Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DeKalb School District 428 takes issue with Target’s property appraisal | Daily Chronicle


The DeKalb School District 428 board is hoping to challenge the assessed value of Target’s property after an appraiser estimated the value had decreased about $1.6 million in the past year.

….Andrea Gorla, assistant superintendent of business and finance for the district, said in 2009, the property was appraised at $10.2 million. In 2010, Target’s property value was assessed at $8.6 million.


district had a five-year agreement with Target that required the district to rebate a certain amount of the company’s property taxes. The agreement was that 90 percent of taxes would be rebated after the first full tax year after building operations began. The next year, 80 percent of taxes would be rebated. Gorla said in 2010, Target didn’t qualify for its tax rebate because the company appealed its property taxes.

District 428 takes issue with Target’s property appraisal | Daily Chronicle

McHenry High School Referenda–April 2011

McHenry High School District 156 in November asked taxpayers to raise the education fund tax rates. The district appealed because it faced a mounting budget deficit, at the time projected to reach more than $4 million by the end of this school year.

Despite threatened extracurricular cuts – threats that later were reversed – voters overwhelmingly said no.

On April 5, voters will be asked to approve an $8 million working cash bond issue

There also is organized opposition to this proposal as shown below: 

McHenry Citizens TaxWatch will host a tax protest party on Sunday, April 3rd, two days before the referendum for McHenry School District 156.
Meet Bob Anderson and David Yang near the corner of Route 31 and McCullom Lake Road, at the McHenry Walmart, on Sunday, April 3, from 1:00PM until 3:00PM.
The tax protest will be on the public sidewalk, not on Walmart property.
If you happen to park on the Walmart property, please park well toward the back of the lot so that you don't take parking spaces for shoppers. In fact, you might run in and make a purchase.
Think this is silly or unproductive? Well, think about your property tax bill and the annual retirement pay of recently-retired D-156 school administrator Teresa Lane. She ought to be comfortable on her $172,531/year retirement pay. Think about your neighbors who have been laid off and who are losing their homes. Think about the future.
See you there.
For more information, go to

Lawsuit filed against the St. Charles School District over Davis-Richmond plan

Does this sound like Washington Magnet School in Belvidere?  Remember that former Belvidere Superintendent Donald Schlomann (current St. Charles Superintendent) still lives in Boone County just a few blocks from current Belvidere Superintendent Houselog.

The lawsuit … alleges D-303 failed to comply with NCLB and state standards in numerous ways. It asserts the district is merging the schools' attendance areas to avoid consequences of NCLB.
"In fact, the entire purpose of the plan appears to be to combine test scores so that the new, combined school populations will have a chance to meet the AYP standards,"
according to the document.

Click on the following for more details:  Kane County Chronicle | Lawsuit filed against the St. Charles School District over Davis-Richmond plan

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dist. #100 to Offer Alternative H.S.

By James Middleton

For almost two years administrators at Belvidere School District #100 have studied current policy and what other districts have done to manage a high student drop-out rate.
In the fall of 2009, the district reported a school drop-out rate that sat at 7.8 percent, while the state average was at 4.1 percent. The result of this led to the district investigating aspects related to the potential creation of an alternative
high school.

In this week’s meeting of the Belvidere School District #100 Board of Education, board members approved by a 6-1 vote the creation of the alternative school. The purpose of the school is to better educate students that have difficulty
functioning within a typical public school classroom. Board member Darrell Fox cast the only vote in opposition to the move.

District #100 Superintendent Michael Houselog said during the meeting, “It was about two years ago that we began these discussions resulting from our drop-out rate. We believed, if we could improve school attendance we could have better schools.” He said, for example, that Belvidere
High School has since shown a 4.5 percent increase in attendance to stand this year at 94 percent attendance.

He also said that two years ago the district had more than 200 “chronic truants.” Mr. Houselog defined a “chronic truant” as a student that misses 15 unexcused days of school or more per year. From a financial perspective, he added, “For every student that drops out of school, the district loses $6,100.” He indicated that the start-up costs for the creation of an alternative school are the greatest expense. Mr. Houselog added, “If we can keep the kids attending the alternative school and pay for the start up costs, the ongoing expenses
would be paid.” Mr. Houselog said after the meeting that state aid to public education would pay the ongoing expenses for every student in the alternative school. Therefore, by persuading these students to continue to attend, the state aid
would make the school self-sustaining.

He added that North Boone School District #200 is
interested in participating and that their students could pay an additional tuition fee for their attendance and education That is a decision that will come before the board.

