Monday, December 31, 2012

Belvidere School Board member on cuts: 'Life isn't fair' - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

district expects to run a $45 million deficit over the next five years because of declining general state aid and decreasing enrollment. Administration has proposed five options to eliminate at least $3 million in expenses each year by realigning the way grades are assigned to schools.

But the Board’s final decision will likely not be unanimous.

Board President Dick Van Evera quieted the board twice at the Dec. 26 meeting: once when discussing whether to consider closing Washington Academy and a second time when discussing whether the two high schools should consolidate.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere School Board member on cuts: 'Life isn't fair' - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Sunday, December 30, 2012

North Boone issues statement on safety, grief after Sandy Hook shooting - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

While we can never prevent all acts of senseless violence, we have strong safety plans in place that have been regularly reviewed by law enforcement, fire and EMS officials," Superintendent Steven Baule said in a news release. "We work closely with those agencies to ensure a safe learning environment for all children."

North Boone issues statement on safety, grief after Sandy Hook shooting - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Friday, December 28, 2012

Parents Concerned Over Potential Cuts

 

Parents are upset with the District 100 School board after they held a meeting the morning after Christmas, without letting anyone else know. One topic of discussion: fixing the $45 million budget.

Superintendent Michael Houselog says the meeting was decided upon the Friday before, there were several items on the budget that had to be taken care of before the new year, including talks about renewing his contract. Talks about deficit reduction options were also discussed in the meeting.

President of the PTO Holly Hauk says the board isn’t being upfront with the parents about what types of cuts might be made.

Click on the following for more details & TO SEE THIS TV NEWS story:  Parents Concerned Over Potential Cuts

Belvidere School Board bandies about ideas on $45M deficit - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

In a meeting that began at 7 a.m. Wednesday, School Board members settled on five options for realigning the way grades are assigned to schools, a step that would save money by allowing the district to close buildings that are operating below capacity and to cut staff.

The goal: Reduce a deficit that is expected to hit $45 million over the next five years

The timing of the special meeting — which was announced Friday as residents made their final Christmas preparations — raised eyebrows among some parents and open-government advocates. The board spent almost one hour discussing the options at the “Other Matters” point in the agenda.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere School Board bandies about ideas on $45M deficit - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

District 100 Budgetary School Closures

Readers interested in District 100’s budget woes and school closings may want to listen to the recording of the special meeting held 12-26-2012 by the Belvidere School Board. The special meeting was at 7:OO AM and there apparently was no one from the general public present.

MP3 recording of the hour plus meeting are on the internet at: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/Public

You need to click on the Dec 26 meeting icon. There were three items which may be of specific importance to you: F1--The superintendent's salary was extended for an additional five years and G-1 the A-E options for school closings were discussed and at the very end of Item G-1, the candidates who have applied for the school board election were disclosed (another day still remains to apply).

If you wish to listen to the MP3 recording click first on the document icon of the item number. Then a MP3 icon will appear in the center of the page under the written title--click on that icon.

The long MP3 for G-1 has much discussion--it boiled down to the following items especially important to Kishwaukee School : 1. The board wants the administration to prepare more detailed presentations of option #A,B and C. (Item D and E are apparently being drop) Options A,B &C should include now consider Washington Academy (previous options excluded changes in Washington). 2. Reiteration of several things to remember (a). If Perry is closed; it could not be reopened because of the various grandfathered safety issues (b). There are sizeable life safety needs at Kishwaukee and at Caledonia which will have to be addressed in coming years-- and if they are closed and then subsequently reopened a larger reopening cost may occur. (c). Kishwaukee's heating/electric bills are not significantly different than the other elementaries. 3. Special board meetings were tenetatively scheduled for Feb 4 and Mar 4 to discuss the options. Both meetings would probably be at 6:00 PM at a site larger than Central Office so as to acommodate a large croud.

BILL PYSSON

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

School District 200 residents surveyed on new football stadium | Belvidere Daily Republican

Written by Bob Balgemann

Cashman Stabler Group, the consultant hired by the school board to develop a plan for the project, has surveyed residents and received 96 responses, which they thought was “great.”

