Friday, July 31, 2009

Illinois Policy Institute - The College of DuPage Posts Check Register Online

"In the internet age, taxpayers shouldn't have to file Freedom of Information Act requests to get information that should be made readily available to them online."  Kudos to David Carlin and the DuPage County Board!

The Board has extended an open invitation to local people and businesses to help hone the budget.  Let’s help them out by reviewing the books. 

The College of DuPage is the leader in the “Open Book Revolution” in Illinois government. 
Board Chairman Michael McKinnon, Trustee David Carlin and all College of DuPage trustees are to be commended for consistently advancing towards the goal of community openness.   The COD Board has demonstrated government works best when regular people have access and input.  All other public schools in Illinois should follow suit.

Click on the following for the rest of the story:   Illinois Policy Institute - The College of DuPage Posts Check Register Online

All-day kindergarten coming to Hampshire :: The Courier News :: Local News

 It look like Belvidere District 100 could be making a lot of money ($200 per month for each full time kindergartener).  This might really alleviate  many financial problems. Nearly all of Belvidere’s kindergarteners are full day students with no tuition.

The Community Unit School District 300 Board of Education unanimously approved the two-year pilot program at its meeting Monday night. Kindergarten Academy will be the school district's first all-day kindergarten program.

D300 will charge a $200-a-month tuition for Kindergarten Academy students to cover those extra hours. Still, 25 students are signed up for the pilot program, and 26 for a half day.

 

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  All-day kindergarten coming to Hampshire :: The Courier News :: Local News

Thursday, July 30, 2009

SC School Board courts super for second term :: St. Charles Sun :: News

Where is District 100’s old superintendent? 

[St. Charles, IL] Under the current contract, which was signed in March 2007, Schlomann makes $225,000 a year, plus benefits including a $7,200 automobile allowance and a cell phone for district and personal use.

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  SC School Board courts super for second term :: St. Charles Sun :: News

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

McHenry County College Citizen Engagement Process Attracts 31

UNICOM-ARC is the company that “sold” District 100 their last building referendum.  They are at it again over in McHenry County.  “Community involvement” is equal to a few invited citizens and the rest school employees—who outnumber the citizens.

[31] That's the number I [Cal Skinner] counted sitting at tables.
21 women and 10 men.
There were about 60 at the first meeting.

 

Cal Skinner continue to believe that spending $137,750 on this project is unmerited. St. Louis referendum tax hike facilitator UNICOM-ARC is the main beneficiary.

 

Go to the following for the rest of the story:  McHenry County Blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A key figure in U. of I. admissions scandal quits - Chicago Breaking News

 

Trustee Lawrence Eppley submitted a resignation letter to Gov. Pat Quinn's office, and called for the other eight governor-appointed trustees to resign as well. He also called on campus administrators to "assume responsibility for their roles in this matter."

A key figure in U. of I. admissions scandal quits - Chicago Breaking News

Northwest Herald | Giving on the sly

 

McHenry County College received an anonymous donation to its Promise Program that came in at more than $1 million, program director Maureen Coates said. The program offers two years of free tuition to full-time (12- to 15-hour) students living in McHenry County and who will do 16 hours of volunteer work.

The generous donation that the college received will send about 1,000 students to school for one year. Coates said the donor chose not to give his or her name, not to avoid phone calls from other charities, but to avoid phone calls from family members who were not yet aware of the decision to donate the money.

Northwest Herald | Giving on the sly

Northwest Herald | D-300 hears wind farm proposal

 

District 300 [Carpentersville –Hampshire]  is currently a member of an informal School Wind Consortium that also includes Keeneyville District 20 and Prospect Heights District 23. In that group, the districts work together to investigate opportunities and legislation to make a wind farm “legally and financially feasible” for them.

Under the proposal before the board, the trio would formalize their efforts by agreeing to an intergovernmental agreement. The districts would then work together to explore building a 10-turbine wind farm downstate. Any spending from the district would have to come back to the board for another vote.

The money – an estimated $2 million a year after six years – made from the wind farm would be used to offset the district’s energy costs. A private investor would have control of the farm for the first six years and benefit from certain tax incentives, a move that would remove any out-of-pocket costs for the district.

 

Northwest Herald | D-300 hears wind farm proposal

Thursday, July 23, 2009

District 100 School Board Highlights for July 2009

This is available at:  http://www.district100.com/BOE/PDF'S/July_Board_Briefs.pdf

