogus tickets to a pork chop dinner that didn’t exist, Genoa Police Chief Patrick Solar said.
The tickets were sold door-to-door by a white male who appeared to be between 16 and 18 years old, Solar said. The boy claimed the dinner was a fundraiser for the G-K basketball team. Some victims have said there was a second, much younger child helping him

Click on the following for more details:  Genoa fundraiser hoax under investigation | Daily Chronicle

Huntley’s D-158 proposal gets conference support

Illinois Association of School Boards for the first time is seeking legislation that would forbid public school employees from going on strike.

The measure was presented by Huntley District 158 at last month’s IASB conference, where it received a majority in a hand vote.

In Illinois, labor laws changed in the mid-1980s to allow school employee unions to strike. But legalizing strikes for school employees resulted in fewer of them, said Charles McBarron, director of communications for the Illinois Education Association. “Back in the days when they were illegal, we had tons of strikes,” McBarron said. “Today a strike is a very rare occurrence in Illinois.”

But even backers of the strike-banning measure admit that its chances in Springfield are slim. “In any state with strong union representation, this would be a longshot,”

Northwest Herald | D-158 proposal gets conference support

Security worries cited at McHenry County College

 

A law professor scheduled to discuss Guantanamo detainees at McHenry County College said he received several harassing phone calls but still wants to reschedule tonight’s canceled event.

Northwest Herald | Security worries cited at MCC

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gitmo poetry event at McHenry County College postponed

Even before the scheduled wake there was controversy about this event—read the comments.

A Mc­Henry County College official said a student group postponed an event featuring poetry by Guantanamo detainees so that the college could arrange for more staffing.

The Student Peace Action Network had planned to have a law professor who worked on unlawful detainment actions for 17 Guantanamo detainees speak at 7 p.m. Thursday. That is the same evening as a wake that has been set for Sgt. Jason McLeod, the Crystal Lake soldier who was killed last week in Afghanistan.

Click on the following for more details:   Northwest Herald | Gitmo poetry event at MCC postponed

Rock River Times Editorial: The District 205 credibility gap

 

Rockford East High SchoolEither Rockford Public School District 205 administrators are completely clueless about what’s going on in the schools, or they think they can pull the wool over the public’s eyes when it comes to telling the truth

Nov. 18,[at East High] incident included fighting, hitting, screaming, throwing of trash cans, breaking of tables, and students punching other students in the face. The student said the whole school was practically involved in the incident

District 205’s inability to communicate in a timely, accurate manner with regard to the Nov. 18-19 incidents at East High School is the latest in a series of events that has created a massive credibility gap.

Click on the following to read this critical editorial:  Editorial: The District 205 credibility gap | The Rock River Times

A big step for Round Lake schools

 Round Lake is near the Fox River just inside Lake County.

first school district to emerge intact from state financial control.

Drowning in red ink in 2002 when the Illinois State Board of Education asserted control, the 6,900-student school district is expected to take over its own financial affairs after a formal vote of the state board in January.

Daily Herald | A big step for Round Lake schools

DeKalb School Board receives demographics presentation

For the most part, the studies found little change to the elementary and middle school populations through 2020. For the high school, a modest increase was projected

Click on the following for more details: DeKalb School Board receives demographics presentation | Daily Chronicle

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Return to NIU

NIU's struggles
and triumphs

Nearly 10 months after the shootings at Northern Illinois University, those who were in Cole Hall 101 continue to feel the effects, and many say they always will.

Some who weren’t physically hurt carry psychological scars. Others reflect on a moment of clarity that changed their viewpoints or goals.

Many refuse to let that day define them.

Daily Herald reporters interviewed dozens of students, rescue workers and others who there on Feb. 14, 2008

Click on the following for these personal interviews: Daily Herald | Return to NIU

Cary Dist. 26 board vice president resigns after another tense vote

 

On Monday, the board lost another leader right after a crucial vote.

After voting against going to referendum, effectively killing the measure with a deadlocked vote, board Vice President Steve Bush resigned Monday.

Bush's surprise move came just one week after board President Dave Ruelle resigned because, he said, the board and administration were not serious about mending the district's finances.

Daily Herald | Cary Dist. 26 board vice president resigns after another tense vote

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RockValleyCollege board seeks to fill vacancy

Rock Valley College campus 

The length of the appointment to serve is approximately 15 months, until April 2011.