Click on the following for more details:  School District 200 residents surveyed on new football stadium | Belvidere Daily Republican

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Belvidere Endeavor High School graduates 7 - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

Belvidere School District’s alternative high school will host its graduation ceremony at 1 p.m. Dec. 19 at 1320 East Ave., in Belvidere. Since the school opened its doors in 2011, 23 people have graduated

Click on he following to read the entire story:  Belvidere Endeavor High School graduates 7 - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, December 17, 2012

Boone sales tax referendum on April ballot - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

would increase the countywide sales tax one-percentage point up to 7.75 percent. It would generate $2.7 million in revenue its first fiscal year.
Residents rejected the referendum last November, failing the measure by 316 votes. There are an unlimited number of times the referendum can be placed on an election ballot.

Click on the following for more details: Boone sales tax referendum on April ballot - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Attention: Friends of Kishwaukee Elementary

HELP KISH!!

School Board meeting TONIGHT December 17th at 6pm!

Be there early!!

Come out tonight to support Kishwaukee! We do not want Kish to close! Let the School Board see and hear us. We need to be wearing our Kish spirit wear and pack the building! If we sit back and do nothing…it will be too late. We must show support now!

When: Monday Dec. 17th at 6pm

Where: 1201 5th Ave, Belvidere

Sunday, December 16, 2012

District 100 seeking 1% Sales Tax Referendum on April ballot

This Monday the Board of District 100 is again asking for the 1% sales tax.  If you wish, you can attend the 6:00 KPM meeting and voice your opinion.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

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To see the above, click on the following:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/Public

Northwest Herald | Ind. man with 47 guns arrested after school threat

 

Authorities say an Indiana man who had 47 guns and ammunition in his home has been arrested after allegedly threatening to kill people at an elementary school near his home

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | Ind. man with 47 guns arrested after school threat

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, CT

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Shifting winds at Bureau Valley school wind turbine in Princeton, IL

 

When the board approved the turbine in June 2004, board member Keith Bolin said that even with making loan payments on the turbine, the district could save $30,000 to $50,000 per year.

But after the first full year of operation, those profits hadn’t been seen.

“It’s just a wash this year,”

Click on the following for more details:  bcrnews.com | Shifting winds at Bureau Valley in Princeton, IL

For a similar story regarding the numbers not adding up as projected go to:

http://www.saukvalley.com/2012/06/26/district-turbine-not-up-to-speed/a4li9hj/

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Former Illini charged after another ex-Illini dies in auto accident - DailyHerald.com

 

Dallas Cowboys practice-squad linebacker and former University of Illinois player Jerry Brown was killed in a one-car accident Saturday, and teammate Josh Brent, another ex-Illini, was charged with intoxication manslaughter

Click on the following for more details; Former Illini charged after another ex-Illini dies in auto accident - DailyHerald.com

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kishwaukee Elementary School on the Chopping Block?

Quite a few parents are expected to attend a meeting here at the school tonight, with superintendent Mike Houselog. I spoke with one parent earlier who tells me she wants others to be aware of what could

Click on the following for more details:  Elementary School on the Chopping Block?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Xmas Activities

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Belvidere School District has options aplenty to plug $45M hole - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Financial services firm Prudent Man Analysis says the School District will encounter a budget deficit of $8.5 million to $9.6 million each year over the next five years because of general state aid cutbacks. Those numbers could substantially grow if funding teachers’ pensions is thrust onto the district.

Kishwaukee Elementary School PTO President Holly Houk has asked more than 100 parents to attend the Dec. 17 School Board meeting to urge officials to keep the school open. ….

“The School Board and the district need to come up with other options than closing a success story,” she said.

Read the entire article by clicking on the following:  Belvidere School District has options aplenty to plug $45M hole - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Doeren won't coach in bowl game; NIU hopes to hire new coach quickly - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

NIU announced that Dave Doeren will not coach the Huskies in their upcoming bowl game and that they will move quickly in trying to hire a new coach. Doeren was hired Saturday to coach North Carolina State,

Click on the following for more details: Doeren won't coach in bowl game; NIU hopes to hire new coach quickly - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Weekend Vote Will Bring Controversial Changes To Psychiatrists' Bible : Shots - Health News : NPR

 

Asperger's Syndrome may be eliminated: Asperger's Syndrome is currently a popular diagnosis, but soon it may not be used by mental health professionals to identify people with mild autism. Instead, there will be a spectrum of autism, and people who would once have been diagnosed with Asperger's will instead be diagnosed as mildly autistic….

