Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Duffy Withdraws from Legislative Scholarship Program

State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) announced his decision to withdraw from the Illinois General Assembly Legislative Scholarship Program today.

…” the Legislative Scholarship process has very little oversight and it is not transparent. It is therefore subject to possible corruption.”

By law, each member of the General Assembly may award the equivalent of eight years free tuition to anyone based on any criteria they choose. The only limitations are that the student attend an Illinois state institution, live in the legislator’s district and is not a close relative.

Read the rest of the story at:  McHenry County Blog

Secret service investigated 'threat' from high school kids

Genoa-Kingston Schools Superintendent Scott Wakeley and Genoa Police Chief Pat Solar said the agents were there in mid-September and conducted interviews with students at Genoa-Kingston High School. Neither Wakeley or Solar said they knew the nature of the threat

The Secret Service investigated a threat made against President Barack Obama last month that local officials said were made in an online gaming chatroom by high school students in the Genoa area.

Wakeley said he believes the agents spoke with four boys

Read the rest of the story at :  Northwest Herald | Secret service investigated 'threat' from high school kids

Carpentersville’s D-300 studies wind farm

Looks like federal money is being used by the school districts. 

Just how the districts would pay for the 10 turbines remains unclear. Under the original plan, a private investor would front the construction money and 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.

But a new proposal includes District 300 using more than $22 million in Build America Bonds to cover some of the expense, with proceeds from the wind farm paying back the bonds.

Northwest Herald | D-300 studies wind farm

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

3 science teachers part of program to keep their kind around

Three Lake County science teachers have been chosen to participate in a yearlong enrichment program by the National Science Teachers Association. Other suburban winners include Hope Paskus of Kaneland Middle School in Maple Park, Brian Pelz of Crystal Lake Central High School and Rebecca Wenning Vieyra of Cary-Grove High School

The NSTA awards are given only to teachers in their second or third year on the job, Meyer said. Funding for the 15 winners from Illinois comes from Deerfield-based Astellas Pharma US Inc., which partners with the NSTA in the award program

Daily Herald | 3 science teachers part of program to keep their kind around

Elgin’s U46 middle, high schools not up to federal mandate

2009 PSAE test results show that 49 percent of the school district's juniors met or exceeded state reading standards. Last year's PSAE test results showed that 45 percent of juniors did.

By 2014, under NCLB, 100 percent of students are expected to meet or exceed math and reading standards.

U46's middle, high schools not up to federal mandate :: The Courier News :: Local News

Carpentersville’s D300 approves Phase I of wind farm plan

Down the line, when we get the investors, we'll get the money back," Prombo said. "Really, we're trying to do this at no cost to the district."

The D300 Board of Education voted Monday to approve Phase I of its School Wind Consortium plan, which would create the first wind farm owned by such a consortium in Illinois. Power created by the farm would be sold to utility companies to offset the school districts' energy bills.

The school board had voted in July to create the consortium with Keeneyville Elementary School District 20 in DuPage County and Prospect Heights School District 23 in Cook County.

D300 approves Phase I of wind farm plan :: The Courier News :: Local News

Woodstock’s District 200 utilizes alternative funding during tough economic times

 

It will also allow for the transition of the program into the high schools within three years. The grant was for $900,000, which will be awarded over the next three years.

This is the third time the district has received the grant, and the district is one of only 50 districts in the U.S. to have the dual language program where students attend classes in both English and Spanish.

“This is kind of a model program for other districts in our area,” Banker said.

Triblocal - Woodstock - Story / District 200 utilizes alternative funding during tough economic times

