Thursday, November 26, 2009

Return to NIU

NIU's struggles
and triumphs

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

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

Many refuse to let that day define them.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RockValleyCollege board seeks to fill vacancy

Rock Valley College campus 

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

Materials must be received no later than Dec. 8

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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

Durham also operates school buses in Belvidere District 100.

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

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

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

Panel completes review of Grady

 

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

Panel completes review of Grady | Daily Chronicle

Durand investigates second teacher

 

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

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

88 cited for underage drinking in Peoria

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

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

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

Daily Herald | 88 cited for underage drinking in Peoria

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chicago Loop educational institutions have $4 billion economic impact

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

study-economic-output -- chicagotribune.com

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who's earning how much in our schools?

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

 Average teacher salary in Elgin U46: $69,000

Average teacher salary in Carpentersville D300: $59,028

Average teacher salary in Burlington D301: $62,211

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Missing juniors: State to crack down on testing loophole

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

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

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

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

Thornton Township,Warren,  and Gurnee district were mentioned

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

Report finds wide disparities in gifted education

 

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cary Elementary District 26 board gets referendum recommendation

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

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

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

Northwest Herald | District 26 board gets referendum recommendation

Study abroad? College students drop, rethink plans

 

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

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

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

More Student Protections to Follow Durand Teacher Sex Scandal

 

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

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

More Student Protections to Follow Durand Teacher Sex Scandal

University California regents recommend 32 percent fee hike

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

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

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

DeKalb Schools expecting small increase in property tax revenue

Money situation in a neighboring district.

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

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

Small-purse rule a growing trend at high schools

 

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

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

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

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

DeKalb Union has filed labor dispute charges against First Student

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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

 

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

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

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

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

School Board President resigns from Cary D-26

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

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

Teaching Assistants Resolve Strike at University of Illinois

 

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

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

McHenry Community College asks for Metra station

 

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

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

 

Northwest Herald | MCC asks for Metra station

Monday, November 16, 2009

Midwestern states look to promote college degrees

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Union to DeKalb District: Bus drivers will strike Monday

 

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

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

ElginCommunityCollege Board approves new parking lot

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

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

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

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

University of Illinois student instructors set to strike Monday

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

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

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

Belvidere North boys take cross country title

 

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

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

Saturday, November 14, 2009

DeKalb bus drivers reject proposed contract

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

DeKalb bus drivers reject proposed contract | Daily Chronicle

Teacher salary boosts at many 
districts outpace private sector

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

Teacher salary boosts at many districts outpace private sector

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

 

Click on the following for more details:  private sector

No debate over Elgin Community College's value

 Elgin Community College :30 ...

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 13, 2009

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

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

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

 Special ed 1

Special Ed 2

special ed 3

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

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

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

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

 

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

Both were big signs of improvement to parents.

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

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

 Leaflet may have changed Board of Education

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

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

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Report on Breakthrough Legislation for Dropout Re-Enrollment

Wow—What a statistic.

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

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

NIU panel approves capital improvements

 

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

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

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

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

Prairie Grove’s D-46 looking forward

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

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

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

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

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

Northwest Herald | D-46 looking forward

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

 

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

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Huntley School’s Special Education Parents Strike Back|

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

Below is the leaflet being distributed.

 

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

3 Winnebago Democrats face petition tests - Rockford, IL

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

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

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

Seminar addresses FOIA changes | Daily Chronicle

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

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

Seminar addresses FOIA changes | Daily Chronicle

Decision on Grady anticipated by Thanksgiving | Daily Chronicle

NIU to make a decision soon.

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

Decision on Grady anticipated by Thanksgiving | Daily Chronicle

Monday, November 9, 2009

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

 

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

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

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kish College board forming campus master plan for the Malta college

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

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

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

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

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Friday, November 6, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s very tech heavy.”

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

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

Thursday, November 5, 2009

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

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Unpaid docs owed millions

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

U. of I. waiting on millions from state

University of Illinois

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

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

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

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

 Chicago Tribune

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Student in DeKalb to implement increase despite negotiations

 

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

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

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

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

This is the second largest school district in Illinois

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janesville Schools taking steps to prevent scams

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

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

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

Schools taking steps to prevent scams – GazetteXtra

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

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

Making sense of school 
report cards

Good review of the important things to remember in all the”No Child Left Behind” testing. 

40 local schools and 14 of 19 school districts in [McHenry County] are listed as failing to make adequate progress

important to note that a school is considered failing if only one subset of students – those with learning disabilities or those learning English as a second language,

while it’s admirable to strive for perfection, it’s also unrealistic.

Most county schools, in fact, actually improved their test scores over last year. Many just didn’t improve enough according to the constantly rising bar established under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

 

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | Making sense of school report cards