Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New schools chief not yet certified - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Read the story and the comments—It tells you that boards of educations think they know better than anyone—Right?   At District 100,  James D. Metz acted as the district’s business manger for five years and never met the state education requirements.  The Board of Education paid his six figure salary and Dr. Fairgrieves and his Regional Office found a way to look the other way.

Ok people all the other comments are irrelevant. She is NOT certified. Do we not learn from our past mistakes???? It makes no sense at all do to a nationwide search and bring in someone who is NOT certified. I must say politics at its best. That is why my child will never attend district 205. Its showing its incompetence once again. It disgusts me!!!!

Click on the following for the whole story:  New schools chief not yet certified - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Ex-U of I official: 'wanted to deny' some students

 

A former admissions official at the University of Illinois testified Monday that the school should discontinue use of a special system for admitting politically connected students, saying there were students the office "wanted to deny, who we were told to admit."

Members of the clout list were added by the University of Illinois Foundation, an independent fundraising group, along with deans' offices, the chancellor's office, the university board of trustees, the university president's office and the school's government relations office, Montoya said.

Click on the following:  JG-TC.com > Ap-state-il > Ex-U of I official: 'wanted to deny' some students

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - District 100 anticipates receiving Title I stimulus funds

The $677,202 for District #100 can be used for a variety of needs. One area is professional development, including effective implementation of instructional technology tools, for Title 1 teachers in targeted assistance programs about the use of data to help student achievement.

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - District 100 anticipates receiving Title I stimulus funds

Performance pay for Superintendent Houselog in the amount of $10,700.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

700 NYC teachers are paid to do nothing - Yahoo! News

Once their hearings are over, they are either sent back to the classroom or fired. But because their cases are heard by 23 arbitrators who work only five days a month, stints of two or three years in a rubber room are common, and some teachers have been there for five or six.

Many teachers say they are being punished because they ran afoul of a vindictive boss or because they blew the whistle when somebody fudged test scores.

700 NYC teachers are paid to do nothing - Yahoo! News

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Truck driver training available through grant funds

Funds for training may also be available through the Dislocated Workers Program for qualified applicants.

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Truck driver training available through grant funds

Northwest Herald | D-158 to host public meetings on stimulus funds

Huntley, District 158 is slightly smaller than Belvidere District 100. (8200 versus 9600)  Has there been any input from public here in Belvidere?

$1.6 million it is set to receive in federal stimulus funds designated for special education use.

Northwest Herald | D-158 to host public meetings on stimulus funds

Saturday, June 20, 2009

U. of I. trustees used clout list -- chicagotribune.com

 

Newly obtained records reveal nearly 100 instances where trustees backed applicants in the last three years alone, including their relatives and the children of colleagues and "key employees."
Every member of the board took part, except for Edward McMillan, who became a trustee just months ago

U. of I. trustees used clout list -- chicagotribune.com

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feds look for Blago role in NIU admissions | Daily Chronicle

 

— Federal prosecutors are investigating possible contacts between ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his political allies involving admissions at Northern Illinois University and two other state universities.

Spokesmen for Northern, the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University confirmed Thursday they had received subpoenas for records of any such contacts.

Feds look for Blago role in NIU admissions | Daily Chronicle

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Higher-ups called shots on clout list -- chicagotribune.com

U Of I investigation continues on political clout and admissions.

admissions officers were at times overruled by university Chancellor Richard Herman and other top administrators when it came to politically connected students.

Chairman Abner Mikva, a retired federal judge, said he expects to ask Herman to testify before the seven-member panel, which met for the first time Tuesday in Chicago and is to complete its work by Aug. 8

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Higher-ups called shots on clout list -- chicagotribune.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tribune sues U. of I. for applicant data -- chicagotribune.com

 

Tribune is requesting grade point averages and standardized test scores of the hundreds of college applicants placed on an internal list of well-connected students.

sharing those details would violate the students' privacy even if the applicants weren't named, University President B. Joseph White wrote in a letter denying the data.

Gov. Pat Quinn, in response to the Tribune series, has appointed a special commission to investigate the university's admissions practices. It meets at 1:30 p.m. today for the first time.