The Board of Education for Belvidere School District #100 held its monthly meeting on Monday, July 20, 2009. The following are highlights of some of the agenda items discussed at that meeting.Federal Stimulus Funds On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law a federal stimulus package known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The stimulus package provides new funding for specific existing programs such as educating economically disadvantaged youth and students with disabilities. These funds are a one-time increase in federal funding, are to be used for short-term investments, and must be spent by September 30, 2011. District 100 anticipates receiving $2,078,913 in IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) stimulus funds. These funds can be used for:short term investments that have the potential for long-term benefits, and must be consistent with the current IDEA Part B statutory and regulatory requirements. All IDEA funding should supplement local dollars and should benefit students eligible to receive special education services, with a possible 15% allocation for early intervening services.Administration proposed using the funds in the following manner: Early childhood technology lab (assistive technology and computer-based systems) $ 50,000Construction of new early childhood center $1,128,913Curriculum materials and special education curriculum consultant $ 600,000Data management system (used to make decisions with regard to instruction , $ 300,000 curriculum, staff development, learning environment, and assessments)Note: A larger early childhood center could house all children ages 3-5 in both at-risk and special education programs. Currently these students occupy space at multiple buildings. It would also expand placement options to include least restrictive environments, as defined and measured by the federal government, and expand opportunities to foster growth in targeted skill areas. The Board is expected to receive additional information regarding stimulus fund spending at its August meeting.
Strategic Plan Update: Dual Language ProgramThe District’s strategic plan calls for the consideration of a dual language program. Nicole Difford, Director of Bilingual/ELL Programs, provided information regarding the implementation of such a program.A dual language program provides instruction in two languages, with the goal being bilingual and biliterate students. Approximately 50% of the students in the program are native Spanish speakers, and 50% are native English speakers. In a successful program, students will be at or above grade level academically, will develop high levels of proficiency in their first language as well as their second language, and will demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors.District Policy RevisionsAs part of its on-going review of the District policy book, the Board approved recommended changes to policies contained in section 8. For a list of specific section titles, please refer to the agenda for the July 20 meeting posted on the District’s website, following the “About Us” and “Board of Education” links.Board ActionThe following items were presented to the Board and approved:1. The addition of Hiawatha School District to the Boone County Special Education Cooperative2. Executive session minutes to be released to the public After closed executive session, the Board approved the following:1. One year contract with the Belvidere Education Support Staff Association (custodial union)2. Two percent pay increase for all secretarial staffQuarterly Financial InformationFund balances as of June 30, 2009, as well as a quarterly investment report, were provided as informational items. Copies of these documents can be viewed by following the “About Us” and “Board of Education” links on the District website.Performance ScorecardThe Performance Scorecard is a document presented monthly to the Board of Education showing targets established by the District’s strategic plan. The July scorecard reported there are 12 administrators representing District #100 in 27 local service and educational organizations. This is a significant increase from a year ago, at which time 4 administrators were members of 7 organizations. 
Other MattersTennis courts located at Central Middle School will be unlocked from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily for use by the public.A status report was given regarding the window replacement at Washington Elementary School and the digging of the geo thermal wells between Washington and the Central Office. Completion of the window replacement work is expected by August 7, and all windows will be operational by the start of school on August 20. Geo thermal drilling continues to move forward.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

saukvalley.com | Appointed 
U of I trustees
 are a problem

 

Tuesday marks the final scheduled hearing by the commission. It is scheduled to release recommendations next month.

Possible alternatives include returning to a statewide election of U of I trustees

Having elected trustees was not perfect, but right now it’s looking a lot better than the current system

Perhaps the university’s alumni could become involved in the selection process, electing at least some of the trustees.

saukvalley.com | Appointed U of I trustees are a problem

Northwest Herald | MCC Board loses trust

Lack of Trust at McHenry County’s Community College.  

Click on the following for this interesting editorial regarding a college board using a college district for questionable aims:  Northwest Herald | MCC Board loses trust

Daily Herald | U-46 report shows boundary changes needed -- and needed now

This article shows that “over capacity"  and use of portable classrooms are not always an intolerable situations.

While a number of schools are well over capacity, the report called the districtwide capacity for students in elementary and middle schools "adequate."

The district has the capacity for 21,123 elementary students while its actual enrollment stands at 21,627. For middle schools, enrollment is at 7,020 but capacity is at 6,108. High schools, however, are over capacity by 1,562 students.

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Daily Herald | U-46 report shows boundary changes needed -- and needed now

Thursday, July 16, 2009

University of Illinois admissions: Elite high schools from Chicago metro area fatten clout list -- chicagotribune.com

 

Half of the 616 Illinois students who received preferential treatment from 2005 to 2009 graduated from just 22 high schools, all but one in the metro area. Meanwhile, at least 668 Illinois high schools had no clouted applicants at all.

Admissions clout clearly thrived in places where families were politically savvy and well-positioned to tap into connections with elected officials and university trustees, said educators and other observers.

Being tagged Category I didn't mean automatic admission for applicants. This year, for instance, 160 candidates were on the undergraduate clout list. Of them, 70 gained entry on their own merits, 33 were admitted after their rejections were overturned and the rest were denied

University of Illinois admissions: Elite high schools from Chicago metro area fatten clout list -- chicagotribune.com

Belvidere officials, teachers OK contract - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

a one-year contract which gives teachers and other certified staff a 0.2 percent increase to the previous base salary

Belvidere officials, teachers OK contract - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Belvidere Republican: Belvidere School District signs with teachers' union

Belvidere School District signs with teachers' union BELVIDERE – The Belvidere School District and the Belvidere Education Association announced the ratification and approval of a teachers' contract for 2009-10 school year. Both parties agreed to a one-year contract in light of current economic conditions. Terms of the agreement include a .2 percent increase on the previous base salary, plus movement for years of experience and additional education on the existing salary schedule. Revisions were made to the health care plan, including an increase in health care premiums for all employees. Language throughout the contract was revised to reflect current practices. The new contract will be placed on www.district100.com by Sept.

