Sunday, October 31, 2010

Belvidere Board of Education seeks board candidate from Caledonia Township

 

Posted on District 100 website, October 26, 2010

At its October meeting, the Board of Education accepted the resignation of Rob Torbert, only two months after being seated on the 7-member board.  Torbert replaced Ted Stenerson, who took a position within the district, and has since moved to another township.

If you are interested in serving on the Board until the April, 2011 election, at which time a candidate will be elected to fill the remaining 2-year term, please submit a letter and resume to Mr. Richard Van Evera, School Board President, at 1201 Fifth Avenue, Belvidere, Illinois 61008.  Legal qualifications include:

1.  U.S. citizen for at least one year;
2.  At least 18 years of age;
3.  Resident of the State of Illinois and District #100 for at least one year;
4.  Registered voter;
5.  Resident of Caledonia Township; and
6.  Candidates must not hold the position of school trustee or school treasurer.

The deadline for receiving letters is Friday, November 12.

Click on following to view District 100 website:  Belvidere Community Unit School District 100

Friday, October 29, 2010

Illinois School Report Cards - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

See how Belvidere compares with other area schools.

Belvidere: District’s scores up but still seen as ‘average’
BELVIDERE — Belvidere School District officials say their students are producing “average” scores, showing mild progress, and its high schools are struggling with another year of not making adequate yearly progress.
The district overall has a composite 81.9 ISAT score, 51.4 on the Prairie State exam and 20.1 on the ACT. In 2009, the district’s composite was 81.4 on the ISAT, 52.6 on the Prairie State exam and a 19.8 on the ACT.
“Those are very average scores,” said Belvidere Superintendent Michael Houselog. “By 2013, all schools are supposed to be performing with 100 percent of the kids making it, but we’re sitting here knowing the thoughts of making that are really unrealistic.”
Belvidere High School is in its fifth year under academic watch, and Belvidere North is in its second year on the watch list.
“We’ve had to do some restructuring,” Houselog said of the high schools. “We want to set higher standards.”

See the rest of the area scores click on the followingIllinois School Report Cards - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Mediator will end teacher contract stalemate in Belvidere - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Superintendent Michael Houselog tells 13 News the board decided it wouldn't budge from the tentative agreement it already approved back in August.  It's the agreement teachers already voted against twice

Click on the following for more details:  Mediator will end teacher contract stalemate in Belvidere - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rock Island Sheriff investigates Sherrard school superintendent's alleged action on protest signs removal

alleges that on Oct. 25 Ms. Rodocker instructed district maintenance director John Avery to remove four signs that were placed throughout the district that read "Save our Coaches + Kids. Fire Rodocker" -- a reference to the recent firing of two Sherrard coaches, including girls basketball/softball coach Becky Ince.

The complaint alleges Mr. Avery removed the signs during his work day and with the use of a school truck and school tools. The letter alleges one of the signs placed was in Viola, 20 miles from Sherrard.

Click on the following for more details: Sheriff investigates Sherrard superintendent's alleged action on protest signs removal - Quad Cities Online

NIU Homicide/ Missing student case: Person of interest held in murder of NIU art student Antinette 'Toni' Keller | abc7chicago.com

 

person of interest is being held on charges of obstruction of justice and unlawful possession of a motor vehicle. Extradition is pending. Officials did not release details about the arrest.

Click on the following for more details:  NIU Homicide/ Missing student case: Person of interest held in murder of NIU art student Antinette 'Toni' Keller | abc7chicago.com

Even state's top schools struggle under federal law - Chicago Breaking News

many of the state's academic powerhouses -- failed to meet test targets this year, raising questions not only about the schools, but also the standard by which they are judged.

Nine of 10 high schools -- 609 of 665 in the state -- missed the mark on math and reading tests and risk federal sanctions, according to information released Wednesday by the Illinois State Board of Education.

image 

New Trier, among the state's best schools by virtually any measure, posted some of its highest scores ever on the college-entrance ACT test, which comprises half of the Prairie State Achievement Exam given to juniors. But the performance of a small group of students, those with learning disabilities, fell short of the testing target. The entire school failed as a result

A record 52.5 percent of Illinois public schools where students are tested missed the target this year, according to data released Wednesday

Click on the following for more details:  Even state's top schools struggle under federal law - Chicago Breaking News

Student from Long Grove killed in tower fall - DailyHerald.com

 

Notre Dame student from Long Grove died Wednesday afternoon when a film tower he was on toppled over in high winds, according to the university.

Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior, was filming a Notre Dame football practice from a hydraulic scissor lift when the lift collapsed at 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, the university said.

CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING FOR MORE DETAILS:  Student from Long Grove killed in tower fall - DailyHerald.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NIU student’s case now homicide probe

body found in a DeKalb park was so badly burned that investigators are unable to determine if it is that of the 18-year-old NIU student who went missing nearly two weeks ago, authorities said earlier Tuesday.

Police tape marks off the path through Prairie Park in DeKalb, where police are still working to identify human remains found in a park where a missing Northern Illinois University student Antinette "Toni" Keller was thought to be going.
(AP)

Despite that uncertainty, DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen said the probe into Keller’s disappearance has become a “homicide investigation” largely because of items found near the remains.

Click on the following for more details:  NIU student’s case now homicide probe :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Belvidere Teachers Update

union president Frank Marks many of the union members feel a lack of respect from district administrators is a major issue in negotiations

closed door discussion tonight at the district's school board meeting superintendent Michael Houselog issued this statement.

"The school board and the Belvidere Education Association reached a tentative agreement on August 6th and the association chose not to ratify the contract. Now at this time the BEA and the board will meet to discuss the matter further," said Houselog.

It's still unclear exactly what that means, whether the contract will be opened up again or if it's just a meeting to discuss what options are left.

Click on the following for more details on Channel 23’s coverage of Teacher negotiations:  Belvidere Teachers Update

Monday, October 18, 2010

District 100 does not balance its checkbook

The CPA firm of Gorenz and Associates, Limited recently completed the audit of District 100’s financials.   That report stated the district was deficient in terms of internal controls to a “significant degree”.  The specific issue concerns monthly reconciliations of the investments, savings and checking accounts. See the findings and CPA letter shown below.  Will something actually be done about this?  The issue demands that monthly reconciliation now be done but how could such a questionable business practice happen?

District 100 has a $100,000,000 budget. The county’s second largest employer, nearly 1,000 employees.   How can such a large institution not provide monthly reconciliations of its checking and other cash and investment accounts? When was the Board of Education made aware that items were not being balanced each month?  Whose duties are we talking about?  The District’s Treasurer, James E. Metz?  The Business Services Director, Greg Brown?  The Superintendent, Michael Houselog?  Are similar things happening on other accounting items at the district?  The district is required to provide financial information to the public and other agencies, each month. It certainly appears that the amounts reported on district books may or may not balance to the district’s statements from banks and investments; no one knows. The only actual  reconciliation appears to be that which the CPA firm does at the end of the fiscal year.

This is more than merely not posting interest income, outstanding checks are not being reconciled. Does the District really know its cash balance?

Let us bring this down to a small business level. You are ABC Company. ABC Company writes a large number of checks and does not always keep track of when or if they clear. You know what checks were written (if the check register is correct) but really don’t know if the bank cleared each check for the same amount intended because outstanding checks are being ignored much of the time. You keep track of the deposits but the (sizeable) interest  received isn’t added until later.  Are you really sure that all  deposits are in the bank?  Now how much money do you think you have? How certain are you of that amount? Is that number more or less than the “actual amount”?  How big of a check can you write without it bouncing?  You send the number totals to your owners every month. Will the owners  be happy with how you are running the business?

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

2010 audit 1 2010 audit 2

CPA 2010 letter 1

CPA 2010 letter 2

The above photocopies as well as the complete audit is available at: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/8A7PAF/$file/2010+Financial+Statements+District+100.pdf  The above photocopies are taken from pages 77, 78, 3 and 4 respectfully.

Carlson Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser - MyStateLine.com

 

life of a Belvidere mother, fundraising for a memorial scholarship continues to grow stronger.

          Jennifer Carlson was killed by a fire in Chicago.

          Her family has been raising money for scholarships to give to other single mothers attending school.

          Money from bowling tickets and the silent auction have supported three scholarships.