Tribune sues U. of I. for applicant data -- chicagotribune.com

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tribune states it will sue U of I over FOIA request

The following is from Sunday, June 14, 2009’s Opinion Page of the Chicago Tribune.  The paper broke the story of political favoritism in the U of I admission process and now believes increase public access to the public records regarding the use of political clout should be allowed.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

 

tribune suing u of I

The Chronicle | Newsweek honor for St. Charles high schools

Newsweek's list of the best schools in the U.S., St. Charles East is ranked 1,103 nationally and 25th in the state while St. Charles North is ranked 1,167 nationally and 30th in the state

based on a ratio that takes the number of advanced placement, international baccalaureate and Cambridge tests taken by all students in 2008 divided by the the number of graduating seniors.

The Chronicle | Newsweek honor for St. Charles high schools

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Clout goes to college: Panel probing U. of I. admission practices slates its 1st meeting -- chicagotribune.com

 

Charged with investigating the use of a clout list at the University of Illinois, the state's newly appointed Admissions Review Commission will hold its first meeting at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Chicago.

The commission's report is due Aug. 8. University officials have pledged their cooperation with the investigation.

Clout goes to college: Panel probing U. of I. admission practices slates its 1st meeting -- chicagotribune.com

Friday, June 12, 2009

Politicians ‘ticked off’ their names tied to U of I clout story - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford: 1 request, 1 admission, 0 denials

Rep. Ron Wait, R-Belvidere: 1 request, 1 admission, 0 denials

Sen. Brad Burzynski, R-Clare: 2 requests, 0 admissions, 1 denial

Politicians ‘ticked off’ their names tied to U of I clout story - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

US high school graduation rate climbs to 69.2 percent | csmonitor.com

When high school seniors finally grasp their hard-earned diplomas, an average of 3 out of 10 classmates aren't beside them

graduation rates vary widely – from a low of 47.3 percent in Nevada to a high of 82.1 percent in New Jersey, according to the "Diplomas Count" study.

"Diplomas Count" computes the percentage of public school students who graduate with a standard high school diploma in four years by using a method known as the Cumulative Promotion Index, which enables comparisons across all districts. The research was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The more disadvantaged communities are improving about 50 percent faster than the more advantaged communities."

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  US high school graduation rate climbs to 69.2 percent | csmonitor.com

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rockford School Board might go paperless - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Check back at rrstar.com for more information by clicking on the following:

Rockford School Board might go paperless - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Northwest Herald | MCC hiring to meet enrollment

No doubt part of the increase is due to the Promise Program which starts this fall.  McHenry County high school graduates will be able to go to to MCC free.  For details on the Promise Program see the earlier posting at:   http://district100watchdog.blogspot.com/2009/01/mchenry-county-promises-two-years-of.html

Enrollment at McHenry County College has increased 24 percent from 2008 to 2009, as of May 27. As of May 27, 2008, 614 students had signed up for classes at the school compared to 763 on the same date this year, according to numbers provided by the college. Both high school and non-high school enrollment has increased. Much of the new high school enrollment is attributed to the McHenry County College Promise campaign, a community-funded scholarship program.

Click on the following for the rest of the storyNorthwest Herald | MCC hiring to meet enrollment

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Belvidere students help food pantry - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Seth Whitman Elementary’s service group, K-Kids, collected more than 400 items for the pantry at the elementary school last week. They challenged other schools to give donations and were able to get four area schools to donate $250 each. With the money that area schools including Caledonia, Meehan and Washington Schools donated, the kids were able to buy more than 900 items

Belvidere students help food pantry - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pantagraph.com | News | U of I suspends 'clout' applicant list; ISU says no such list exists

 

At ISU in Normal, President Al Bowman said the university doesn’t compile a separate list of admission candidates who have attracted such special-interest inquiries.

Pantagraph.com | News | U of I suspends 'clout' applicant list; ISU says no such list exists

Panel: U46 Elgin must better prepare high school students :: The Courier News :: Local News

 

In 2008, fewer than half of all juniors in U46 met state standards in reading, math and science

fall of 2008, 494 students from U46 high schools entered Elgin Community College. Of those, almost 70 percent needed to take remedial courses to brush up on their skills in one or more subjects.

