Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rock Valley College offers free financial aid for college students.

RVC Financial Aid Guidance Free to District Residents

Contact: Nancy Chamberlain, 815-921-4517

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Rock Valley College Financial Aid Department would like to remind the community that it is a free resource for all college bound students in the district, whether or not the student attends RVC. The Financial Aid Department at RVC can assist students in completing the FAFSA form, provide information on how to apply for scholarships, and talk to students and organizations about financial aid in general. Many outside companies charge for this type of service.

Please call the Rock Valley College Financial Aid office at 815-921-4150 before paying any agency for these services.

District 100 Board Briefs of March 16, 2009 meeting

Click on the following:

http://www.district100.com/BOE/PDF'S/March_Board_Briefs.pdf

Monday, March 30, 2009

In April Board Meeting (4-20-2009), District 100 Administration will present criteria to be used if the Board wishes to consider transfer requests from one high school to the other.

The following is quoted from District 100’s Board Briefs.:  High School Student Requests for Transfer.  Two years ago when Belvidere North High School opened its doors, the decision was made that students could not transfer from one high school to another for a period of three years. This would allow students to identify with their home school and bond with classmates, and it would keep the two high schools demographically balanced. In April, Administration will present criteria to be used if the Board wishes to consider transfer request.

Well,  is open enrollment about to occur?

Vote for ECC bond issue --$178million for health career center | Elgin Illinois |

Very Interesting what is happening in neighboring Elgin Community College District—huge need for more health training.  Voters will be ask to decide on April 7.

The basic objective is doubling the size of their health careers program

Currently, ECC takes just 120 students a year into their nursing program (80 in the fall, 40 in the spring). The wait list is more than twice that size

4,000 local jobs to be created through proposed ECC expansion.

Click on the following two articles to read the details:

Vote for ECC bond issue | Elgin Illinois | The Elginite | Elginite.org  or

http://voteecc.com/getthefacts.html

McHenry County College—another “community engagement, planning and development” effort by UNICOM

Unicom-ARC the consulting firm used in 2005-6 for Belvidere District 100’s expansion planning and referenda will now begin the process at the Crystal Lake community college. Unicom will first receive public funds then if a referendum is run, probably receive funds from a private group to run the campaign.  The real question is how much of any of the process is really the people’s—or is it just the “selling” of the administration’s ideas?

UNICOM-ARC: When Your District Needs Hired Guns--
The  one name that pops up frequently is  “UNICOM-ARC”. This St. Louis firm has been hired by school districts in the Chicago area, including Barrington D220, Carpentersville, Deerfield D109, Glenbard High School District 87, Glen Ellyn D41, Glenview D34, Gurnee (Woodland) D50, Gurnee D56, Highland Park, Kenilworth D38, Lake Zurich D95, Libertyville/Vernon Hills High School D128, Lockport Township D205, Mt. Prospect D57, Naperville D203, North Palos D117, Park Ridge-Niles D64, Roselle D108, St. Charles, Skokie D69, Skokie (East Prairie) D73, Wheaton-Warrenville D200, and Woodstock D200, as well as in a number of school districts downstate including Belvidere D100, Collinsville D10, Springfield D186, and O’Fallon Township in St. Clair County.It’s most revealing to do a little checking around on this “UNICOM-ARC” company.

Below is  Unicom’s statement concerning their accomplishments in Belvidere.  District 100 hired them for work on the District paid study “Vision 100” and then the privately funded “Citizens with a Vision” hired them for the campaign.  Who “really paid” what?

sselections_belvidereschool1sselections_belvidereschool2sselections_belvidereschool3

spacer

Client: Belvidere Community Unit School           District 100
Challenge: The City of Belvidere, an eastern suburb of Rockford, Illinois was becoming a far west suburb of Chicago. As a result, school enrollment was exploding. Unfortunately, the District was plagued with the same kind of electoral problems facing many of the Districts in the Rockford area: multiple losses at the polls by margins at or exceeding two to one.
Solution: A community engagement program was used to generate community understanding and support for a second high school and additional facility improvements. Following that program, UNICOM•ARC worked with “Citizens with a Vision” in developing an aggressive campaign that involved extensive door-to-door direct voter contact programs, distribution of an informational video (reproduced on DVD), direct mail, movie theater slides, television advertising and automated phone calls. Following the election, the District was able to build a second high school and another elementary school and embark on the second phase of its long term plan for improving the schools.