There will likely be a new childhood disorder called disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: The people in charge of childhood disorders proposed this diagnosis because they felt very strongly that too many children were being categorized as having bipolar disorder and then prescribed anti-psychotic drugs.

Click on the following to read all of this articleWeekend Vote Will Bring Controversial Changes To Psychiatrists' Bible : Shots - Health News : NPR

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BCJ Editorial Calls for new District 100 Administration and Board

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The above is taken from Page 3 of this Friday’s Editorial of the Boone County Journal which is available free of cost at merchants across the county and on-line at: http://www.boonecountyjournal.com/news/2012/Boone-County-News-11-30-12.pdf#page=1

Ex-Lake Forest schools superintendent expenses reveal need for oversight, some say - chicagotribune.com

    By Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune reporter

    November 25, 2012

  • Forgave $75,000 home loan
  • Twice yearly travel to educators conference at California oceanfront resort
  • Hundreds of meals
  • Gave him free car at retirement
  • Full family medical costs through 2015, then $300 per month toward medical insurance for another 10 years
  • $15,000 on entertainment, travel, professional development, car repairs and membership dues
  • Possible conflict of interest, Griffith on bank board that oversees the districts accounts
  • 2006, a Griffith’s bank board colleagues, Joseph Pasquesi, sold a house next to the high school to District 115 for $477,000 — more than double the amount it cost four years earlier. Now used for storage purposes.

his job overseeing two small school districts in affluent Lake Forest, Harry Griffith was among the highest paid public school administrators in the state, bringing in $362,000 last academic year alone.

Read the entire story by clicking on the following:  Ex-Lake Forest schools superintendent expenses reveal need for oversight, some say - chicagotribune.com

North Boone Teacher Recognized as WGN-TV's Teacher of the Month

 

POPLAR GROVE (WIFR) -- WGN-TV’s “Teacher of the Month,” recognizing exceptional teachers for their contributions both inside and outside of the classroom, will profile Brad Breakfield of North Boone Upper Elementary School in Poplar Grove in an upcoming segment on WGN News at Nine. The series, reported by WGN News reporter Muriel Clare, WGN–TV profiles one outstanding teacher each month. As part of this honor, Mr. Breakfield will receive a $1,000 honorarium which he may use to purchase things for his classroom. At this time, Mr. Breakfield hopes to purchase four e-Readers to use as a literacy center in his classroom.

Click on the following for more details;  North Boone Teacher Recognized as WGN-TV's Teacher of the Month

Hononegah football put on probation, forced to forfeit game - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

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The IHSA determined that an ineligible student participated on the Hononegah varsity football team this past season. As a result, the program has been put on probation until October 24, 2013 and has agreed to forfeit one of its 9 wins this past season.

Click on the following for more details:  Hononegah football put on probation, forced to forfeit game - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Closing Kishwaukee School?

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I just received this by email.

KISH FAMILIES!

We are going to have a meeting this Wednesday the 28th at the school at 6pm. This meeting is going to be about the district budget cuts and how we can support Kishwaukee. Many hard decisions are going to have to be made very soon by our school board and we do not want one to be closing Kishwaukee! We are asking that you please come to this meeting and be ready to discuss all of our options. The link to some of the proposals is below.
http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/922S6370B6F3/$file/Budget%20Reduction%20Suggestions%2011-19-12.pdf

There is a school board meeting on Monday December 17th at 6pm at the district office building, that we would like all Kish families to attend! Can we have a commitment from everyone to attend this meeting? It is our children's future and we should all have a say in it. Put it on your calendar now and please plan on attending! We would like over 100 people at this meeting so please pass the word on to other Kishwaukee families that you are going!!

Wednesday Nov. 28th meeting- 6pm at Kishwaukee

Monday Dec. 17th meeting- 6pm district office building

Reposting of popular posting on North Boone’s Dr. Baule

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Highlights of newspaper chronology of Dr. Steven Baule at CUSD 201 Westmont & New North Boone Superintendent

I received this list of newspaper articles regarding Dr. Steven Baule [2010-2013, Superintendent of North Boone District 200] from an anonymous source. . Dr. Baule currently(as of 2010) is the Superintendent of Westmont, District 201. Here is what the Westmont newspaper has to say about his activities.