Monday, September 28, 2009

Board Briefs: A Publication of District 100

The Board of Education for Belvidere School District #100 held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2009. The following are highlights of some of the agenda items discussed at that meeting.
Belvidere North High School receives generous donation
Less than a year ago the Belvidere community celebrated the opening of the Milt Brown Stadium.
A 1949 Belvidere graduate and football standout, Milt Brown and his wife Mary Jo donated $1
million to the District for the construction of a sports stadium on the campus of Belvidere North High
School. Last evening, the Browns pledged up to $150,000 in matching funds for the construction of a
concessions building to be named in honor of Milt’s best friend, the late Bob Turner.
The Blue Thunder booster club began working with an architect earlier this year, and has earmarked
$21,000 from a recent fundraiser for the project. Additional fundraising efforts will take place
throughout the year.
Public hearing held on 2009-2010 final budget
A formal hearing was held regarding the District’s proposed final budget for the current fiscal year. The
budget presented was based on known costs and does not include money-saving efforts already in place.
The education fund, debt service, transportation, and working cash funds are expected to break even or
realize a positive balance by the end of the fiscal year. Projected deficit funds include:
Operations/maintenance (cost savings already in place which could result in break even balance)
IMRF/social security
Capital projects
Tort
Health/life/safety (revenue received last fiscal year for the sale of bonds; expenditures taking place this
fiscal year)
The Board of Education unanimously approved the budget as presented.
Board takes action on several itemsThe following items were presented to the Board and approved:1. Advanced web design course for next year at the high school level2. Creative writing course for next year at the high school level3. School Improvement Plans for Washington and Lincoln elementary schools4. Easement over Central Middle and North High School campuses for water and sewer to Maplecrest Nursing Home After closed executive session, the Board approved the following:1. One year contract with the Belvidere Education Support Team (paraprofessional union)Administration presents test scores and curriculum plan Just after the start of the school year, districts across the state received report cards showing student performance on standardized tests administered back in March and April. The results determine if each school, and the district as a whole, made adequate yearly progress (AYP) as defined by No Child Left Behind. In order to make AYP in 2009, each subgroup (45 or more students in a pre-defined catetory - see below) must have 70% of its students meet or exceed standards in math and reading. For the District to make AYP, each subgroup in every building, as well as each subgroup district-wide, must meet or exceed the 70% expectation. For the 2008-2009 school year, results for the district as a whole are as follows: Reading Math White Yes Yes Black Yes Yes Hispanic No Yes Asian/Pacific Islander Yes Yes Multiracial/Ethnic Yes Yes LEP (limited English proficient) No No Students with Disabilities No No Economically Disadvantaged No Yes Administration also provided information regarding the District’s integrated vision, which addresses curriculum, instruction, assessment, staff development, and the learning environment. This vision will serve as the foundation for all curriculum-related decisions as the District strives to improve test scores and to provide staff with the tools to become more effective teachers.
Board of Education: Richard Van Evera, President Doug Smiley, Vice President Julia Norem, Secretary Darrell Fox, Member John Powell, Member Mike Rathbun, Member Ted Stenerson, Member
Board member Doug Smiley recognizedSchool Board Vice President Doug Smiley will be recognized at an upcoming Illinois Association of School Boards division meeting for his membership in the School Board LeaderShop Academy. The Academy recognizes board members who participate in continuous learning and professional development programs. A member of the Board since 2005, Mr. Smiley represents District #100 residents in Belvidere Township and was recently elected to a second 4-year term.District experiences decline in enrollmentEach year all school districts in Illinois provide enrollment numbers to the state as of the sixth day of each semester. This year there are 9,091 students enrolled in District #100, which is 69 fewer than the previous fall.

Schools face new pay-disclosure requirement

So—check on your local school district after Thursday. 

Under the plan previously known as Senate Bill 2270, every school district must post on its Internet site "an itemized salary compensation report" for every employee who holds an administrative certificate and who works in that capacity. The report must include such details as base salary, bonuses, pension contributions, the cost of health insurance and any other form of compensation.
The report must be posted by Oct. 1 of every year, starting on Thursday.

Schools face new pay-disclosure requirements - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Three School Districts now apparently hit by computer fraud

I have borrowed this graphic from Mr. Skinner at:  http://www.mchenrycountyblog.com/

Also see my previous postings on September 24 and 27, 2009.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT BETWEEN DR. DONALD SCHLOMANN AND St. Charles School District

Please note that Dr. Schlomann’s contract is posted on the District 303 website—no one has to request it--it is out in the open for all to see.
Click on the following to read Dr. Schlomann’s Contract:  http://www.d303.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=42cHoxEsUXw%3D&tabid=99&mid=456

New contract, no raise for SC super

District 100’s old Superintendent gets a 3.3% raise for this year ($7,500/$225,000) from St. Charles and the newspaper calls it no raise.