Materials must be received no later than Dec. 8

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - RVC board seeks to fill vacancy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Second-grader's parents sue District 300 after bus runs over his leg

Durham also operates school buses in Belvidere District 100.

The parents of a 7-year-old boy badly hurt when a bus ran over his leg last month are suing Community Unit District 300, the bus driver and Durham School Services, District 300's busing contractor.

Kyle Zuniga, a second-grader with special needs at Neubert Elementary School in Algonquin

Daily Herald | Second-grader's parents sue District 300 after bus runs over his leg

Panel completes review of Grady

 

Officials at Northern Illinois University said today that they have received a final report from the panel conducting a performance review on school Police Chief Donald Grady – but it was unclear when those findings would be shared with the public.

Panel completes review of Grady | Daily Chronicle

Durand investigates second teacher

 

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato is not saying if any charges would be filed against the second teacher or what the investigation entailed. Bruscato said his office was contacted by the School District and the Sheriff’s Department regarding their investigation of a second teacher.

Durand investigates second teacher - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

88 cited for underage drinking in Peoria

Looks like many Bradley students may have a confession to make after Thanksgiving turkey. 

Illinois State Police say they cited 88 underage young adults at a weekend drinking party in Peoria and arrested a 21-year-old resident of the home on felony drug charges.

State troopers say they were checking the West Bluff area near the Bradley University campus early Sunday morning when they came upon the party.

Daily Herald | 88 cited for underage drinking in Peoria

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chicago Loop educational institutions have $4 billion economic impact

Higher education institutions in Chicago's Loop generate more than $4 billion in regional economic output annually, including at least $60 million in student purchases directly from retailers, according to a report released Monday by the Chicago Loop Alliance.
The Loop is home to 24 higher education institutions, including Roosevelt University, Columbia College and the Loop campus of DePaul University. Together, they're home to more than 65,000 students and they employ more than 15,000 people

study-economic-output -- chicagotribune.com

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who's earning how much in our schools?

average high school district teacher salary on the North Shore is $94,000, according to the 2009 state report cards. The average high school district administrative salary there is $147,000.

 Average teacher salary in Elgin U46: $69,000

Average teacher salary in Carpentersville D300: $59,028

Average teacher salary in Burlington D301: $62,211

Average teacher salary in St. Charles D303: $64,177

Source: 2009 state report cards and district salary data; all figures include benefits

If you head into the city of Chicago, which boasts the largest school district in the state with nearly 410,000 students, those salary figures drop.

The average teacher in CPS earns about $68,000; the average administrator, about $110,000.

Click on the following for more details:  Who's earning how much in our schools? :: The Courier News :: Local News

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Missing juniors: State to crack down on testing loophole

Illinois education officials said this week they want to create a single standard to determine when students are counted as juniors and therefore must take the exam.

These students didn't qualify as juniors in May, and their districts chose not to test them, state records show. But months later in October they were listed as 12th graders -- seemingly skipping 11th grade.

Tribune analysis published last month that found 34,000 Illinois sophomores -- about 20 percent -- didn't officially advance to junior level status in 2008-09 and, therefore, didn't take the high school exam.

78 of the 473 school districts that tested juniors excluded more students than average, but two dozen districts accounted for a third of all the current 12th-graders who did not take the exam last spring.

Thornton Township,Warren,  and Gurnee district were mentioned

Missing juniors: State to crack down on testing loophole - Chicago Breaking News

Report finds wide disparities in gifted education

 

The federal government spent just $7.5 million last year on research and grants for the estimated 3 million gifted children in the U.S. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have tried to eliminate that money entirely, but Congress put it back into the budget each year.

Just six states pick up the whole tab for gifted programs, and 13 don't put a single dollar toward such curriculum,

Walker recalls the day she was testing a particularly bright 5-year-old boy in her gifted program in a Rockford, Ill., elementary school in the 1980s. She asked him what color coal is and gave him three options: black, purple and gray.
The boy marked all three answers and told Walker that coal was black indoors, purple in the sunshine and gray if it burns.
"These are students who are ignored because of the myth that they will make it on their own or succeed without help," said Walker, now executive director of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children. "They get frustrated because they feel they are not being understood."

JG-TC.com > Ap-state-il > Report finds wide disparities in gifted education

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cary Elementary District 26 board gets referendum recommendation

The finance committee cautiously agreed during its meeting that a referendum should be on the February ballot, but it came with little faith that voters would approve it.