MCC’s  board hired tax hike experts Unicom-ARC out of St. Louis to conduct a $137,750 “a community engagement, planning and development” effort

Click on the following to read more what is happening over in Crystal Lake:  McHenry County Blog

Saturday, March 28, 2009

BOONE COUNTY JOURNAL EDITORIAL: March 27, 2009

The Journal’s commentary regarding District 100’s terrible drop-out rate and the paper’s recommendations to voters this April 7, 2009.  The following is from page 3 of the Journal.  You may also access this by click on the following:  http://boonecountyjournal.com/news/2009/Boone-County-News-03-27-09.pdf#page=3

7.8 percent
The headline identifies the current student drop-out
rate in the Belvidere School District #100, as reported
last Monday. Almost eight out of 100 students in District
#100, according to administration calculations will drop
out of school.
Raise your hands, who is happy with this statistic?
The focus of the debate last week related more to the
mathematics employed to calculate the rate than to asking
how to reduce a rate that is almost twice the state of Illinois
average standing at 4.1 percent.
School board members last week did not ask, “How
did this happen?” The concern was not, “Why did we
reach this point?” No one asked, “What are we doing to
reduce that number?”
The focus of concern asked if the number was accurate
and to what extent did minorities affect the result.
Administrators founded a commission last fall to study the
matter but by last week there were few results reported after
six months of study and no direction proposed regarding
how to resolve the problem. The composition of the
commission evokes surprise that no parents participated,
interestingly, and no one could answer why parents were
ignored.
Who controls education at District #100 and who is
responsible for the drop-out rate of 7.8 percent? Outside
the district, parents exercise irrefutable control of the dropout
rate. Yet, for many hours five days every week over
nine months for 12 years, this district exercises significant
control over students and bears responsibility for the dropout
rate.
Business schools teach that a board of directors sets
policy. For example, a board that promotes a respect
for ethics is apt to employ executives that respect ethics.
Policy is set by a board and it is appropriate to conclude
that the District #100 school board sets district policy.
It is inappropriate to expect board members to engage
parents and teachers to persuade a student not to drop-out.
But it is the obligation of the board to set policy and expect
administrators to articulate plans to principals and teachers
to dissuade some students from dropping out of school.
Managing the education of children is what members of a
board of education tell the community they can do. This
board of education has ministered for years over a laissezfaire
attitude regarding a drop-out rate that now is almost
double the state average.
There is a concept in contract law that the president
of the board of education might remember. The concept
alludes to the goal to obtain fair value for fair value given.
The concept relates to the satisfaction of a contract that
has participants expecting to receive fair value when they
deliver fair value. Taxpayers in Belvidere are not receiving
fair value in exchange for their property taxes paid if the
district cannot reduce a drop-out rate that equals almost
8 percent of district enrollment; eight out of every 100
students will drop out, according to the board.
District taxpayers shovel tens of millions of dollars
into district coffers and taxpayers do not receive fair value
when board members deliver a 7.8 percent drop-out rate
and worry more if the calculation was accurately prepared
than how to resolve the problem. Mathematics is not the
problem; mathematics is the mirror that reflects the truth
In April, voters have six incumbents and two candidates
running for school board posts. Six incumbents are
asking you to vote for them to continue their policy that
has delivered a 7.8 percent drop-out rate.
This is the group that rejected two candidates who they
claimed made undefined clerical errors on applications for
candidacy. The silence emanating from the incumbents is
deafening regarding the staggering drop-out rate as they
do little work to resemble a deliberative body vested with
the power and the duty to resolve a public problem.
Taxpayers are not receiving fair value and have
nowhere to go but to use their voice. If public disfavor
with the current drop-out rate is not made clear to this
group, they will continue to worry more about the recipe
for barbecue sauce than focusing on reducing the drop-out
rate.
Call the district administrative center at 815-544-0301
and leave a message for board members. Richard Van
Evera is the current president and Ted Stenerson and Julia
Norem are former presidents and each has served multiple
terms.
Remember, 7.8 percent is the current drop-out rate and
this board of education has labored six months studying
the question without discovering a solution. This board
of education has created an ineffective system to teach
human beings, as witnessed by their mismanagement of a
learning environment that claims responsibility for almost
eight out of every 100 students dropping out of school.