The Boone County Center that had been used for the pre-kindergarten classes will now be used for the alternative high school. Mr. Houselog said administrators expect that as many as 60 students could attend. After a closed executive session at the end of the meeting, the district elevated a current employee, Stephanie Bye, to serve as the first principal for the new school.

“She had been engaged in a lot of these activities in addition to her regular teaching work,” said Mr. Houselog.
He also added that the district does not now plan to fill the vacancy created by her elevation in position.

Funding to pay for the hiring of teaching staff would
come from a Federal Education Jobs Funding Bill that was
a part of the stimulus funding enacted by Congress in 2009.
The district holds $1.95 million that was received from
this program, and Mr. Houselog estimated the costs for the
school would amount to start up costs totaling $25,000;
computers and technical equipment to total about $20,000;
and expenses for staffing at no more than $400,000.
Administrators expect the alternative school day to total
the minimum five hours per day. Mr. Houselog suggested
there would not be a lunch hour in the class schedule. It is
expected that, based upon prior performance and data from
other districts, students that attend alternative school are
not, generally, interested in participating in chorus, band or
athletics, for example.
Board member Michael Rathbun asked during the
meeting if the federal money must be used to hire teachers.
District Business Manager Greg Brown said the district has
the money now and the money must be used to hire teachers
and, “we can use this money up through 2012.”
Board member Julia Norem added, “I fully support this.
These are our highest-risk kids.”
Board member John Powell asked about success rates
with students from alternative school reaching graduation.
Mr. Houselog said that some schools show a rate at or
slightly above 25 percent. However, other larger alternative
schools in more urban areas show higher rates at or above
50 percent.
Mr. Brown added that the cost to educate students at an
alternative school is about the same as other students.
When the question was called, the roll-call vote had six
members favoring the school and one member opposing the
In action that emerged from an executive session that
followed the school board meeting, the board of education
decided to elevate Ms. Bye to serve as principal for the new
In another move, board members moved to potentially
lay off as many as 167 teachers before or by the end of
the 2010-2011 school year. However, Mr. Houselog was
quoted as saying that as many as 162 of those teachers
could be called back, perhaps as soon as the April meeting
of the board of education.
It was further disclosed that this move is in response to
lower enrollments expected in School Year 2011-2012 and
additional budget cuts to remove a portion of a previously
anticipated $4 million deficit for the current fiscal year.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Belvidere School District to open alternative high school

Take a look at the actual newspaper article.  BHS graduation rate less than 80% BNHS 94%.  Is there an equity problem here?  BHS has a drop out rate of Rockford; BNHS is a suburban school. That also affects home prices.  Perhaps the real need is not an alternative high school but new high school boundaries.

Belvidere School District will open its first alternative high school at the Boone County Center this fall.

The model will allow for the district to offer a 5-hour school day in an alternative format to about 60 area students from District 100’s two high schools and even District 200’s North Boone High School in the 2011-12 school year.

The venture was approved by the Belvidere School Board  in a 6-1 vote Monday, with Darrell Fox opposed.

Check back to for the full story.

Click on the following for more details:  Betsy Lopez » Belvidere School District to open alternative high school

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

high school graduation rates

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Carpentersville’s Dundee-Crown students walk out, protest cuts for 2nd year - Courier News


Students walked out of the school building during CUP, an advisory period used for non-academic activities, Strupeck said. Outside, students “spoke amongst themselves” for about 20 minutes, mostly about their concerns about potential teacher layoffs District 300 has made in the past month, she said

protest was spurred by students after a teacher, “who assumed he would be released, told students he had been laid off,” Strupeck said. But, she said, that teacher “hadn’t gotten any such notice at that point.”

school board has asked for those concessions as it attempts to slash $8.3 million from its budget for the coming school year.

That worst-case scenario would cut a total 93.6 employees

Click on the following for more details:  D-C students walk out, protest cuts for 2nd year - Courier News

Rockford Auburn teacher escorted off campus, placed on leave | The Rock River Times


Boycce has been vocal about his stand against school closings, program cuts and the leadership style of Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield. He has expressed some of that frustration through posts on Facebook.

“They have been investigating me for the past two months,” Boyce said. “They can’t really find anything so they are now using things I am putting on Facebook.”

Early Thursday, Boyce posted a comment on the social networking site regarding the suspension of Beyer Principal David Sanders. Sanders was placed on administrative leave earlier this week for restraining an unruly student.