The article in red probably is the best indicator of why Dr. Baule will be at North Boone. Four outsiders banned together on a “Better District 200 “ platform and defeated the incumbent board president and others board leaders.

Full List of Articles

District 201 ponders closing South School. Click on the following: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/education/x510951648

District 201 votes to shut South’s doors: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/education/x1208736743

District 201 incumbents win re-election: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x879313183

District 201 parents form advocacy group: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x2110143315

Public allowed to speak at School Board meetings: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x1136424685

Parent frustrated with communications: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x1944244316

Board told by state it must respond to public's request: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/homepage/x663479545

School Board defies attorney general regarding superintendent contract: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x775333294

School Board reverses closed session policy after contacted by state: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x870893099

Residents shown doors at District 201 meeting: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x1236314424

Miller parents concerned about composition of fourth-grade class: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x859715083

Special ed parents upset about communication lapse: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/homepage/x1971618181

High school nets poor test score rankings: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/education/x1967340495

Park District to sponsor canceled trip: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x1772962332/Park-District-to-sponsor-canceled-trip

Eight residents running in District 201 School Board race: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x1996658458/Eight-residents-running-in-District-201-School-Board-race

District 201 School Board needs new leadership (letter # 2): http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/opinions/letters_to_the_editor/x1950205948/Letters-to-the-Editor

A Better 201 slate wins all board seats: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x180630277/A-Better-201-slate-wins-all-board-seats

Post Election Articles: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/education

Charges dropped against NIU officer - chicagotribune.com

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By Clifford Ward Special to the Tribune

Sex assault charges against a former Northern Illinois University police officer were dropped Tuesday after new revelations of possible irregularities in the investigation surfaced, the officer’s attorney said.

The charges against Andrew Rifkin were dropped following a hearing

Click on the following for more details:  Charges dropped against NIU officer - chicagotribune.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

D303 Superintendent Schlomann gets contract extension, sets retirement - DailyHerald.com

How much is all of this?

That base salary will be $225,000 for each year of the new contract.

Taxpayers will also pay for all of Schlomann’s required contributions to his pension and health insurance. The school district will pay 100 percent of family health insurance benefits for Schlomann under the new contract.

Taxpayers will also fund a $15,000 contribution to a tax-sheltered annuity or 403(b) or 457(b) retirement account for Schlomann.

On top of that, Schlomann will receive a 6 percent annual “retirement incentive” in the form of a tax-sheltered annuity policy or custodial account. The actual amount of the contribution will be 6 percent of the amount paid to Schlomann as his base salary, plus the $15,000 contribution, plus any redeemed vacation day payments Schlomann cashes in. Schlomann will receive that additional compensation for all four years of the contract extension.

Schlomann will also receive a $7,200 automobile allowance as well as additional reimbursement for travel related to his official duties. And taxpayers will also pay Schlomann’s monthly cellphone bill.

Click on the following for all of the details: D303 superintendent gets contract extension, sets retirement - DailyHerald.com

Did these postcards have any effect on the outcome of the Boone County Sales Tax Referendum?

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I know only of a few voters who received the postcard, did you?

Interestingly, the same “American for Prosperity” also made this freedom of information request to District 100.

Americans for Prosperity

To see District 100’s response go to:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/8ZDPMF6504E8/$file/FOIA%2010.22.12.pdf

 

About AFP-Illinois (from their website)

Americans for Prosperity is a grassroots movement of over 2 million activists nationwide who advocate and promote limited government, lower taxes, and more freedom. We have over 60,000 activists across the state of Illinois who are taking action every day on behalf of the free market movement and influencing decision makers. Whether it’s calling members of congress, gathering with fellow activists, or attending an AFP event in their neighborhood – AFP activists are making a difference in the fight against big government on the local, state and national level.

We encourage you to join the over 60,000 members of AFP in Illinois and the 2 million activists nationwide on the front line in the fight against big government. As an AFP activist we will provide you with action alerts that allow you to contact your elected officials, updates on how you can promote limited government, and the tools to make your voice heard. Together, we will hold our leaders accountable and demand that our government stop spending money it does not have and enact policies to ensure a bright economic future for our children and grandchildren.