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Local Eagle Scout conducting mattress drive to benefit mission’s efforts

Click on the following to read this story: 

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Local Eagle Scout conducting mattress drive to benefit mission’s efforts

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cary School Board Candidate Chris Jenner Campaigns on Internet

Well have any of School District 100 Candidates told us anything about themselves, their policies?  Look at this incumbent candidate  from District 26, Cary, Illinois.    I see a few signs and smiles around Belvidere but where is the beef?  (To quote a very old campaign question.)

More and more local candidates have decided that the internet is a good place to campaign.
Running for re-election in Cary is taxpayer advocate Chris Jenner. Here's where you find his web site.
Here's some of what the school board member who probably was the first in Illinois to proposal anti-pay-to-play legislation for a local tax district:

I am seeking re-election to the Cary D-26 school board. I’m very proud of what the D-26 board has accomplished over the past four years.
I've gained a good understanding of how the system works and what the main problems are. I'd like to continue working on the improvements that need to be made to maintain D-26’s superior delivery of educational services and bring us to a stable financial model.
I started following education closely in the late 1990s after reading several articles questioning America’s intellectual superiority. Education is a fourth need for survival, right behind food, clothing, and shelter. My involvement in education is driven by wanting our children to become a literate and educated electorate, and to be highly functional and successful in a global economic society.
When reviewing school performance, one can’t help but compare educational results with the level of spending. The primary purpose of schools is to educate children -- not to be free health care centers, jobs programs, or government fund raising operations.
Excellent education requires outstanding staff and programs, and engaged parents. It also demands that every dollar is spent as efficiently as possible, and has education of the students as the top priority.
For your children, your budget, and our community, I'm humbly asking to earn your vote on April 7.
I back up the importance I hold of educating children by my words, votes, and initiatives. Details follow, statements and votes can be verified in online meeting minutes. Call or email me to set up a neighborhood meeting if you would like to share your concerns about Cary's K-8 schools, and to get to know me and my philosophies -- and/or to help the campaign.
Phone 847-421-7655
Email cjenner01@yahoo.com
What Chris Jenner would Strive to Accomplish in his Second Term
  • Continue to support a zero-based budget process to balance the district's budget
  • Expand, formalize, and closely monitor the bidding process to improve spending efficiency
  • Continue to support and monitor implementation of Learning Expectations to keep D-26 academically strong
  • Develop a plan to significantly reduce the district's long-term debt
  • Initiate a plan that will make D-26 a leader in renewable energy in schools
  • Continue to identify and publicize government mandates and programs that force spending with little to no benefit to D-26 students
  • Resolve funding issues with money saved from reduction of waste, fraud, and corruption, rather than higher taxes
Chris Jenner's Support of Children's Academic Experience and Achievement
Chris Jenner led
  • D-26-specific Learning Expectations that exceed Illinois State Standards
  • Establishment of the Board of Education Curriculum Committee and goals
Chris Jenner supported
  • Superintendent's recommendation for class size guidelines
  • Recommended reduction in 3rd/4th grade class size guidelines
  • Plan for Brian Coleman to prepare for and become District 26 Superintendent, and his subsequent professional development
  • Adoption of Glencoe science curriculum recommended by teachers and administration
  • Approval of Educational Support Personnel handbook and associated compensation and merit pay provisions
As a public school system "outsider" I've taken the step of visiting every D-26 facility (including the Transportation Center) at least once annually while school is in session to stay in touch with what goes on in our schools.
I also support the Cary 26 Education Foundation by participating in Foundation events, setting up the Motorola Foundation to match donations to the Cary 26 Ed Foundation, and leading Board of Education sponsorship (with our own personal funds!) of a hole in the Foundation golf outings.
Chris Jenner on Fiscal Responsibility and Good Government
Chris Jenner led and authored
  • Voluntary Transparency (Policy 2:250)
  • No Pay for Play (Policy 4:60)
  • Accountability in Vendor Selection (Policy 4:60)
  • Resolution asking legislators to oppose the proposed tax swap (April 21, 2008, sec. 9.2)
  • Resolution calling for legislation to exempt schools from the Prevailing Wage Act (August 18, 2008, sec 9.2)
Chris Jenner supported
  • Directing adoption of a zero-based budgeting process
  • Sale of the Administration Center Building
  • Policy limiting board member expense reimbursement (Policy 2:125)
Chris Jenner opposed and voted against
  • Display or adoption of any budget in which planned spending exceeded revenues
  • Complying with government mandates that spend money with no academic benefit or are unfunded
  • Any motion that would lead to a net tax increase on Cary residents