Click on the following for the complete story:  Auburn teacher escorted off campus, placed on leave | The Rock River Times

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rockford SchoolDistrict 205 faces Attorney General inquiry regarding Open Meetings Act | The Rock River Times

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s (D) office is launching an inquiry into at least seven Open Meetings Act (OMA) Requests for Review in relation to the Rockford Board of Education.

According to a March 16 letter from Assistant Public Access Counselor Matthew C. Rogina to Rockford Public School District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield and District 205 Attorney Lori Hoadley, “The requests raise questions about whether the Board provided proper accommodations for the March 1, 2011 meeting and whether certain members of the public were afforded the opportunity to address the Board.

Click on the following for more details:  District 205 faces Attorney General inquiry regarding Open Meetings Act | The Rock River Times

Belvidere lets dozens of teachers go and keeps school start time - – Rockford’s News Leader

Jeannie Hayes

BELVIDERE (WREX) -  The Belvidere School District releases more than a hundred teachers, but most of them could come back anyway next year.

Monday night, the school board voted to release 167 teachers and four administrators.   School Superintendent Michael Houselog say most of them will likely be called back.  He says this was more about flexibility to make sure they can put the right people in the right spots.  The board also voted not to change school start times.  Members felt it would be too hard on working families, so those times will stay the same next school year.

Belvidere lets dozens of teachers go and keeps school start time - – Rockford’s News Leader

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wisconsin School leaders say math 'doesn't add up' in Gov. Scott Walker's school district budget projections | Appleton Post Crescent |


"Walker is taking one of the biggest draws that the state of Wisconsin has, which is the fact that we have great public schools, and trashing that," said Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin. "Meanwhile, he's giving more money and more power to the unaccountable private school lobby."

Click on the following for more details:  School leaders say math 'doesn't add up' in Gov. Scott Walker's school district budget projections | Appleton Post Crescent |

Northwest Herald | Jury awards almost $900,000 in personal injury case

largest personal injury verdict against a school district or local public entity in the history of McHenry County,

intersection of Route 173 and Lakeview Road in Richmond. According to the lawsuit, the bus, driven by Rhonda Fiumetto, slammed into the back of David Fuller’s Jeep while going almost 50 mph. The impact forced Fuller’s Jeep into the westbound lane of Route 173 and in front of oncoming traffic, where it was struck by a minivan also traveling about 50 mph.

Click on the following for more more details:  Northwest Herald | Jury awards almost $900,000 in personal injury case

Northwest Herald | Teachers are losing jobs across Illinois


The Illinois State Board of Education is reporting school districts are employing 2,600 fewer teachers.

The decline may be part of the reason fewer school districts are in serious financial trouble in the current school year.

According to data released by the board, 32 school districts made the "financial watchlist" this school year, down from 39 districts last school year.

Board spokeswoman Mary Fergus says the improved financial footing came through some "painful decisions" by districts. She says there have been numerous reductions in force across the state, with districts also cutting programs such as music and art.

A board survey shows that 66 percent of districts report laying off teachers going into the current school year. That compares to only 49 percent the year before.

Northwest Herald | Teachers are losing jobs across Illinois

Friday, March 18, 2011

Boone County history represented with one-room school

The one-room schoolhouse is being built by the students of the Belvidere School District building trades classes taught by Larry Doss.

Doss teaches three classes of junior and senior students from both Belvidere and Belvidere North high schools

Boone CountyThe replica is to be as accurate as possible with period furniture or furniture built to the specifications from the time period, blackboards, doors and coat hooks taken from a Belvidere School District school built in the early 1900s. Its modern features, such as electricity, are in the design to meet current building codes history represented with one-room school

Click on the following for more details:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Using the Freedom of Information Act


The Rockford Register Star just printed this wonderful chart on using the Freedom of Information Act outlining  how citizens can access Illinois public records.

Click on  the photocopies  to enlarge.


FOIA Procedures 1 of 2

FOIA Procedures 2 of 2

Genoa-Kingston students walk out, protest layoffs | Daily Chronicle

GENOA – Dozens of students walked out of classes Tuesday at Genoa-Kingston High School to protest the layoffs of more than 40 teachers.
Citing a revenue shortfall from the state and lower-than-expected property tax dollars, the Genoa-Kingston School District 424 board

Click on the following for more details:  Genoa-Kingston students walk out, protest layoffs | Daily Chronicle

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ill. legislators pushing to end scholarships


Illinois lawmakers are once again pushing to abolish General Assembly scholarships as another state cost-saving measure during these difficult economic times.

lack of criteria established for who receives the scholarships, since most have scholarship committees who decide.