          Carlson’s mother says her daughter would have supported the effort.

          "Wednesday is going to be hard because it would have been her birthday, but it does lessen the fact that we're doing something good for somebody else, and that was, Jen was all about that." says barb Carlson, Jennifer’s mother.

          The family hopes to raise enough funds for four scholarships this year.

Carlson Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser - MyStateLine.com

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cheating Investigation Focuses On Atlanta Schools : NPR

 

. As many as 250,000 incorrect answers were changed to make them correct. Parents and state officials are still trying to figure out what happened

More than 50 schools in Atlanta were flagged for cheating, but the district chose to investigate only a dozen. And many critics, including the governor, complained that officials did not question enough teachers and administrators to find out who was responsible.

Click on the following for more details:  Cheating Investigation Focuses On Atlanta Schools : NPR

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Belvidere teacher talks may begin next week -

 

Joel Moeller, associate superintendent for administration and human resources, will talk with School Board members Monday about two options the teachers association wants the district to consider.
“The last time we met with the BEA (Oct. 4), they asked us to look into mediation and the idea of imposing the contract the board had tentatively agreed on for the teachers,” Moeller said. “At this point, no decisions have been made in regard to exactly how we’re going to move forward. We need more time to discuss both options with the board.”

Click on the following for more detailsBelvidere teacher talks may begin next week - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Friday, October 15, 2010

Re-negotiations not out of the question for Belvidere teachers - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

So BEA has to wait until Monday’s school board meeting to see if they can negotiate. Sounds like a lot urgency here.

Union President Frank Marks says he talked with Joel Moeller, the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, who says the school board never said it wouldn't re-negotiate.  Marks calls it miscommunication and thinks after Moeller has a chance to talk to board members Monday both sides will re-open negotiations.  Marks says if that happens, the contract will likely change so eventually there will be another vote.  The board would have to approve a new contract too.  The teachers union rejected the previous contract twice.

Click on the following for more details:  Re-negotiations not out of the question for Belvidere teachers - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rockford District 205 challenges Public Access Council’s ruling, continues battle to keep unflattering letter from public | The Rock River Times

Take a look at Rockford’s tactics regarding FOIA. This may become the model for many neighboring districts.  School Board are tight fisted with most dollars unless  money keeps the doors closed to the public.

response to the PAC’s Sept. 29 ruling that the district should release the letter, District 205 has filed for the use of a third exemption—Section 7(1)(n) of the FOIA.

letter sought by the Rock River Times is exempt from disclosure pursuant to Section 140/7 (n) of FOIA as it is a disciplinary record that is not the final outcome of the disciplinary proceeding and that this position resolves this matter.”

District 205 challenges Public Access Council’s ruling, continues battle to keep unflattering letter from public | The Rock River Times

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Comments on Belvidere Education Association Site may speak of some of the District 100 contract issues

The following is taken from: http://beaiea.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/latest-news/#comments   Commenter's names have been removed.

It appears that the proposed teachers’ contract would remove step increases. See comments in Bold.

5 comments

Comments feed for this article

August 24, 2010 at 10:20 AM

1) We teach 2-3 days more than required by the State. It will actually save them money in busing and utilities to teach 1-2 days less.
2) Get rid of CLT or reduce it to once a month. Also a money saver.

Reply

August 24, 2010 at 2:57 PM

What many of us don’t understand is how you could even consider a “revote” for the persons who did not show up at the Aug. 16 ratification meeting. I was personally saddened that the contract was not ratified, mainly because I did not wish to work without a contract!

But I was at the meeting, I voted, and I do not wish my vote nullified!

Think of it this way – if the contract had been voted yes and was ratified, would anyone consider sending around a petition to re-vote if the answer was YES?

2 things from my perspective:
The no step movement is a deal breaker; many people are depending on this money; it’s a step, not a raise. In our district, we do not get subsidies for taking classes; so those who are earning professional development or Master’s classes, must pay out of their own pocket, and depend on this step! It was my understanding that the steps had long ago been negotiated, so now, just like that-poof! it’s gone! And people will never get that money back!