Panel: U46 must better prepare high school students :: The Courier News :: Local News

Monday, June 1, 2009

Appellate Court Says School Districts May Have to File Campaign Disclosure Reports

Do you remember those newsletters which District 100 conveniently sent you before the last bond referendum?  Well is seems that maybe a “no-no” if it should happen next time.  Well anyway, here is all the “legal beagle” stuff regarding the May 22, 2009 Appellate Court case which may define things the next time around. 

I wish to thank Cal Skinner and his website:  www.mchenrycountyblog    from which this posting is taken.

What would you do if your local school district sent you this newsletter shortly before a bond referendum was to be voted upon? (You will have to click on the images to be able to read them.)

In the Fall of 2006, School District 225 in Northfield Township (Northbrook and Glenview) placed a $94 million bond referendum on the ballot.
Many of you may have seen something like what I have reproduced above and below.

Fair and balanced it is not.

Newsletters such as these are clearly sent out to encourage people to vote for higher taxes.

There was more than one Glenbard Township High School District newsletter pushing the referendum.
In all, 76,210 newsletters were printed and mailed at a cost of $12,978 in tax dollars.
The $94 million referendum passed by 216 votes out of 31.338 votes cast.
One opponent asks,

"Do you think that 72,000 mailers within 17 days
before the election made a difference?

After the 2007 the election, Citizens Organized to Save the Tax-cap filed a charge with the Illinois State Board of Elections stating that, since the District had spent more than the minimum $3,000, the school district was required to file a statement of organization as a Local Political Committee, plus file reports of contributions and expenditures.
On a 6-2 vote, the Board of Elections dismissed COST’s complaint.
Here's part of what an observer wrote about the Board of Elections meeting:

“None of the Board stated that the District’s actions were appropriate.
“Board member William McGuffage commented that these mailers were one-sided and not meant to get out the vote, but regulation of this activity is clearly too cumbersome. He noted that although the District sent out newsletters on a regular basis, these two were 'special newsletters' regarding the referendum. He questioned the taxes spent vs. benefits and suggested this activity opens school districts up to taxpayer lawsuits. He thought litigation was the proper method of remedy.
“Vice Chairman Bryan Schneider commented that any balance in the literature was buried in the lower reaches of the missive.
“[District] 225’s attorney commented that pointing out that taxes were going to go up was sufficient. He also said 'forums are the opposition’s chance for balance.' (Anyone who went to the last forums knows they were a pitch, orchestrated by the District to sell the referendum.) Schneider saw through this and suggested that if the District were truly interested in balance, they would publish filings which gave out the opinions of both sides.”
On May 22, 2009, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, issued its opinion.
The court held that government entities are not automatically exempted from the filing and disclosure requirements of the Illinois Campaign Disclosure Act, and that the dismissal by the ISBE of COST’s complaint was improper.
According to Appellate Court decision in case No. 1-07-2389:
"The [State Board of Elections Hearing Officer's] report stated that section 9–25.1 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/9–25.1 (West 2006)) permitted the use of public funds to inform taxpayers of the upcoming referendum.
"The report explained that although sections 9–1.7 and 9–3 of the Election Code have a $3,000 reporting threshold for organization and filing as a local political committee, public funds should not be calculated in determining whether the threshold is met.
"The general counsel of the Board later agreed with the hearing officer's recommendation and recommended that the complaint be dismissed, opining that the complaint was not filed upon justifiable grounds."
Commenting on the Election Interference Act, which the school district said it did not violate, the Appellate Court said,
"There is no conflict or ambiguity among the statutes in question.
"Section 9–25.1 simply serves to prohibit the use of public funds to explicitly support or oppose any specific candidate or proposition while still allowing such funds to be used to disseminate factual information to the public regarding propositions. Nothing in the statute suggests that it serves to absolutely exempt government entities from the disclosure requirements contained in the remainder of the Election Code.
"We must read the statute in the manner in which it was written and must not read into it exceptions, limitations or conditions that are not already there.
"Nothing in the statute suggests that it serves to absolutely exempt government entities from the disclosure requirements contained in the remainder of the Election Code."
Then comes the "We didn't say, 'VOTE YES!' issue:
"Petitioner argues that the newsletters the District circulated constitute an electioneering communication and, therefore, they were subject to the applicable portions of section 9–1.7.
"Respondents argue that the newsletters did not constitute electioneering communications because they did not advocate the referendum in the mailings.
So the court lays out what an "electioneering communication" is:"
An electioneering communication is defined as:'[A]ny form of communication, in whatever medium, including but not limited to a newspaper, radio, television, or Internet communication, that
  1. (1) refers to a clearly identified candidate or candidates who will appear on the ballot, refers to a clearly identified political party, or refers to a clearly identified question of public policy that will appear on the ballot and
  2. (2) is made within (i) 60 days before a general election or consolidated election or (ii) 30 days before a primary election. 10 ILCS 5/9–1.14(a)(West 2006).
But after doing so, the court says it doesn't want to get involved:
"...we decline to reevaluate the determinations as to whether the documents advocated the passing of the referendum since we do not find it to be necessary."
And the next part will send chills up and down the spines of school officials throughout Illinois:
"Here, the plain language of section 9–1.14 provides that an electioneering communication is any communication that
'refers to a clearly identified question of public policy that will appear on the ballot.' 10 ILCS 5/9–1.14(West 2006).
"The communications here clearly refer to the referendum in title and content, and thoroughly discuss it in detail.
"Respondents' arguments that the documents 'speak for themselves' in that they only encourage individuals to vote is unpersuasive. The newsletters clearly address and focus on the referendum and thus, under the plain language of section 9–1.14, are electioneering communications." [Emphasis added.]
Then, giving ammunition to future bond issue opponents everywhere in Illinois, Justice John B. Tully, Justices Joseph Gordon and Michael P. Toomin, concurring, say, "Respondents' argument that the newsletters were nothing more than communications designed to encourage individuals to vote is unpersuasive.
"The first newsletter did not discuss voting or encourage individuals to vote, it simply informed individuals on the referendum. Neither newsletter discussed voter registration.
"The second page of the second newsletter did state
'Please Vote!'