Read more: http://americansforprosperity.org/illinois/about/#ixzz2DUTOF1Kk

 

David W. From, Illinois State Director

David From currently serves as the State Director of Americans for Prosperity – Illinois, directing and overseeing all AFP activities in the Land of Lincoln.

David brings more than fifteen years organizing grassroots, building legislative coalitions, and driving issue advocacy campaigns in Illinois. Prior to joining AFP, he ran his own political and public affairs consulting firm, providing political and communications advice to candidates and companies. David has also managed multiple congressional and statewide campaigns, serving as campaign manager to former Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert and then-Congressman Mark Kirk, as well as worked on Capitol Hill and in the Office of the Illinois Governor.

David attended Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL and currently resides in the western suburbs of Chicago with his wife and seven children.

Read more: http://americansforprosperity.org/illinois/about/david-w-from-illinois-state-director/#ixzz2DUVfaQkS

Americans For Prosperity

2111 Wilson Blvd, Ste. 350
Arlington, VA 22201

Read more: http://americansforprosperity.org/contact/#ixzz2DUk5o07Q

Monday, November 26, 2012

County Sales tax failed by 316 votes—will District 100 ask again?

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I suggest that everyone listen to the MP3 file available at District 100’s website:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/Public

Item E#3, it is shown below:

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It appears that board members with the exception of Mr. Doug Smiley support re-running the sales tax referendum in April.  However they have not voted on the issue.

The following is a summary of the MP3:

1.  The deadline for passing a school board resolution to place the referendum on the ballot is January 22, 2013.   There are two school board meeting left before that deadline.

2.  School officials have been contacted by individuals who wish to organize a campaign to support the referendum.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Daily Chronicle | NIU president addresses police, coffee fund in video

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By JILLIAN DUCHNOWSKI

His video message, posted online at www.niu.edu/president/messages/thanksgiving_2012.shtml, doesn't specifically mention the nine people indicted in connection to the coffee fund investigation, nor the NIU police chief and lieutenant on paid leave over evidence mishandled in a rape case involving an NIU police officer and NIU student.

Click on the following for all of the story:  Daily Chronicle | NIU president addresses police, coffee fund in video

Bleak numbers for District 100

The following is taken form this Friday’s Boone County Journal available free of cost at merchants across the county and on line at:  http://www.boonecountyjournal.com/news/2012/Boone-County-News-11-23-12.pdf#page=1image

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Huntley school board, teachers approve new contract - Elgin Courier News

 

three-year contract will maintain 3.5 percent step pay increases for the time teachers spend in the Huntley district each year, it said.

Click on the following for more details:  Huntley school board, teachers approve new contract - Elgin Courier News

Sunday, November 18, 2012

NIU battles to overcome scandals - Chicago Tribune

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Against that backdrop, NIU will seek a replacement for retiring President John Peters and recruit its next freshman class. For the DeKalb-based university that proudly vowed to move forward after the massacre four years ago, 2012 has marked a major step backward.

Ten employees are on paid leave while the university investigates misconduct allegations against them. The state school has paid those staff members more than $45,000 so far — nearly the cost of four students' tuition bills — not to come to work. And the amount will keep rising as the university considers the allegations and follows state and university employment and disciplinary procedures.

What's more, the Tribune learned Friday that suspended police Chief Donald Grady had asked the FBI about two months ago to help with the campus police investigation into the two university administrators who had resigned

Read the whole article by clicking on the followingNIU battles to overcome scandals - Chicago Tribune

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Belvidere kindergartners excel in dual language program - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

one of 44 kindergartners participating in Seth Whitman Elementary School’s new dual language program, which teaches native Spanish and native English speakers in one classroom.

Class is taught in English until teachers wrap “magic scarves” around their necks, signaling to students that lessons will switch to Spanish. With just a few weeks of instruction under their belts, some students already have started forming sentences in the new language.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere kindergartners excel in dual language program - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Northern Illinois University police chief put on paid leave after allegations of misconduct by department - chicagotribune.com

 

Northern Illinois University's police chief was put on paid leave Saturday and banned indefinitely from the department because of misconduct allegations. It's the latest disruption for a school that has faced a series of troubling events in recent months.