“I think our voters, right or wrong, want to see concessions in pay and benefits,” she said. “I couldn’t even get my husband to vote for that.”

aside from music, that list includes eliminating art, junior high foreign language and the gifted program, among other things.

Northwest Herald | District 26 board gets referendum recommendation

Study abroad? College students drop, rethink plans

 

Four times as many students went abroad in the 2007-2008 academic year as 20 years ago,

But nearly 60 percent of the schools and study-abroad groups surveyed in early September by The Forum on Education Abroad report decreased enrollment from a year ago, since the global economic crisis.

Click on the following for more details:  Study abroad? College students drop, rethink plans

More Student Protections to Follow Durand Teacher Sex Scandal

 

One of the biggest issues raised was the reporting system in place for students or parents to alert the District when they see or hear about inappropriate behavior between teachers and students. Plus how those complaints are investigated.

School board members are also set to consider a change to the teacher dress code, requiring them to dress in a professional manner.

More Student Protections to Follow Durand Teacher Sex Scandal

University California regents recommend 32 percent fee hike

Yes,  no tuition—just fees of $10,000 

students at California's public universities traditionally did not pay tuition — the cost of instruction — administrators have acknowledged that California State University and UC fees now include some tuition costs.

Click on the following for more detail:  UC regents recommend 32 percent fee hike - San Jose Mercury News

DeKalb Schools expecting small increase in property tax revenue

Money situation in a neighboring district.

The tax rate also will increase…. The tax rate for this year was $5.20 per $100 of owned property, which is assessed at one-third of a home’s market value.
"We had wanted to maintain that for four years," she said after the meeting. "We will not be able to do that."
The lack of new money will present challenges as the district still needs to pay its bills. Contracted agreements with unions alone call for an additional $2.3 million more…

DeKalb Schools expecting small increase in property tax revenue | Daily Chronicle

Small-purse rule a growing trend at high schools

 

rash of violence among [Springfield] Lanphier’s students spurred the school to re-evaluate its security measures, including its policy on book bags and purses.

the large purses were carrying too many distractions for high school students. Today, purses cannot to be larger than students’ notebooks, and they must be kept in lockers during the school day.

All kinds of things were being carried into the classrooms — food and drink —

Small-purse rule a growing trend at high schools - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

DeKalb Union has filed labor dispute charges against First Student

 The formal documents for these charges are shown in the article.

DeKALB – Before bus drivers for DeKalb School District 428 went on strike this week, the union that represents them filed three unfair labor practice charges against the busing company they work for with the National Labor Relations Board.

Union has filed labor dispute charges against First Student | Daily Chronicle

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Elgin’s U-46 expulsion data notes decline in weapon use, spike in assaults on staff

 

Kelvin Lane, the district's student discipline coordinator, and Safety Coordinator John Heiderscheidt on Monday night presented the school board with first quarter hearing and expulsion data from 2003 to 2010

This year, only one student faced expulsion for assaulting a staff member. That coincides with all school administrators and dean's assistants receiving, for the first time, Crisis Prevention Intervention training before the start of the school year.

The number of students attending expulsion hearings for being caught with drugs, fighting, vandalism, arson, sexual offenses and truancy has stayed steady over the seven year period, according to the report.

Daily Herald | U-46 expulsion data notes decline in weapon use, spike in assaults on staff

School Board President resigns from Cary D-26

two-page letter of resignation sent to Superintendent Brian Coleman lists the failure of both the school board and district administrators to address the district’s financial status.

Click on the following for more detail:  Northwest Herald | Ruelle resigns from D-26 school board

Teaching Assistants Resolve Strike at University of Illinois

 

 ... (University of Illinois[University] offered each teaching assistant about fifteen hundred dollars over the next three years, and upgraded health care options.
It was the first time members of the union have gone on strike. They teach more than twenty percent of classes at the U of I.

Click on the following for more details:  City Room™ - Education - Teaching Assistants Resolve Strike at University of Illinois

McHenry Community College asks for Metra station

 

Metra Board of Directors recently approved a tentative $1.53 million deal to buy land for a new stop along the Union Pacific Northwest Line in unincorporated Ridgefield on Country Club Road at Prairie Drive.

“The current [proposal’s] … absence of sidewalks, road configuration issues and railroad crossing issues does not provide for safe and convenient access to MCC students and staff who may use the proposed Ridgefield Metra station,” the resolution read.