The program has also been criticized by many legislators for taking advantage of it and rewarding relatives of campaign contributors.

both houses passed a proposal that would have prevented immediate family members of campaign contributors from receiving the scholarship.

This piece of legislation is similar to the recent proposal to end tuition waivers for university employees’ children at state universities.

Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed the idea and was supportive of eliminating the scholarship

Click on the following for more of the story: Ill. legislators pushing to end scholarships

Saturday, March 12, 2011

District 100 Proposed Start time changes 2011-2012

Proposed Changes to School Start Times
Beginning 2011-2012
At a Board retreat on January 29, 2011, administration presented the Board with a proposal to change school start times beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. This same information was shared at a series of informational meetings in the following weeks. During those meetings several questions and concerns were raised by staff, parents, and community members, all of which were taken into consideration by administration. As a result, the proposal has been modified (see #2 below) and will be presented to the Board of Education for consideration at its March 21 meeting.
Current Times
Proposal #1
Proposal #2
7:40 a.m. to 2:05 p.m.
8:15 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
8:05 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Middle School
8:38 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.
9:20 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.
8:58 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
High School
7:55 a.m. to 2:55 p.m.
9:00 a.m. to 3:55 p.m.
8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
An informational meeting regarding the revised proposal will take place on Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the District’s Central Office (1201 Fifth Avenue).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Capron Elementary District 200 cited for academic achievement


Capron was selected as one of the 10 most improved elementary schools in the state to receive special recognition in 2010. The school’s test score growth of 15.5 points in 2010 gave it the highest single year growth in test scores among the state’s 3,202 elementary and middle schools.

Capron Elementary cited for academic achievement

Belvidere DECA to compete in Florida conference - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star


traditionally the Belvidere School District has picked up the tab for the international conference, Hobbs said. It’s uncertain whether that will continue this year, but district officials are looking into the costs associated with assisting the club, said Superintendent Michael Houselog.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere DECA to compete in Florida conference - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cal Skinner fights school authorities in McHenry to comply with the law

The following is an excerpt which Cal Skinner posted on his Blog, McHenry County Blog.   Cal’s own words best describes the issue


McHenry High School District Finally Puts Teacher Contract on the Internet…Sort Of

March 10, 2011 By: Cal Skinner

Since at least August 13, 2009, school districts have been mandated to post their contracts with teachers online.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that McHenry High School District 156′s teacher contract was not posted.

That’s been the law at least since this Public Act 96-0434 was signed on August 13, 2009, maybe even before since the 95th legislative session was before the 96th.

Per Section 10-20.40 of this Code, as added by Public Act 95-707, a school district must post the contract that a school board enters into with an exclusive bargaining representative. The school board must provide the terms of that contract online.

When I asked the district, this is the reply I received,

“According to our Regional office our contract does not have to be posted on our website.  If you are requesting a copy we can mail it to you.”

I called the Regional Superintendent of Education’s Office, pointed out the law and passed on the information that District 156 was using its authority as justification to post the contract.

Later yesterday afternoon, I was informed,

“We were able to get the document scanned so attached is the teachers’ contract…sorry for the poor copy of the front cover.  It is also going to be posted on our website this afternoon.”

With a large tax hike referendum on the ballot April 2, I started looking at the contract to see why the school board might not want to make it readily available

Click on the following to read the entire article on McHenry County Blog:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In the News ~ Feb. 10 - Illinois Education Association

IEA teachers across the state hear about the Washington STEM and the union’s objections.


Below are links to news stories of interest from newspapers that came up during a search today.  These links were active at the time of this e-mail, but should you want to save a story, printing it or cutting and pasting the entire article and saving it to your computer is recommended.  

Union objects to plans for Belvidere magnet school
Rockford Register Star – Belvidere Education Association teachers have little faith in the district’s plan to convert Washington Elementary School into Washington STEM Magnet this fall

In the News ~ Feb. 10 - Illinois Education Association

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Illinois General Assembly Legislative Scholarship

Tuition Waivers

Many Illinois residents have not been told that their state lawmakers have powers that go well beyond the capitol building in Springfield. They can also award a free college education to some of their constituents...
This little known program, otherwise coined the "Illinois General Assembly Legislative Scholarship" tuition waiver, gives each Illinois House Representative, and Senator, the ability to give two lucky college-bound students in his or her district a four-year education - for free.
However, many state legislators opt to, instead, give four [district] students a two-year waiver on tuition; or eight students a one-year waiver - applicable at any state-supported four-year university.
Even when allocated with the best intentions, critics have advanced the argument that these tuition waivers simply make education more expensive for everyone else in Illinois.
But the biggest complaint really is the flexibility that lawmakers have in deciding who is being awarded these "scholarships":