Northwest Herald | 
D-300 unions to question candidates for school board Tuesday

Another teacher/school district employee union does a debate.  Hopefully this will be better than District 158, Huntley.  For those unfamiliar with the geography, it is almost right next door to District 158.   Click on the following to read the story:

Northwest Herald | D-300 unions to question candidates for school board Tuesday

The Love of Learning Lives

North High School Students Hold Book Drive - March 20, 2009

Andy Hodge, a former District #100 student, passed away in August, 2006 at the age of 22.  Given his love of reading, his parents Dr. Robert and Meg Hodge created "Andy's Books for Kids".  Belvidere North High School's Team Secretariat is collecting books for all ages through April 17.  The books will be donated to "Andy's Books" for distribution throughout the community.

All donations can be taken to the main office at Belvidere North High School, 9393 Beloit Road, Belvidere.

This is the real “Spirit of Belvidere”

Northwest Herald | D-200 
to make job cuts

What are other schools doing based upon the current economic situation. Other than Rockford and Harlem, Woodstock is geographically the closest “unit district” (K-12 grades).  Both are considered “large unit districts”; Woodstock has 6,565 students. Belvidere 9,063.  Woodstock Community School District 200 has many other numbers that are very similar (almost identical) to Belvidere Community District 100—# of schools 10 versus 11; Hispanic students 25.9% vs. 29.9%; average teachers’ salary and experience $55,918, 11 years vs. $56,736, 11.7 years; low income students 33% vs. 36%, test scores. Both districts have a state status of AEWS*.  Woodstock has two high school one (9-10 grades) one (9-12 grades); the 9-12 school rated AWS**. Belvidere has two high schools both rated AWS**.

*AEWS means Academic Early Warning Status. These schools did not make Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years and are eligible for state sanctions.

**AWS means Academic Watch Status. These schools failed to make AYP for two additional years after being placed on Academic Early Warning (or four annual calculations of missing AYP) and are eligible for additional state sanctions.

 

If you wish to study the similarities, See the charts below, click the photocopies to enlarge:

Woodstock

 

Belvidere state number

Read about the projected income short falls and cuts at Woodstock.

Click on the following to read the story:

Northwest Herald | D-200 to make job cuts

Status of Belvidere Community Schools District 100

 

Both High Schools failed to make Annual Yearly Progress, Belvidere High School is on Academic Watch Status (AWS).  Lincoln Elementary and Washington Elementary failed to make Annual Yearly Progress.  One Spotlighted, high performing school:  Perry Elementary.  Six other schools all meeting Annual Yearly Progress

AWS
AWS means Academic Watch Status. These schools failed to make AYP for two additional years after being placed on Academic Early Warning (or four annual calculations of missing AYP) and are eligible for additional state sanctions

The Spotlight Schools awards honor high poverty, high performing schools where at least 50% of students are classified as low-income and at least 60% passed (met or exceeded standards) the state reading and mathematics tests. All Spotlight Schools made annual yearly progress and sustained their performance over the past three years.

For further details go tohttp://iirc.niu.edu/SearchResult.aspx?SearchText=BELVIDERE%20CUSD%20100&type=DISTRICT

 

No
BELVIDERE HIGH SCHOOL
(9 - 12)
BELVIDERE CUSD 100
(BOONE)
BELVIDERE

No
BELVIDERE NORTH HIGH SCH
(9 - 12)
BELVIDERE CUSD 100
(BOONE)
BELVIDERE

 

No
LINCOLN ELEM SCHOOL
(K - 5)
BELVIDERE CUSD 100
(BOONE)
BELVIDERE

 

 

No
WASHINGTON ELEM SCHOOL
(PK - 5)
BELVIDERE CUSD 100
(BOONE)
BE

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - District 100 dropout rate higher than Illinois average

District 100’s drop-out rate is quite unbelievable.—7.8% compared to the state’s 4.1%.