 

Northwest Herald | MCC asks for Metra station

Monday, November 16, 2009

Midwestern states look to promote college degrees

"This would be a one-stop shop where persons from throughout the 12-state region could deposit their credits," Larry Isaak, president of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact

Colleges and universities then essentially would bid for the opportunity to enroll those students by indicating how many credits they would accept, what additional courses would be needed to complete their degrees and how much it would cost.

Nationally, about one of every five adults aged 25-64 has some college experience but no postsecondary education degree,

Midwestern coalition is composed of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The research is being financed by a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Midwestern states look to promote college degrees - Freeport, IL - The Journal-Standard

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Union to DeKalb District: Bus drivers will strike Monday

 

Classes will remain in session, DeKalb School spokesman Russ Fletcher said. Parents are being asked by both First Student and the district to get their children to school Monday.

Union to district: Bus drivers will strike Monday | Daily Chronicle

ElginCommunityCollege Board approves new parking lot

 Elgin Community College ...its highest enrollment ever this fall with 11,704 students, and all of its students are commuters, a new parking lot is a must, according to ECC officials

construction of a 400-space parking lot adjacent to Spartan Drive and Second Street.

The lot will be built to "accommodate increased student enrollment and construction projects that will begin in spring 2010,"

ECC board approves new parking lot :: The Courier News :: Local News

University of Illinois student instructors set to strike Monday

The sole sticking point, according to both sides, related to tuition waivers,

Graduate student instructors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are set to strike starting at 8 a.m. Monday, after six hours of contract talks Saturday failed to yield an agreement.

University of Illinois student instructors set to strike Monday -- chicagotribune.com

Belvidere North boys take cross country title

 

... Belvidere North Blue Thunder North finally captured first place after finishing third and second the last two years. This marks the first time that Belvidere has produced a cross country state champion, and the first Belvidere state champions in any sport since the 1994 Belvidere Bucs took state in football.

Click on the following for more details:  The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Belvidere North boys take cross country title

Saturday, November 14, 2009

DeKalb bus drivers reject proposed contract

 The First Student School bus ... members of the negotiating team for the drivers, have said that the drivers would like starting pay to be $12 an hour for drivers and $10 for monitors, up from the $10 for drivers and $8 for monitors now. Those are rates comparable to what other First Student drivers in the region make, they said, but both have said First Student did not offer those rates to DeKalb drivers.

DeKalb bus drivers reject proposed contract | Daily Chronicle

Teacher salary boosts at many 
districts outpace private sector

Article in Northwest Herald highly critical of teachers’ salaries.   All the districts are McHenry County school districts.

Teacher salary boosts at many districts outpace private sector

Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps data about average annual salaries paid to workers. According to this data, the overall average increase of all Illinois salaries tracked by the Bureau was 10 percent between 2006 and 2008

 

Click on the following for more details:  private sector

No debate over Elgin Community College's value

 Elgin Community College :30 ...

… ECC's mock trial team is a testament to the fact that if you're a smart kid with a great instructor, you can do well in any setting. It doesn't matter where you went to school. It matters what you do with that schooling.

Just last weekend, Elgin Community College's mock trial team beat Yale and Villanova universities at Harvard University's fourth annual Crimson Classic Tournament.

ECC was the only two-year college invited to participate in the Crimson Classic, which featured 22 teams from colleges and universities along the East Coast, including Ivy League institutions. ECC's 3-5 record in four rounds of competition was better than the performances of teams from Boston College, Wake Forest, Dartmouth and Wellesley. ECC had very narrow losses against competitors such as Brown University, the overall winner.

Click on the following for the rest of this letter to the editor:  No debate over ECC's value :: The Courier News :: Town Talk

Friday, November 13, 2009

Belvidere District 100’s Special Education Unit fails to test 12 children within the statutory time limit and fails to begin post-school counseling to a 16 year old.

See page 2 of the letter for the violation.  Both violations are listed there.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

 Special ed 1

Special Ed 2

special ed 3

For Third Year District 100 is criticized by auditors for not fully preparing its statements

Click on the photocopy below to enlarge.  For the last three years Belvidere District 100 has been criticized for its lack of accounting expertise to prepare closing accounting statements.  During all three of those years Dr. Houselog was school’s business manager because James E. Metz lacked the state requirements to function as a business manager.  Based upon Dr. Houselog’s comments to the auditors, does he knows what closing entries and footnotes are required for the district to complete its required accounting statements.