Above provided by the Illinois State Board of Education

Since I'm posting the names and addresses of each student awarded this lucrative opportunity by his or her State Rep. and Senator, here's a short list of what you can look for when viewing these lists:

  • Is this lawmaker repeatedly awarding tuition waivers to one household or street address?
  • Are lawmakers even awarding students who live in his or her legislative district?
  • Is this lawmaker awarding campaign contributors, or family members of campaign contributors?
  • Award relatives of other lawmakers and/or elected officials?


Representative Wait’s Scholarships granted to following:

Click on the photocopy to enlarge.

Leg Scholarship 1 of 4

Leg Scholarship 2 of 4

Leg Scholarship 3 of 4

Leg Scholarship 4 of 4

Contributors/Family Receives Scholarship: Campaign contribution taken from   located at: 1426to1450 of 1726 contributors.

Sisson, Allen
1316 Riverbend Lane
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Sisson, Allen
1316 Riverbend Land
Belvidere, IL 61008
Transfer In
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Sisson, Allen
1316 Riverbend Lane
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Sisson, Allen
1316 Riverbend Lane
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Total Sisson contribution $1,550.  Total Ill. Leg Scholarships:  2003 Kathryn Sisson—one semester. Brian Sisson 1 semester. 2005 Brain Sisson 1 semester. 2006 Rebecca 1 year 2008 Rebecca Sisson 1 semester. Total 6 semesters tuition free


Next Contributor/family Receives Leg Scholarship

The following is taken from:

located at: 426 to 450 of 1726

Drake, Dale
7646 Bel-Mar Drive
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Drake, Dale
7646 Bel-Mar Drive
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Drake, Dale & Elaine
7646 Bel Mar Dr
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Drake, Dale & Elaine
515 Pearl Street
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Drake, Dale & Elaine
7646 Bel-mar Dr
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Drake, Dale & Elaine
7646 Bel-mar Dr
Belvidere, IL 61008
Individual Contribution
Citizens for Ronald A Wait

Total Drake Contribution $2,500. Total Ill. Leg. Scholarship:  Adam Drake 2003—one semester. Adam Drake 2004—one semester. Adam Drake 2005—one semester.  Total 3 semesters tuition free.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

U of I grad assistants face big bills for back taxes - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register


About 280 graduate assistants learned by letter Feb. 22 from the university's payroll office they will be taxed for part of this year's tuition waivers starting this month, with 17 who owe more than their next few paychecks expecting not to get any pay possibly for three months,

9,454 graduate students with part-time assistantships — 5,865 at the Urbana campus — who get tuition and partial fee waivers while earning a stipend for their work. Most are not subject to the tax on tuition waivers, given that teaching and research assistants are exempt. But graduate assistants and pre-professional graduate assistants fall under the tax.

U of I grad assistants face big bills for back taxes - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

Friday, March 4, 2011

Washington Elementary School “Magnet School”

by James Middleton

Last week the Belvidere School District #100 Board of Education approved the re-creation of the former Washington Elementary School into a magnet school. The actual name the school will adopt by next fall is the Washington STEM
Magnet School. The change will mean a new, different focus on the plans.

For decades Washington Elementary School functioned as an elementary school, with students attending kindergarten through fifth grade before matriculating on to middle school. Next fall, the school will still offer a full curriculum of elementary education classes, but the new magnet school will focus on specialized classes in mathematics, science and technology. The exclusive focus of the technology area
will be on computer training and development.

Belvidere District #100 Superintendent Michael
Houselog said, “The vote of the board was unanimous and though there were questions, the board wants the administration to continue to move forward and have the process begin next school year.” The process to move
forward has already begun.

A reverse-enrollment process began last week, the day after the board vote was taken. Current Washington School students could continue attending that school, unless they  choose to transfer elsewhere. Mr. Houselog said, “We are
providing students and their parents until March 18 to decide  if they want to attend a different school next year.”