Click on the following for more details:  Northern Illinois University police chief put on paid leave after allegations of misconduct by department - chicagotribune.com

This is not the first controversy for Chief Grady.  There was an opinion piece by the Northern Illinois Star, student newspaper  in 2009 opining that Grady should be removed.  Click on the following: 

http://district100watchdog.blogspot.com/2009/10/niu-police-chief-donald-grady-needs-to.html

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Letter: Is the promise of property tax abatement worth it? - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

If voters approve the proposed one percent sales tax referendum, District 100 will have additional bonding authority, allowing them to increase school district debt. District 100 will have the power to borrow and spend $24.7 million on capital projects of their choice. They could build a new school, additions at existing schools or a swimming pool at the high school without having to go to referendum and obtain taxpayer approval.

Property tax abatement is at the discretion of the school board. No matter what promises are made, neither the current school board nor any future school board is legally obligated under the law to abate property taxes.

Is the power to increase debt without taxpayer approval good public policy? Is it good fiscal policy? Voters will have to decide whether the promise of property tax abatement is worth the risk of losing control over how $24.7 million will be borrowed and spent.

— Dean Marcellus, Belvidere

Click on the following to see the letter on-lineLetter: Is the promise of property tax abatement worth it? - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Marcellus Ad

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

State tests: Fewer Rock River Valley schools get 'failing' grades - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

— Nearly 70 percent of Rock River Valley schools failed this year under the federal No Child Left Behind Act and its standards.

The results from the annual standardized tests, released today, are better than last year, when 73 percent of schools failed to reach Adequate Yearly Progress.

State tests: Fewer Rock River Valley schools get 'failing' grades - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Belvidere enrollment dip to cost $500K in state aid - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

RRSTAR.COM

 

One of four classroom seats in the Belvidere School District is unfilled this year, marking the fourth year of declining enrollment.

And with 3,000 empty desks, the district expects to receive $500,000 less in state aid that’s dependent on student population

Read the entire story by clicking on the following:  Belvidere enrollment dip to cost $500K in state aid - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Scott Reeder: Of mice and men's long-term brief taxes - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Interesting story—especially in light of District 100’s sales tax referendum

Stifel Nicolaus, one of the nation’s largest investment banking firms, put out a slick video that depicts the sales tax as a wondrous financial instrument designed to reduce property taxes.

I’ll let you in on a secret.

Outfits like Stifel Nicolaus have one thing in mind: marketing debt.

They get paid every time they handle a bond issue for a governmental entity and sell it off to investors on Wall Street.

Usually what sparks a school district asking for a sales tax referendum is a desire to build a school or make improvements to buildings,” said Roger Eddy, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Scott Reeder: Of mice and men's long-term brief taxes - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dean Marcellus speaks regarding the school sales tax

The following are taken from the Boone County Journal for Friday, 10/26/2012

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Mr. Marcellus also paid for an ad.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alleged scrap-selling scheme at NIU results in charges against nine current, former employees - Chicago Tribune

 

By Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune reporter

Former Northern Illinois University administrator Bob Albanese on Tuesday was charged with felony theft and official misconduct for allegedly misusing recycled materials and the proceeds obtained from those materials. He resigned in July while under investigation for misconduct. (Northern Illinois University)

Nine current and former Northern Illinois University employees were charged with felonies Tuesday in an alleged scheme to sell university scrap materials and deposit the proceeds in a private bank account.

Eight of the individuals were charged with felony theft, including a former senior administrator, Robert Albanese, who had been NIU's associate vice president for finance and facilities before he resigned in July while under investigation for misconduct.

Alleged scrap-selling scheme at NIU results in charges against nine current, former employees - Chicago Tribune

Friday, October 19, 2012

Huntley teachers authorize union leadership to consider strike - DailyHerald.com

 

news release sent from the district late Thursday night said “the entire board is disappointed the HEA negotiating team has twice failed to secure ratification of the agreements reached at the table,” and it called for the union to reconfigure its negotiating team.

“It appears that the HEA negotiating team does not have the authority to enter into a ratifiable agreement,” the news release said. “The Board respectfully requests the HEA membership send a team that has the authority to enter into an agreement and ensure ratification.”