 

 Please click on the following to read the story.

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - District 100 dropout rate higher than Illinois average

Strip-Search Case Tests How Far Schools Can Go - NYTimes.com

Here is a case which the Supreme Court is being requested to rule upon.  It comes from the Ninth Circuit which is stated to be one of the most “liberal” however the actions which the defendant (a school district) took appears unbelievable. Strip search for prescription-strength ibuprofen? What do you think?

Click on the following to read the NY Times story:

Strip-Search Case Tests How Far Schools Can Go - NYTimes.com

Six incumbents seeking re-election for Belvidere's Board of Education - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Here are the eight candidates which District 100 allowed on the ballot.  For your convenience, I have copies of the Register Star article as well as my recommendation to Vote only for Gloria and Fox (as printed in The Letter to Editor,  Boone County Journal) 

Click on the photocopies to make them larger:

 

6 candidates Bill's Recommendation

Candidate pictures

To see the original Rockford Register Star article, click on the following:

Six incumbents seeking re-election for Belvidere's Board of Education - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, March 23, 2009

Op-Ed Contributor - Reading Test Dummies - NYTimes.com

Interesting editorial  on how to make testing and test preparations a part of actual learning process.

Op-Ed Contributor - Reading Test Dummies - NYTimes.com

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Last chance high school :: The Courier News :: Lifestyles

Some models of alternative high schools are in the very near area—here is Elgin’s Alternative.

Here, the average class size is 15, which makes it easier to monitor the many rules in place -- such as the requirement that all shirts must be tucked in.

Click below to read the full story:

Last chance high school :: The Courier News :: Lifestyles

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Some Rich Districts Get Richer as Federal Money Is Rushed to Schools - NYTimes.com

Good comparison of Utah versus Wyoming schools—close as far as geography in states with widely differing state assistance to schools.  And guess which school gets more from the economic stimulus plan.

Some Rich Districts Get Richer as Federal Money Is Rushed to Schools - NYTimes.com

Friday, March 20, 2009

Update: McHenry County College’s “free tuition” to local high school graduates

As previously posted, McHenry County College has an interesting scholarship program for incoming graduates of their local high schools.  With this year’s economic situation the applications are up.  Read more at the following:

McHenry County Blog

If you are unfamiliar with the”Promise” Program, see my previous postings at:  http://district100watchdog.blogspot.com/2009/01/mchenry-county-promises-two-years-of.html

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update on D-158 Candidate Debate—Was the Teachers’ Union Unbiased

Well now for “the rest of the story”  It seems that District 158 teachers may now be not wishing to have an impartial forum/debate. Additionally, the incumbent’s attendance at closed door board meeting which discuss teachers’ negotiation is being questioned.  The incumbent’s wife is a D158 teacher.  Read what Cal Skinner has to say in Candidate Comparison Not Allowed.  Click on the following:  http://www.mchenrycountyblog.com/2009/03/candidate-comparisons-not-allowed-at.html and this later posting http://www.mchenrycountyblog.com/2009/03/huntley-teachers-union-lays-down-debate_19.htmland finally the story in the Northwest Herald

Northwest Herald | D-158 hopefuls discuss platforms

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rock Valley College offers free financial aid advice for ALL college students.

RVC Financial Aid Guidance Free to District Residents

Contact: Nancy Chamberlain, 815-921-4517

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Rock Valley College Financial Aid Department would like to remind the community that it is a free resource for all college bound students in the district, whether or not the student attends RVC. The Financial Aid Department at RVC can assist students in completing the FAFSA form, provide information on how to apply for scholarships, and talk to students and organizations about financial aid in general. Many outside companies charge for this type of service.

Please call the Rock Valley College Financial Aid office at 815-921-4150 before paying any agency for these services.

Belvidere schools hire assistant superintendent - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

New Special Education Director/Dr. Davis’ replacement.   Click on the citation below to read the article:

Belvidere schools hire assistant superintendent - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Schools wrestle with how to spend stimulus funds | csmonitor.com

 

Schools wrestle with how to spend stimulus funds | csmonitor.com

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Northwest Herald | Analysis: 
Sunshine laws more important than ever

March 15 marks the beginning of “Sunshine Week,” an annual initiative by the American Society of Newspaper Editors to remind people of the importance of open government and access to public information.  At this week’s District 100, Board of Education meeting two FOIA requests were recorded:

FOIA Request from Kate Campaigne, Director of Government Reform dated February 12, 2009.
FOIA Request from Kevin Haas, Rockford Register Star dated February 18, 2009
For better or worse, all too often FOIA is the only means to receive answers to questions you may have of your public bodies.  If possible I will attempt to report these two requests to you.