If the student and their parent wish for them to attend a different school, they should inform Washington School or the District #100 Administrative Center by March 18. “We have a current enrollment at Washington School of 760 students and 29 students, and their parents have told us they do not want to attend there next year,” Mr. Houselog added. He clarified that 10 of those 29 students will transfer to the South Middle School and the rest will go to other
schools in the district. The plan most likely is for the balance of the students to be transferred to Kishwaukee Elementary School.

However, in addition to managing the potential
29 vacancies or more at Washington School next fall, Mr. Houselog indicated that Phase #2 will be the process of discovering and allowing students from other schools to transfer to Washington. “The second phase of the  process is to open transfer enrollment to students in the other district school and that will occur on April 8,” said Mr. Houselog. He also indicated that this transfer period for students would continue, likely, through the
entire month of April.

Though Washington Elementary has become the
first magnet school in Boone County, Mr. Houselog said the new school will continue to provide a total curriculum. “The difference,”Mr.Houselog  added, “will be in
how science, mathematics and technology education will be offered.” The Superintendent
said that the time through the end of this school year, the summer and into the new fall school year will allow district teachers and administrators to travel to and meet with educators elsewhere who have created and are implementing magnet school education.Mr. Houselog suggested
district administrators want to have the staff set soon for advanced training. “We have some exceptional teachers,” Mr. Houselog added, “and
these teachers have a strong e
mphasis on the areas of focus that we want to emphasize.”
Teachers will have through the end of the current school year and into the summer to decide if they want to move to Washington School.

Mr. Houselog said that there will soon be a conference in Indianapolis that takes up many aspects of magnet school education. “There are other conferences besides the one in Indianapolis and we will have staff attending,” said Mr. Houselog. He also said that administrators are now meeting with representatives from a local college to discuss advanced training techniques in mathematics, science and in computertechnology.

The Superintendent also said that the district will soon adopt a new series of mathematics textbooks to be used in the magnet school.

Mr. Houselog also said, “Over the time that the Board has considered taking this step, some Board members have travelled wide and far to visit with other districts and to find out how they implemented and advanced their magnet

Over the following months and through the end
of the current 2010-2011 School Year, many changes are in the offing, not the least of which will be for the  administration to create the staff that will work within what will become the new Washington STEM Magnet School. By the end of this year the student enrollment will be set, but that is one of the simpler steps to be taken.

This story is taken from Page 2 of  this week’s (3-4-2011) Boone County Journal which is available free of charges at merchants across the Boone County Area.  This is also available on line at:

Legislative Scholarship Applications Now Available


Download the application here

Belvidere, IL… Applications are currently available for residents of the 69th Legislative District who may be interested in applying for an Illinois General Assembly Scholarship, State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Belvidere/Rockford) announced today.

The Illinois General Assembly Scholarship Program allows for each member to provide scholarship opportunities to residents of the district who plan on attending any in-state public university of their choice for the upcoming academic year. Representative Sosnowski will be awarding 16 one semester scholarships.

“I plan on taking a unique approach to my scholarship process,” Representative Sosnowski said. “An independent panel will select recipients based on academic achievement, community involvement and financial need. I want to reward the hard working students of my district while also helping those who may need some assistance.”

Students who are interested in the General Assembly Scholarship must meet the following criteria:

  • Live within the 69th Legislative District
  • Be accepted at the State university of one’s choice as a full time student
  • Demonstrate a commitment to community service
  • Demonstrate a need for financial assistance
  • Submit a fully completed application including essays and recommendations
  • Fully complete the Consent to Publish form

“Whether a student feels they meet the requirements or not, I encourage everyone to apply,” Sosnowski said. “I have a limited number of scholarships, but there is no limit to the amount of people who can apply.”

Legislative Scholarship Applications Now Available

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | News from Associated Press


The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling Tuesday involves a dispute at Neuqua (NEE'-kwah) Valley High School. A teen sued in 2006 after school officials blacked out the words "Not Gay" on her T-shirt. The incident happened the day after a "Day of Silence," which was held to draw attention to the harassment of gay students.

The court says a school that "permits advocacy of the rights of homosexual students cannot be allowed to stifle criticism of homosexuality."

The decision says the school was wrong unless it could prove the shirt would cause a "substantial disruption." | News from Associated Press

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Consultant makes financial projections for Belvidere Schools - – Rockford’s News Leader

The slides are available at:

that state aid will stay relatively stable, enrollment will drop slightly and property values will eventually rebound.  Staff will be cut back because of retirements.  Plus, for the next four fiscal years, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, the district will operate with a deficit.  You can see the full plan online at

Consultant makes financial projections for Belvidere Schools - – Rockford’s News Leader