Respect! We are all professional educators. But building morale has never been lower. Our ideas are not taken into consideration; instead we are told what to do, and test more and more to collect data. All of this data collection and comparison does not put “children first”–it takes away from instruction time.
and adds increased pressure on families -think about the “trickledown effect”

I understand the school board is trying to save money; but they’re putting too much on the teachers. From our “lowly” position, all we notice is the growing cabinet of administrators and superintendent getting their “fair share” and then some of income and raises. Many of last year’s administrators were changed over with high salaries, but they have been replaced with sometimes two positions at lower salaries!

Why wouldn’t we want some of this information leaked to the public? We aren’t the bad guys! Let me speak for myself – I like to teach the little ones to read! It’s not just about the money, where ‘s the respect for all the time and effort we put in already?

Reply

August 26, 2010 at 3:14 PM

After many years spent in the basement of the central office negotiating our contracts and finally getting an indexed salary schedule; I find it very depressing that as a union we would be willing to give up the whole principle of the indexed salary schedule. To not get a movement for both years of experience and further education would be a slap in the face to every teacher in our organization.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply

August 30, 2010 at 4:03 PM

I would like to agree that I do not wish my vote nullified and believe it would be the cowardly thing to do to re-vote and not have our voices heard. On a non money related issue why was it not brought up how the board approved a calendar that a large majority of the staff did not vote for? I know that several teachers served on this committee and didn’t get paid to do so all to not have our voices heard. Talk about something little that could help to boast our morale. On one last note I would like to know why a multi year contract wasn’t discussed. Maybe people would be willing to give up something little (like the 1% raise, yet honoring our steps) if in the next year or two something else was promised. At the end of the day we just want to come to school and get to teach our students!

Teachers are currently being paid based upon the 2009-2010 salary schedule which is available at:  http://www.district100.com/pdfs/09-10_BEA_Contract.pdf

See 42 and 43 for the schedule.

 

First Student workers from Belvidere join union - WREX.com

BELVIDERE (WREX) - School bus drivers, aides, and crossing guards in Belvidere join the Teamsters union.

image According to the Teamsters Local 777 web site, workers from First Student voted in favor of joining the union. 162 people make up the bargaining unit.

The group wants equal, fair pay levels and better safety

Click on the following for more details:   First Student workers from Belvidere join union - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rockford District 205 battles to keep unflattering letter private | The Rock River Times

 

The Rock River Times has attempted through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain a copy of an unflattering letter written by former Rockford Auburn High School Principal and current Freeport High School Principal Dr. Patrick Hardy. However, Rockford Public School District 205’s legal department has refused to make the letter public as of press time.

The letter was written by Hardy in response to District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield’s letter titled “Separation of Employment,” dated June 17, 2010. However, after two FOIA requests and the district’s filing of a Pre-Approval of Use of Exemption 7(1)(c) or 7(1)(f), which was denied by the Attorney General’s Public Access Council (PAC), the letter remains unread by Rockford taxpayers.

Click on the following to read the rest of the story:  District 205 battles to keep unflattering letter private | The Rock River Times

Friday, October 8, 2010

2009-2010 Teachers Salaries for Belvidere District 100

To see teacher salaries in Belvidere Community Schools go to:  http://www.district100.com/pdfs/09-10_Teacher_Salary_Compensation_Report.pdf  There are a few $100,000 teachers

Belvidere teachers set to vote on contract for a third time - WREX.

13 News obtained a copy of an email sent from Belvidere Education Association President Frank Marks to teachers.  It says on Monday the school board rejected a request to re-open contract negotiations.  The board says it already reached a tentative agreement with the B.E.A.,which board members approved.  But the teachers rejected it, twice.  The B.E.A. will vote on it for a third time.  If it passes, the contract goes into effect right away.  If rejected the union will take a strike vote.