The above is quoted from the Belvidere Republican and is available at: 

http://belvideredailyrepublican.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3217&Itemid=47

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rockford schools to appoint interim chief - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Sheffield, 57, signed a four-year contract and will make $210,000 annually.

She still has three weeks to obtain proper certification, and if she misses the July 31 deadline, it’ll be up to the district to decide the next move for Sheffield — or the interim superintendent.

“I’m assuming that we’re just waiting on Louisiana,” Fairgrieves said.

Rockford schools to appoint interim chief - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Daily Herald | Ex U of I presidents demand reform in admissions system

 

former Presidents Stanley Ikenberry and James Stukel, have written a letter to the commission investigating the claims.

Daily Herald | Ex U of I presidents demand reform in admissions system

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Daily Herald | Police investigating Crystal Lake Dist. 47 fund transfers

"There has been a substantial amount of financial loss," Crystal Lake Deputy Police Chief Dennis Harris said. "We're not going to release the details of that as that may affect our investigation."

Daily Herald | Police investigating Crystal Lake Dist. 47 fund transfers

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Charter-school capped at sixty?

Well—don’t hold your breath—there is no cap on the number of buildings(or schools) each charter school can run.

Illinois has a self-imposed cap limit of 60 charter schools: 30 in Chicago, 15 in the Chicago suburbs and 15 in the rest of the state.

Only five more charter licenses remain for the state.

Click on the following:  Charter-school cap, safety measures top lawmaker’s talk - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

U of I President White to testify

July 8, 2009

U of I President: Corrective Action on Admissions Promised

Restates commitment to fair, transparent process

At the direction of the Board of Trustees, I write to convey a message to the University of Illinois community and the people of Illinois about the admissions matters currently under examination by the Admissions Review Commission (ARC) chaired by Judge Abner Mikva.

The Board of Trustees and the Administration are resolved to continue to treat these problems with the seriousness they warrant. As Chancellor Richard Herman recognized in his testimony before the Commission, problems exist with the University’s current admissions practices that must be corrected. The University will continue to fully cooperate with the Commission to enable ARC members to fulfill their mission as chartered by Governor Pat Quinn. In recent weeks, the University has provided the Commission and the media with more than 5,000 pages of relevant documents in response to Freedom of Information Act and other requests. Witnesses have come forward, as requested by the Commission, for interviews with the ARC’s staff and for formal testimony before the Commission.

Our goal as a University is to fully air the problems with our current admissions practices so that we can take corrective action and ensure public confidence in our admissions process going forward. As the ARC continues its work, the Board of Trustees and administration of the University continue our own examination of our admissions practices as well as those at peer institutions for the purpose of identifying best practices and ideas for improvement. We will share them with the Commission for its consideration.

We are committed to having a fair and transparent admissions process that is free from inappropriate interference and pressures. Our admissions process must enable us to compete successfully with peer institutions in attracting students who will compose outstanding classes for our colleges and schools. That is my commitment as president of the University and it is the mandate of the Board of Trustees.

I look forward to testifying before the Commission in the days ahead. I am grateful to Judge Mikva and members of the ARC for serving the state in this important capacity.

Documents: Law school billed U. of I. for $300K in "scholarship support" -- chicagotribune.com

 

The University of Illinois law school received more than $300,000 in scholarship money from the chancellor during a four-year period in exchange for accepting underqualified, but politically connected, students, newly released documents show.

Law School officials demanded the money as a payment for admitting applicants whose weak academic credentials threatened to lower the class profile, according to the records. Officials then used the money to entice better-qualified applicants to attend the school, and thereby help raise the school's median GPA and test scores, a critical component of the U.S. News & World Report ranking system.

Documents: Law school billed U. of I. for $300K in "scholarship support" -- chicagotribune.com

New GI Bill benefits influence more vets to head to school - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

 

number of vets attending college is expected to increase by 30% from last year and colleges try to prepare for the influx

New GI Bill benefits influence more vets to head to school - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Northwest Herald | Job seekers face long odds

 

“We don’t like to see people out of work, but we do like to see a lot of high-quality applicants,” said John Light, District 300’s director of human resources.

One special education position in the district recently netted nearly 390 applicants. When the economy was good, Light said, he wouldn’t have seen half that many.

Northwest Herald | Job seekers face long odds

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Chronicle | St. Charles to add more mobile classrooms this fall

“The mobiles are a necessary evil for bad planning. The school district asked for too much and wanted to build too much. Do you know how much we’re paying in property taxes here?”

The Chronicle | St. Charles to add more mobile classrooms this fall