Schlomann will see a new $7,500 contribution [his 403b] the first year of the contract and $15,000 the second year.

We wanted to keep his base pay constant but we also wanted to make an gesture of good faith in order to secure his services for another four years," Nowling said, adding the board is "extremely pleased" with Schlomann's performance

New contract, no raise for SC super :: Beacon News :: Local News

FBI investigating cybertheft from Sycamore Schools | Daily Chronicle

Crystal Lake Elementary was also hit for possibly $350,000.  See my posting of 9-24-2009.

Det. Sgt. Steve Cook with the Sycamore Police Department said his office was alerted by the school district on July 16 about the theft, which totals close to $300,000. The district discovered the missing money when going through payroll records, he said. More than one transaction was made over several days, he said.

FBI, confirmed that the Sycamore School District and Crystal Lake District 47 are part of their investigation, but declined to identify any other organizations involved in the case.

Thefts from businesses and other school districts around the nation have been blamed on the virus, according to media reports, which snags computer user names and passwords.

 

Click on the following for more details   FBI investigating cybertheft from Sycamore Schools | Daily Chronicle

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Listening to Everyone's Voice - What have you got to say?

Looks like everyone will be able to know superintendents’ salaries and benefits without using the freedom of information act.
 
Pay vs. Performance: Is the money right for your superintendent?

By Annie Reed and Brian Hudson
Suburban Life Publications
Wed Sep 23, 2009, 12:20 PM CDT

Three months ago the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the public has the right to see superintendents’ contracts, including the goals that school districts are required to set for them.
After the court’s decision, Suburban Life Publications collected and reviewed some three dozen superintendent contracts from suburban Cook, DuPage and Kane counties. The analysis suggests that in many districts, the contract’s performance goals — which Illinois schools boards must set according to a state law — do not have the teeth lawmakers intended

This year, Illinois lawmakers passed another law requiring transparency for superintendent contracts, this one targeting compensation. By Oct. 1 each year, districts must publish reports online showing not only salary, but also benefits, perks and bonuses for all administrators.

Read the rest of this postingListening to Everyone's Voice - What have you got to say?

School violence expert tells conference ‘people change people, not programs’

 

“We need to put kindness back in schools,” he added, pointing out that kindness disappeared from the nation’s schools with the advent of the No Child Left Behind Act. “That’s when we stopped talking about people and started talking about test scores.”

Today’s youth, he said, live in a world where half of their peers are being bullied on the Internet; many are sexting; cell phones and flip cameras can record video that can be posted on the Internet in the blink of an eye; and sex, drugs and violence are everywhere.
     “We don’t care about kids. We have an epidemic of violence. And few people care,” he said. “Adults have their heads in the sand and in other places. People don’t think these types of problems exist in their town.

Triblocal - Bolingbrook - Story / School violence expert tells conference ‘people change people, not programs’

Computer attacks at area part of nationwide probe

In Crystal Lake, cyber theft has been blamed for the loss of as much as $350,000 from district bank accounts, according to District 47 Superintendent Donn Mendoza

Sycamore School District 427 and at Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 were the work of the Clampi virus, a bug that reportedly steals money out of business bank accounts by obtaining user name and password information.

Click on the following for more details:   Computer attacks at area part of nationwide probe :: The Courier News :: Local News

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

White to resign as U. of I. president at end of year - Chicago Breaking News

w_white200x250.jpg 

In a letter to the board today, White said he will resign effective Dec. 31, but plans to remain involved with the university through fund-raising and teaching.

Click on the following for more details:  White to resign as U. of I. president at end of year - Chicago Breaking News

Dist. 303 chooses new member

Here is some old news from 2008 which is still interesting.  How come Dr. Donald Schlomann’s school district in St. Charles can have open session interviews of candidates and District 100 cannot? 

After about an hour of open interviews followed by a closed-door deliberation, the board unanimously selected Mike Vyzral to fill the seat.

 

Click on the following for more details:  Dist. 303 chooses new member | Education & Training > Education Administration from AllBusiness.com

Bill’s Objection at the Budget Hearing

The Public Hearing for the 2009-2010 Budget was at last evening’s (Sept-22-2009) school board meeting.  I made the following oral and written statement to the Board of Education.  No other member of the public spoke in regard to the budget.