Huntley teachers authorize union leadership to consider strike - DailyHerald.com

MCC gets federal grant to expand manufacturing programs - DailyHerald.com

 

McHenry County College will use a federal grant to train those who became unemployed after their jobs moved out of the country, as well as veterans and others who are unemployed and underemployed, in high-wage, high-skill manufacturing jobs, officials said.

The three-year, nearly $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s trade adjustment assistance community college and career training program will be used to expand the college’s manufacturing training programs, including robotics, welding and computer numerical control, officials said. The grant is part of $12.9 million recently awarded to 21 state community college

For the next 60 days you can read the entire article by clicking on the following:  MCC gets federal grant to expand manufacturing programs - DailyHerald.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

District 100 officials pitch sales tax increase in Poplar Grove | Belvidere Daily Republican

Written by Bob Balgemann

Doug Smiley, vice president of the District 100 school board, pitched the need for the higher sales tax to the Poplar Grove Village Board at its Oct. 9 meeting. Joining him were Superintendent Michael Houselog; the district’s chief financial officer, Greg Brown; and School District 200 Superintendent Steven Baule.

Houselog introduced the subject at the start of the meeting, Smiley did most of the explaining and Baule passed out a sheet with some commonly asked questions.

Read the entire story by clicking on the following:  District 100 officials pitch sales tax increase in Poplar Grove | Belvidere Daily Republican

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

$50K to hit local school district banks through ISBE grant - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

$50,000 grant is on its way to several school districts in Boone, Winnebago and Ogle counties. In all, local districts will receive a combined $850,000 for school maintenance projects. The Illinois State Board of Education today announced $39.2 million in school maintenance grants. The grants are $50,000 matching grants for maintenance projects to help offset project costs.

The money can go toward a slew of projects, state officials say, including resealing parking lots, removing asbestos, replacing playground equipment or repairing bleachers, for example.

District Name                   Total Project Cost       Total Grant Amt

Belvidere CUSD 100                $366,264.00             $50,000.00

North Boone CUSD 200         $1,240,800.00            $50,000.00

$50K to hit local school district banks through ISBE grant - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Friday, October 5, 2012

North Boone provides local info on sales tax referendum - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

North Boone School District will not take a stance on the upcoming “county school facility tax” referendum to increase the countywide sales tax, the board agreed to place information

District 200 would receive about $450,000 yearly, said financial services firm Stifel Nicolaus.

Click on the following for more details:  North Boone provides local info on sales tax referendum - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

How much did District 100 pay for Mr. Houselog’s doctorate?

During the last three school years taxpayers paid $19,973 to Aurora University for tuition and fees for Mr. Houselog’s doctorate degree.

Below is the FOIA request that was necessary to obtain this information.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

Houselog tuition 1of3

Houselog tuition 2of3

Houselog tuition 3of3

Monday, September 24, 2012

Voter Deadlines

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ELECTION DAY

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 from 6:00AM-7:00PM

The last day to register to vote in the State of Illinois is Tuesday, October 9, 2012

At this election you will be able to elect the President and the Vice President of the United States, Congressmen, State Senators, State Reps, Circuit Clerks, Recorders, State’s Attorneys, Auditors, Coroners, County Board Chairman, County Board Members, Judges to fill additional Judgeships and vacancies; and vote to retain Judges whose term is up.

DATES OF GRACE, EARLY & ABSENTEE VOTING for the State of Illinois

Grace Period Voting- is for those who missed the voting registration deadline.

  • Please go to your County Clerk’s office. Bring two forms of I.D. They will register you to vote and YOU HAVE TO VOTE THAT DAY.

GRACE PERIOD VOTING

Wednesday, October 10 – Saturday, November 3, 2012

PLEASE CHECK YOUR COUNTY CLERKS OFFICE FOR TIMES.

Early Voting- is for those that are already registered and don’t want to wait until Election Day to vote.

  • Please go to your County Clerk’s office, show I.D. and vote.

EARLY VOTING

Monday, October 22 – Saturday, November 3, 2012

PLEASE CHECK YOUR COUNTY CLERKS OFFICE FOR TIMES.