  Read more about FOIA by clicking on the following citation.

Northwest Herald | Analysis: Sunshine laws more important than ever

Literacy Council seeks volunteers - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Click on the following, to read the story:

Literacy Council seeks volunteers - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kane County Chronicle | D-303 considers all-day kindergarten

This story tells you several things—many schools, including relative rich ones such as District 303 in St. Charles, do not have all-day kindergarten.  Only half of St. Charles’ parents wanted their children in full day kindergarten.  However 2/3 of Illinois kindergarteners attend full day programs.  The story does not mention that state law requires that a half day program be available to parents.  Click below to read this story:

Kane County Chronicle | D-303 considers all-day kindergarten

Northwest Herald | 
D-158 school board candidates
 to take part in forum next week

Different school districts are very different.  The Teachers’ Union in Huntley does not endorse board candidates but sponsors forums so the voters can learn about the candidates.  I wonder if the Huntley Teachers’ Union has to pay to use the district’s facilities?  Check with your teacher friends as to what happens in Boone County.

Northwest Herald | D-158 school board candidates to take part in forum next week

Well now for “the rest of the story”  It seems that District 158 teachers may now be wishing to have an impartial forum/debate.  Read what Cal Skinner has to say in Candidate Comparison Not Allowed.  Click on the following:  http://www.mchenrycountyblog.com/2009/03/candidate-comparisons-not-allowed-at.html

Boone County - Diversity in the Classroom - The New York Times

Here are some wonderful graphics concerning the ethnic changes in our county in one generation(twenty years).

Boone County - Diversity in the Classroom - The New York Times

Here are the numbers for Illinois compared to the entire country.

http://projects.nytimes.com/immigration/enrollment/illinois

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scholarship lightens anniversary of deaths of Belvidere natives - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

May the memory of these four Belvidere High School graduates always be in our community’s heart:  Jennifer Carlson, Jason Bowers, Jerold Pilgreen, and Joseph Schultz.  Click below to see how their dreams continues.

Scholarship lightens anniversary of deaths of Belvidere natives - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

U.S. to Nation’s Schools - Spend Fast, Keep Receipts - NYTimes.com

This is what Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan, is telling educators regarding the stimulus.

U.S. to Nation’s Schools - Spend Fast, Keep Receipts - NYTimes.com

Northwest Herald | Board votes to change 
student fee structure

Well here is a sports participation fee we can compare with District 100’s.

Northwest Herald | Board votes to change student fee structure

Obama takes on teachers' unions - Jonathan Martin - POLITICO.com

Will be very interesting to see the exact statement by the President tomorrow.  Click below:

Obama takes on teachers' unions - Jonathan Martin - POLITICO.com

Monday, March 9, 2009

SmallTalk: No “transparency" in the Vallas/Rockford/charter connection

I have no comment here—just hope our friends in Rockford have an idea of the truth of things. Click below to connect to Mr. Klonsky’s blog:

SmallTalk: No “transparency" in the Vallas/Rockford/charter connection

There is another name to watch over at Rockford District 205:  Synesi and Associates.Click below to see that story:  http://michaelklonsky.blogspot.com/2009/02/vallas-watch.html

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Illinois Representatives consider lifting tax caps

There are numerous bills being proposed by the Illinois House and Senate to lift tax caps for schools.  I have liberally copy Cal Skinner’s research on the pending legislation.  If you want a voice in this matter I suggest you contact your legislator.