If you wish to look at the complete audit, go to:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/7XGHFU/$file/2009+Financial+Statements+100.pdf

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Huntley’s D-158 alters $1.6M plan for Special Education under the stimulus plan

 

Some of the changes include decreasing the investment into Read 180 and System 44 reading program licenses from about $360,000 to $114,000. And the initiative for additional staff development – such as the opportunity to be trained in disability awareness – increased to $450,000 total.

Both were big signs of improvement to parents.

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | D-158 alters $1.6M plan

Huntley’s Dist. 158 parents warm to special-ed funding list

 Leaflet may have changed Board of Education

It is getting much better," said Linda Betzold, mother of an autistic child in the district, of the new list. "We are getting much more comfortable."

"If we had this proposal a week ago, we wouldn't have had to send out that flyer," added Betzold, who said she did not author the flyer.

Daily Herald | Dist. 158 parents warm to special-ed funding list

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Report on Breakthrough Legislation for Dropout Re-Enrollment

Wow—What a statistic.

Dropouts in Illinois have increased by 12% in just two years from 2006 to 2008. This statistic is mirrored nationally by the 6.2 million youth (16 to 24 years old) who have dropped out of school

Click on the following for more details on the State’s plan:  Ill. Board of Education Chair Ruiz, State Senator Lightford & State Representative Mitchell Report on Breakthrough Legislation for Dropout Re-Enrollment

NIU panel approves capital improvements

 

$11.1 million in capital improvements aimed at improving energy efficiency on campus – but the school won't have to pay a penny of the cost upfront.

replacing doors and windows at Wirtz Hall, replacing air conditioning units in the campus's TV studio, and upgrading lighting and ceilings at the Student Recreation Center.

But other projects – like installing ADA compliant sidewalks at the School of Nursing – are not energy efficient but can be done because the savings generated by the other projects allows the school to do projects that the university otherwise couldn't fund, Albanese said.

Click on the following to find out how this is “free”:  NIU panel approves capital improvements | Daily Chronicle

Prairie Grove’s D-46 looking forward

This district has 1005 students, it is a K-8 school district which feeds into the Crystal Lake/Cary high schools District 155.

the board also informally agreed to further explore the idea of merging with District 26 [Cary Elementary], while simultaneously looking into the idea of a unit district with District 155 or merging with another local district.

the board unanimously voted to accept the retirement of Superintendent Mary Fasbender and the resignation of Joel Murphy, assistant superintendent of business and finance.

Fasbender and Murphy withheld insurance plan information from the teachers’ union so that they would not face taking less favorable plans themselves.

Fasbender was hired in May 2005 and earns $166,674 annually. Murphy was hired in May 2007 and earns $112,275 annually. Both figures include the district’s contribution to the Teachers’ Retirement System on their behalf.

Northwest Herald | D-46 looking forward

Meehan Elementary salutes military with songs, readings - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

A 40-minute salute to veterans by roughly 600 Meehan Elementary students today [11-10-2009] reminded the former military members how precious their commitment to the nation continues to be in the minds of local students and teachers.

Meehan Elementary salutes military with songs, readings - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Huntley School’s Special Education Parents Strike Back|

The group has been very vocal at public hearings regarding the use of federal stimulus money.   Now the group is going door to door in the neighborhoods to gain grass root support for a change.

Below is the leaflet being distributed.

 

Click on the following for more details:  McHenry County Blog |

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

3 Winnebago Democrats face petition tests - Rockford, IL

I am posting this so my readers can see proper election law proceedings.  The complaint can only be raised by the candidates or a third party not by the clerk receiving the nomination nor the election commissioners.  I am of course raising this issue because of the way District 100 handled things last March in the case of my candidacy for school board.  My view is that District 100 abides by the law when and if it wishes.

Once a complaint is filed, a panel of election commissioners holds a hearing to consider the objection. If the complaint is upheld, the candidate could be tossed off the ballot. State statute says the hearing must take place not less than three days after or more than five after the challenge has been filed. That leaves possible hearing days of Thursday, Friday or Monday.

3 Winnebago Democrats face petition tests - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Seminar addresses FOIA changes | Daily Chronicle

I attended this meeting and hope to post some of the handouts and information.

About 100 people attended a seminar Monday at Northern Illinois University that addressed changes to government transparency laws.
The free session was the first of 11 scheduled to be held throughout Illinois aimed at raising awareness about modifications to the state's Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act.