Public Hearing Regarding District #100’s Final 2009-2010 Budget

I object to the $45,000 consulting fee which District 100 contracted with Mr. James E. Metz for the 2009-2010 budget year.

This is an excessive fee for only 600 hours consulting with an individual with Mr. Metz’s qualifications.  Mr. Metz was a member of this Board of Education when he was selected to succeed the retiring business manager, Assistant Superintendent Biesiadecki.  Mr. Metz worked with Mr. Biesiadecki for more than one year before Mr. Biesiadecki‘s retirement.  Mr. Metz held the title of Assistant Superintendent for a period of approximately one year after Mr. Biesiadecki retired.

Mr. Metz did not possess or pursue the required certification for a business manager. School districts are mandated by law to have a business manager with state certification.   In part due to actions by the Regional Office of Education, Mr. Metz’s title changed several times to insure that Mr. Metz’s title would reflect that he was not the “business manager” of District 100.  As stated to me by Dr. Houselog, the Regional Office of Education considered Superintendent Houselog the “business manager” of District 100 after Mr. Biesiadecki retirement.

In January 2009 Greg Brown, a Certified Public Accountant with experience with Coopers and Lybrand, was hired by the district with the title Director of Business Services.  Mr. Brown began work shortly after that date.  With a CPA, Mr. Brown possesses the requisite education for testing for the business manager certificate and is currently enrolled in formal coursework to that end.  Mr. Brown’s credentials would certainly indicate consulting from Mr. Metz should not be necessary especially after four months on the job.   Additionally, Dr. Houselog was the official business manager at District 100 for many years and should be able to advise Mr. Brown.

I am raising objection at this time because the financial details of Mr. Metz’s consulting contract were still being negotiated when the board approved the contract back some months ago.  My review of board minutes disclosed no approval of the actual amount of the contract by the board.  Your [School Board’s]  actions approving the contract appear to be in conflict with the openness and transparency principles under which a school district should operate.   I had to obtain the financial details under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2009.

In these economic times, every dollar is so precious.  I object to such an expensive consulting contract, especially to an individual who is not qualified to independently perform many of the tasks about which he is consulting.

William J. PYSSON

Monday, September 21, 2009

Belvidere High School’s incentive program requests support from local merchants

Fall 2009

To Whom It May Concern: 
We teachers at Belvidere High School organized a new program for the students of Belvidere High School last year, and we hope to continue it during the 2009-2010 school year. This new program, Individuals Dedicated to Excellence in Academics (I.D.E.A.), will challenge each student to improve his/her attendance and academic success. All students who meet the program standards for each nine week grading period will earn a variety of benefits. The following is an outline of the program: 
   4.0 Grade point average                Gold Card Member
   3.99 - 3.5 Grade point average      Purple Card Member
   3.49 - 3.0 Grade point average      White Card Member
*To be involved in the program for each quarter, all members must not have any unexcused absences and may have no more than three excused absences.*
We are soliciting donations from area businesses for prizes for this program. If your business is interested in donating to this project we would greatly appreciate your support.  We are also asking businesses to offer special incentives for our card holders.  All donations would be recognized as donated from your establishment in our program brochure, at all awards ceremonies, and in our school newsletter. 

These donations will be used for the sole purpose and benefit of the students of Belvidere High School. No donations will be awarded to those who do not meet the program’s standards. Our goal is to provide positive rewards for students who define academic excellence in our school. If you have any questions you may contact Gina Nomikoudis at 815-547-6345.   Thank you in advance for your consideration and support.
            Sincerely,
Gina Nomikoudis (BHS Teacher)                        
gnomikoudis@district100.com                 

Heather Kuligowski (BHS Teacher)
hkuligowski@district100.com

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cursive writing may be fading skill, but so what? | Daily Chronicle

Very interesting article on whether cursive is still pertinent. 

"I am not sure students have a sense of any reason why they should vest their time and effort in writing a message out manually when it can be sent electronically in seconds."
For Jeffers, cursive writing is a lifelong skill, one she fears could become lost to the culture, making many historic records hard to decipher and robbing people of "a gift."

cursive is favored by fewer college-bound students. In 2005, the SAT began including a written essay portion, and a 2007 report by the College Board found that about 15 percent of test-takers chose to write in cursive, while the others wrote in print.