Belvidere teachers set to vote on contract for a third time - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If You Build It, Debt Will Come: A Closer Look at the Illinois Capital Spending Spree

Take a look at this report on the Illinois’s capital spending plan.  Click on the following:http://illinoispolicy.org/uploads/files/2010CapitalPigletBook.pdf

On July 13, 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law legislation nicknamed “Illinois Jobs Now!”, which gave lawmakers $31 billion to dole out to pet projects, delaying much-needed spending restraint reforms while enabling the government’s profligate spending habits

Illinois is in dire financial shape, but that hasn’t stopped politicians from spending with vigor. In February 2010, the Illinois Policy Institute released the 2010 Illinois Piglet Book in conjunction with Citizens Against Government Waste, highlighting over $350 million in wasteful operational spending. This report provides a follow up to the 2010 Illinois Piglet Book by offering a closer look at Illinois’s capital spending plan

The following local projects are mentioned in the Illinois Piglet Book as questionable expenditures:

Page 7--land purchase/building renovation

$310,000 to the city of Belvidere

$150,000 to the Hampshire Park District;

$100,000 to the Rockford Park District for land acquisition

Page 9 Another investment that the state considers an integral part of getting Illinois’s economy back on its feet is…parks

• $100,000 for the Anderson Japanese Gardens for all costs associated with construction of a new pavilion

Governor Quinn’s capital bill digs Illinois into a $31 billion fiscal hole at a time the state can ill afford to take on additional debt. Far from being an investment in the state’s future, the bill’s expenditures are little more than a series of projects that at best should be postponed; at worst, they are simply handouts and earmarks. The state cannot afford to keep spending money it does not have—whether on regular appropriations or capital bills. Eventually, the bills will come due, and taxpayers will have to send more of their hard-earned money to government coffers.

Settlement limits L.A. teachers' seniority protection -

Although the proposed settlement only applies to L.A. schools, the ramifications could be national, said Stanford University education law professor William Koski. In essence, the case establishes that having quality teachers in high poverty schools could be considered a constitutional right in California.
"That's a pretty big deal," he said. "We've established the fact that you can't do harm to poor kids."
The agreement does not scrap seniority as a factor in layoffs. Rather, layoffs based on seniority would be distributed evenly among district schools. No school would lose a disproportionate number of instructors.

Click on the following for more details:  Settlement limits L.A. teachers' seniority protection - latimes.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Elgin U-46 elementary schools see academic improvement

In the 2009-10 school year, 18 elementary schools made adequate yearly progress the minimum level required to be considered a successful school under state and federal No Child Left Behind standards. The other 22 elementary schools in the district, which also includes all or part of South Elgin, Bartlett, Streamwood and Hanover Park, did not meet state standards.

Last year's tally was a slight improvement from the year before, when 23 elementary schools did not meet state benchmarks. But it still was worse than two years ago, when only 19 schools fell short

 

By 2014 if current No Child Left Behind standards remain in place 100 percent of students will have to score at or above grade level, spelling failure for even the highest performing schools.

Click on the following for more details: Daily Herald | U-46 elementary schools see academic improvement

Naperville Dist. 203 joins social networking debate

 

social networking regulation policy for staff and students.

teachers only using their official school e-mail addresses to communicate with students. Using personal e-mail accounts would be forbidden, as would be playing online games with students and friending students on social media websites like Facebook.

Text messaging would be frowned upon, but not expressly banned outside of the school day. … texting often is a common way for coaches to update students on practice time or location changes.

requirement for teachers to get both principal and parental consent from students before incorporating any social networking sites like Facebook or YouTube into the curriculum.

Click on the following for more details:  Daily Herald | Naperville Dist. 203 joins social networking debate

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Treasurer candidates spar over college savings fund - chicagotribune.com

 

Democrat Robin Kelly, the treasurer's chief of staff…. said "we were on top of it" and blamed a "rogue" investor who put money in mortgage-linked securities outside of the fund's parameters in 2008. The treasurer's office later recouped $77 million in a settlement.

Republican state Sen. Dan Rutherford said the treasurer's office should have fired OppenheimerFunds, which oversaw the fund.

Kelly said a contract prevents that from happening, and added that the fund managers involved are no longer with OppenheimerFunds. She also said new safeguards are in place, including more audits, and that the college savings program has otherwise earned accolades.

Click on the following for more details:  Treasurer candidates spar over college savings fund - chicagotribune.com

Friday, October 1, 2010

40 cameras to watch over Mundelein High School

Approximately 40 video cameras will keep watch over Mundelein High School as part of a new security system being added to the campus.

National studies have shown the use of video surveillance is rising at high schools and elementary and middle schools across the country.

Daily Herald | 40 cameras to watch over Mundelein High School