Seminar addresses FOIA changes | Daily Chronicle

Decision on Grady anticipated by Thanksgiving | Daily Chronicle

NIU to make a decision soon.

The team is expected to issue a final report to Williams and NIU President John Peters. They in turn will make public final decisions after reviewing the findings and recommendations.
An exact release date of the findings is uncertain, Buettner said, but NIU officials said their goal is to make an announcement before Thanksgiving.

Decision on Grady anticipated by Thanksgiving | Daily Chronicle

Monday, November 9, 2009

School districts' salary gaps don't always affect test scores -- chicagotribune.com

 

Parental background and teacher quality tend to be the best predictors of how students fare in the classroom,  The size of a paycheck doesn't necessarily translate to quality when so much depends on intangibles like how a teacher connects with kids or motivates families to get involved,

Click on the following to read the rest of the storySchool districts' salary gaps don't always affect test scores -- chicagotribune.com

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kish College board forming campus master plan for the Malta college

 It’s too early to estimate costs … although the board is talking about how they might pay for millions of dollars of improvements. That could include money the school already has, increasing tuition or a referendum.

Click on following for more details:  Kish College board forming campus master plan | Daily Chronicle

Blog Count (for Boone County Watchdog)for the last 30 days: 804 visits by 362 different visitors

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Blog Count for the last 30 days: 579 visits by 304 separate visitors

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Is Federal Special Ed Funding to Be Used to Expand Regular Ed Programs?

 Several stories by Cal Skinner’s Blog question whether federal stimulus dollars for special needs children are really be used as intended.  The questions are being raised by concerned parents of special need children in Huntley’s District #158

Is Federal Special Ed Funding to Be Used to Expand Regular Ed Programs?

A lot of the money is still being recommended to expand a reading program used in regular ed which the special ed parents don’t want.

These issues are raised in the following article:  McHenry County Blog | Is Federal Special Ed Funding to Be Used to Expand Regular Ed Programs?

At a school board meeting on 11-5-2009   the group questioned the purchases of furniture, equipment and a refrigerator for the break room.

“It’s very tech heavy.”

“There are a lot of items that are very questionable.”

For more of this story click on the following:  McHenry County Blog | Huntley District 158 Special Ed Moms Draw Blood, Board Divided – Part 1

Thursday, November 5, 2009

BLOG COUNT since 9-16-2009: 578 visitors ; 301 separate visitors

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Unpaid docs owed millions

 

Sycamore Hospitals, Sycamore ... 150 physicians and Kishwaukee Community Hospital. According to the letter, none of the providers have been paid for seeing state employees in the past 10 months, and some have outstanding claims dating back to August 2008.

Northern Illinois University Vice President of Administration and Human Resources Steve Cunningham said about 3,400 NIU employees use the insurance program. The state is also at least seven months behind on a program that reimburses employees for some medical claims, he said, so employees understand the providers’ predicament.

Click on the following for more details:  Unpaid docs owed millions | Daily Chronicle

District 303 Superintendent pleased with Adequate Yearly Progress results - Saint Charles, IL

Here is a good summary of what occurs if “adequate yearly progress” is not met.

For a school to achieve “adequate yearly progress,” a certain percent of the entire student body and each subgroup has to pass the bar in both math and reading. In 2009 the minimum is 70 percent.

Schools that continually fall short in the same subject face repercussions that become more rigorous as time goes on.

According to state law, after the first two years of not meeting adequate progress, a school is in “academic early watch status” and has to take steps to improve its scores. After the third year, the district steps in and helps create a “corrective action plan,” which could include lengthening the school day or year and bringing in an outside adviser.

If after four years the school still has not made adequate progress, the district has to draft a more intensive restructuring plan for the school, and that plan is put into place after five years of not making progress.

The state gives school districts several options for the fifth-year restructuring plan, such as reopening as a public charter school, replacing much of the teaching staff or overhauling the curriculum. School districts tend to go with that last option, said Melina Wright, the No Child Left Behind liaison for the Illinois State Board of Education.

Seven years after the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted, some schools still are not making progress even after the fifth-year restructuring. And the law does not require additional steps.

“The law is silent,” Wright said. “For whatever reason, the law does not address what happens beyond the restructuring phase.”