but in equally large letters above it also stated that

'The Glenbrook Bond
Referendum is the last
item on the ballot.'

"This was the only place, out of a total eight pages of newsletters, that actual voting was mentioned.

"Furthermore, the first page of that newsletter was entirely dedicated to discussing the upcoming referendum.

"There is simply no evidence that these newsletters were exempted communications 'made as part of a non-partisan activity designed to encourage individuals to vote or to register to vote,'

and especially so because the newsletters were products of a campaign directly related to the referendum and not the voters themselves.
"...we find that it was clearly erroneous to find that the newsletters did not constitute an electioneering communication under the plain language of section 9–1.14.
"For the foregoing reasons, we find that it was improper to find that petitioner's complaint was not filed on justifiable grounds, and the decision of the State Board of Elections of the State of Illinois is reversed and this cause is remanded for further proceedings."

Here's the rest of the first newsletter:


Attorneys Richard Becker and Lawrence T. Miller won the case for the taxpayers.
Former State Rep. Anthony G. Scariano and attorney John Murphy were attorneys for the school district.
The school board members were

  • Donna Rose Torf
  • Skip Shein
  • Wayne B. Berzon
  • Robert A. Boron
  • Steven Ge. Hammer
  • William Jeffrey
  • Elias Metsakis

District 100 Board Briefs for May 2009

The following Board Briefs are posted by District 100 on its website summarizing Board actions and discussion at its monthly meeting.

The item on the 2010 budget is quite interesting—an increase in state special education funding should help decrease projected deficits.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge: 

board brief 5-2009

 

board briefs 5-2009 page 2

Cal Skinner’s Posting for TODAY

Message of the Day – A Tee Shirt

“You know I couldn't pass up a tee shirt like this.

It reads,
God made
idiots.
That was
for practice.
Then
he made
school boards.

Next to it is a photo of Mark Twain with his name underneath.
And, the quote appears to be for real.
Twain died in 1910.” –Cal Skinner

FROM:  http://www.mchenrycountyblog.com/,  FOR THE QUOTE CITATION-- CLICK ON “for real’ above.  Thanks Cal—you made my day. 

Roosevelt University to open pharmacy school at Schaumburg campus - WQAD

 Rockford receives a pharmacy branch from the U of I and now Schaumburg—great news for local students.

Roosevelt University to open pharmacy school at Schaumburg campus - WQAD