Click on the following for more details:  Cursive writing may be fading skill, but so what? | Daily Chronicle

Teenagers searching for
 experience in workplace

I am sure the same situation is occurring here in Boone County.

The shortage of jobs has another less conspicuous casualty: High school work-release programs throughout McHenry County.

Business Journal | Teenagers searching for experience in workplace

Saturday, September 19, 2009

School board examines options for bond purchases | Daily Chronicle

Dekalb School District uses federal recovery funds on their school expansion program.

There are plans to issue another $35 million in Build America Bonds within the next month or so. Build America Bonds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and allow governments to borrow money for capital projects at lower interest rates. The federal government will refund 35 percent of the interest paid on the bonds.

School board examines options for bond purchases | Daily Chronicle

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Overtime: Teacher stipends carry a price :: The Courier News :: Local News

Very interesting article about sports and extra-curricula in Elgin.  Much of what it says about the hours and stipends are nearly universal. 

Click here for the story:  Overtime: Teacher stipends carry a price :: The Courier News :: Local News

Friday, September 4, 2009

Daily Herald | New law allows ECC to help hold down property taxes

 

The bill was originally supposed to cover a much broader range of school district, it was amended in May by the House to only include districts with specific projects in mind - ECC and Lockport.

The change will allow both districts more flexibility in holding down property taxes, and the choice of paying lower interest rates over a longer period of time.

According to terms of the legislation, 25-year bonds can be issued to ECC if several conditions are met:

Daily Herald | New law allows ECC to help hold down property taxes

Daily Herald | Gov. Quinn fills open U. of I. trustee slots

 

The trustees named Friday are all university graduates. The new members are former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara, Rockford Dr. Timothy Koritz, retired Exelon executive Pamela Strobel and Carlos Tortolero, president of the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Quinn also reappointed Edward McMillan, a southern Illinois businessman who resigned from the board this summer.

Daily Herald | Gov. Quinn fills open U. of I. trustee slots

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Northwest Herald | D-155 admins get raise

You seldom see administrative salaries in a newspaper so here are some from McHenry County, a high school district no less.

Community High School District 155 administrative salaries

Title 2008-2009 2009-2010 Percent change Performance bonus range

Superintendent $210,858 $217,184 3% $0-2,000 per goal attained (up to five)

Assistant Superintendent $176,105 $179,627 2% $0-3,500

Principal $166,812 $170,148 2% $0-3,500

Principal $166,812 $170,148 2% $0-3,500

Principal $164,342 $167,629 2% $0-3,500

Principal $153,160 $156,223 2% $0-3,500

Note: All salaries include 9.4 percent paid into the Teacher Retirement System. The district pays this contribution for all of its administrators.

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | D-155 admins get raise

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Daily Herald | Elgin’s U-46 won't let clerical workers combine jobs for benefits any more

 

clerical workers pick up other positions to work at least 20 hours per week, which qualifies them for district medical benefits.

Individuals who worked several jobs to get benefits last year were grandfathered into coverage this year, Broncato said. But anyone seeking to pick up an additional job to get coverage will be turned down

Daily Herald | U-46 won't let clerical workers combine jobs for benefits any more

High school turns collegial - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

This fall, 47 students enrolled in Running Start, a partnership between the Belvidere School District and Rock Valley College.

The Belvidere district is paying RVC $5,507 per student out of its general operating budget for the students to be educated, Belvidere Superintendent Michael Houselog said. The students pay only for books

High school turns collegial - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Enrollment at Kish College set to break records | Daily Chronicle

As of last week there were 43,703 registered credit hours – and the 10-day count isn’t until late this week.
“We’ve already crushed the record,” he said. “We’re up 15 to 18 percent from last year and 12 percent higher than the record.”

expects at least 400-500 more students to be enrolled at Kishwaukee College this fall than last year.

A credit hour at Kishwaukee College for an in-district student is $75, according to the school's Web site. Compare that to a credit hour at Northern Illinois University, where it's $242 for an Illinois student taking at least 15-16 credits per semester.

Click on the following for more of the detailsEnrollment at Kish College set to break records | Daily Chronicle