District 303 Superintendent pleased with Adequate Yearly Progress results - Saint Charles, IL - St. Charles Republican

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

U. of I. waiting on millions from state

University of Illinois

Outgoing university President B. Joseph White says furloughs are becoming an increasingly likely possibility for employees.

says the state's government has paid the school only $400,000 so far as it wrestles with a budget deficit.

Daily Herald | U. of I. waiting on millions from state

Illinois data on stimulus-related jobs saved, created don't add up

 Chicago Tribune

More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers. Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.

compiled initially by the Illinois State Board of Education, appear riddled with anomalies that raise questions about their validity, according to a Tribune analysis

state treasury -- not students or school districts -- was the prime beneficiary of the education stimulus jackpot in Illinois. In great measure, funds simply were used to replace general aid payments already owed to local districts by the state.

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Illinois data on stimulus-related jobs saved, created don't add up -- chicagotribune.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Student in DeKalb to implement increase despite negotiations

 

the union is asking for drivers to start at $12 an hour and bus monitors at $10. That would be up from $10 an hour for drivers and $8 an hour monitors make now, he said.
Those wages drivers are asking for are the same amount First Student drivers in other Illinois communities make, he said, including in Batavia, Naperville, Oswego and Villa Park.

They sat down with a federal mediator on Wednesday, but Graefen said First Student walked out despite being told by the mediator that couldn't.

Click on the following for more details including over 80 comments:  First Student to implement increase despite negotiations | Daily Chronicle

ELGIN’s U-46 to cut millions from budget; athletics, stipends hardest hit

This is the second largest school district in Illinois

fourth round of aggressive cost-cutting measures for the state's second-largest school district in less than a year. This time, athletic programs, stipends and supply  budgets will be among the hardest

Cuts to middle school athletics "B" teams will save $110,000, and swimming pools will be drained after winter activities conclude, saving $200,000.

Several positions, including a computer technician, financial services and information services analyst, will be eliminated at the half-year mark.

28.9 shortfall from last school year, plus $19.7 million carried over from previous school years and $4.9 million expected this year.

Daily Herald | U-46 to cut millions from budget; athletics, stipends hardest hit

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

23 Private College Presidents Made More Than $1 Million in 2008, Survey Finds - NYTimes.com

major private research universities were paid a median compensation of $627,750 in the 2007-8 fiscal year

The highest paid private university executive was Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., with a pay package totaling $1,598,247 in fiscal 2008.

In this year’s survey, she was followed by David J. Sargent of Suffolk University in Boston, the top earner in last year’s survey, who took in $1,496,593 in fiscal 2008, and Steadman Upham of the University of Tulsa, whose pay package was $1,485,275

the median pay for presidents of the 419 private colleges and universities surveyed was $358,746, a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year. Over the last five years, the median presidential pay, adjusted for inflation, grew by 14 percent..

23 Private College Presidents Made More Than $1 Million in 2008, Survey Finds - NYTimes.com

Community colleges: Would Obama's proposal be enough? | freep.com | Detroit Free Press

The Obama administration notes that 5 million more community college graduates doesn’t necessarily mean there will be that many more students — schools could increase graduation rates to reach the goal.

A record high of about 11.5 million Americans age 18 to 24, or nearly 40%, attended college in October 2008, according to a study of Census data recently released by the Pew Research Center. Almost all of the increase of 300,000 students over the previous year came at two-year schools.

the American Association of Community Colleges estimates enrollment is up at least 10% over 2008. Some schools have reported increases of 25% to 30%.

Community colleges: Would Obama's proposal be enough? | freep.com | Detroit Free Press

Janesville Schools taking steps to prevent scams

Keirns was hired Jan. 21, 2008, and resigned Nov. 13, 2008, according to a statement the district prepared for the news media. Schulte said Keirns was let go for job-performance reasons.

District officials went to the school board earlier this year when they discovered the alleged scheme. The board, in a meeting closed to the public, authorized officials to report the information to police and

(Steve) Schlomann was a key player in discovering evidence that pointed to Keirns in what officials believe was a scheme to profit from school purchases…. (of computer software)

Schools taking steps to prevent scams – GazetteXtra

For other details such as:  Brandon Keirns indicates he allegedly manipulated funds, paid by the district in 2008, that went toward computer software and services. The district spent about $185,000 and police allege Keirns put $160,000 of that in personal bank accounts.

Go to: http://wclo.com/news/2009/oct/30/former-janesville-school-district-employee-faces-f/