Representative Ron Wait (R) , 69th District, 411 S. State Street, Belvidere, IL  61008 (815) 547-7771; 219-N Stratton Office Building, Springfield, IL   62706 (217) 782-0548

Senator J. Bradley Burzynski (R), Minority Caucus Chair,  35th District, 505 DeKalb Avenue, Suite A, Sycamore, IL  60178 (815) 895-6318; also 200 S. Wyman, Suite 301, Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7557;  M103D Capitol Building, Springfield, IL   62706,(217) 782-1977

 

From Cal Skinner’s McHenry County  Blog:

Diana Rado, who used to be the Tribune's best education writer until she met one of those downsizing problems, writes as a free lancer that

the one-tenth of one percent increase in the Consumer Price Index “means most taxpayers can expect only slight increases in their 2009 tax bills, which are paid in 2010.“
She points out that tax referendums "not a very viable possibility in the current recession.”…. [However she reports the following regarding the Illinois General Assembly]
 
“One bill filed in the General Assembly in February would prevent the cap from falling below 2 percent. Another bill would allow the use of a different inflation measure in the formula—an employment cost index that tracks changes in labor costs—which could benefit school districts.”
I (Cal Skinner) find 110 bills designed to gut the tax cap.
Two concerning allowing a minimum of a two percent increase in what schools can get each year, even if the CPI is less, are
  • Rep. Art Turner's House Bill 2502 and
  • Sen. Lou Viverito's Senate Bill 2126

Turner's bill has joint sponsors—Frank Mautino, Linda Chapa LaVia, and William Davis—from each of the House Democratic Party caucuses in addition to long-time Republican tax cap buster advocate school superintendent Roger Eddy.

Viverito has no co-sponsors, but he is Chairman of the Senate Revenue Committee.
Both bills are posted for hearing next week. The House hearing is Nest Thursday at 9 AM. The Senate hearing is at 2 on Wednesday.

Members on the House Revenue Committee follow:

Chairperson John E. Bradley D

Vice-Chairperson: Frank J. Mautino D

Member: Bob Biggins R

Member: Suzanne Bassi R

Member: Mark H. Beaubien, Jr. R

Member: Linda Chapa LaVia D

Member: Barbara Flynn Currie D

Member: Roger L. Eddy R

Member: LaShawn K. Ford D

Member: Careen M Gordon D

Member: Ed Sullivan, Jr. R

Member: Arthur L. Turner D

Member: Michael J. Zalewski D

The Senate Revenue Committee members follow:

Chairperson Louis S. Viverito D

Vice-Chairperson: James T. Meeks D

Member: M. Maggie Crotty D

Member: Susan Garrett D

Member: Mike Jacobs D

Member: Jeffrey M. Schoenberg D

Minority Spokesperson : Chris Lauzen R

Member: Bill Brady R

Member: Randall M. Hultgren R

Member: Matt Murphy R

By clicking on their names, you can find their phone numbers, if you wish to call them.
Other bills to be concerned with are

  • Aurora's Rep. Chapa LaVia's HB 2237, which would take pension payments out from under the tax cap.
  • SB 1513, sponsored by Sen. James Clayborne of East St. Louis. Both are Democrats.

State tax cap puts lid on school budgets -- chicagotribune.com

Take a look at what is happening with tax caps in the collar counties of Chicago. Many districts are cutting programs and staff. There also is a movement to change the law and change the tax caps.  See my other posting on that matter.

State tax cap puts lid on school budgets -- chicagotribune.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

Symbols can mean a lot: 1935 Works Progress Administration; 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

President and Vice President Unveil New Recovery Emblem (download available)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

On Tuesday, March 3, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a new emblem to identify Recovery projects. "We're going to make it easier for Americans to see what projects are being funded with their money as part of our recovery. So in the weeks to come, the signs denoting these projects are going to bear the new emblem of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," said President Obama.
ARRA Emblem
"These emblems are symbols of our commitment to you, the American people -- a commitment to investing your tax dollars wisely, to put Americans to work doing the work that needs to be done. So when you see them on projects that your tax dollars made possible, let it be a reminder that our government -- your government -- is doing its part to put the economy back on the road of recovery," the President further explained.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stimulus to Help Retool Education, Duncan Says - washingtonpost.com

Interesting article—no real concrete proposals just some ideas as to where the U.S. Department of Education is going.  Click on the citation below to connect to the article Secretary 

Stimulus to Help Retool Education, Duncan Says - washingtonpost.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Belvidere's Perry Elementary honored by state as Spotlight School - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Great story about District 100’s oldest and smallest grade school. So what is the correlation between size of grade school and student success?

Belvidere's Perry Elementary honored by state as Spotlight School - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Below is a photocopy from the actual newspaper.  Click to enlarge.

Perry School