Absentee Voting- is for voters that are going to be out of town on Election Day. You may vote early in person from October 15 until November 5.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR COUNTY CLERKS OFFICE FOR DETAILS.

John Gedney,
Rockford Area CAP Chair

Are there plans other than district 100’s sales tax referendum?

Back in June 2010 the board of Education refunded building bonds to abate some of the tax levy. There were other plans to abate even longer. Has the board revisited these plans? If so where are the numbers?

Below is a reposting of July, 2010.

Friday, June 25, 2010

District #100 Considers Bond Refunding

The following story is taken from the Boone County Journal.

District #100 Considers Bond Refunding

By James Middleton
Since January, administrators at Belvidere School
District #100 have been concerned with rising deficits and
seeking means to resolve that problem. The District #100
director of business services, Greg Brown, has estimated
that the deficit for this year could amount to $4 million, with
another $5 million projected for the next fiscal year.
Part of the problem with deficits is attributable to the
refusal by the State of Illinois to pay the district foundation
funding and transportation reimbursements. Even grants are
being delayed. Mr. Brown reports that Illinois owes District
#100 as much as $4 million but, even with a new state
budget passed, no one knows if, when, or to what extent the
state will fund public education in their new fiscal year.
In response to these financial concerns, members of the
Board of Education asked Mr. Brown to evaluate whether
savings could be realized if current bonds issued by the
district could be refunded to reduce costs. District #100
Superintendent Michael Houselog introduced Mr. Brown’s
report in their Monday meeting, “Greg has been looking into
this, at the request of board members, with William Blair &
Associates to evaluate scenarios to refund our bonds.”
Prior to the meeting Mr. Brown had prepared a five page
document titled “Additional Information on Bond
Refinancing Scenarios.” The opening page detailed
information about each of three refunding scenarios and the
remaining pages provided charts of numbers that identified
the potential costs with each method.
“The tax spreadsheets that follow,” Mr. Brown said,
“show current debt services along with the schedules.” He
went on to say, “Every scenario had different variables but
nothing we evaluated really improved the situation.”
The written material detailed each of three options and
the result of each after evaluation by Blair & Associates.
Mr. Brown was asked what the cost was for the Blair group

to help. He said there was no cost to the district.
The page details that “Option 1 is a very large refunding
of a portion of the Series 2005A and 2005B bonds where the
annual bond and interest rate is held to $ .90 in future years.”
The document continued that the first option “[i]increases
future debt service payments by $17,112,071 for the period
analyzed.” The analysis concludes that future debt service
payments would be $354,099, versus the current payments
of $328,385. The obvious result is this option is more
expensive than the current situation.
The second option was described as “a smaller refunding
of the 2005A and 2005B bonds coupled with a cash
abatement of $5 million of bond and interest payments in
future years from cash on hand.” Further description of
the option added, “Option 2 increases future debt service
payments by $6,829,407 for the period analyzed.” The
report also said that future debt service payments total
$374,187, as opposed to the current payments of $328,385.
Again, this second option would cost the district more than
to sustain the current schedule.
The third option tried to avoid additional needs for
credit to refund the bonds. The document read, “This
option includes the cash abatement of $5 million of bond
and interest payments in future years from cash on hand
and holds the bond and interest tax rate to $1.00 in future
years.”
Further explanation of Option 3 includes, “[i]increases
future debt service payments by $4,447,593 for the period
analyzed.” The explanation continues that debt service
payments of $358,755 would need to occur when compared
to current payments at $328,385. Again, the third option
costs the district more in debt service than what is now in
place.

Mr. Brown concluded in the document, “All three
refunding options would be more expensive to local
taxpayers over the next three years (and) then level off.” He
also wrote, “The bond schedule would have to be extended
an additional three years to keep bond tax rates below
$1.00.”
Mr. Brown added a cautionary note. “There is volatility
and a high level of uncertainty in part due to Senate Bill
3334.” This measure was passed by the General Assembly
in May and remains on the desk of Illinois Governor Pat
Quinn, unsigned.
The measure would provide, if the Governor signs the
bill into law, that local assessors could use the reduced
value of foreclosed and short-sale properties as part of their
assessment. Property owners seeking to challenge their
assessments before the local board of review could also use
foreclosed and short-sale properties to justify a reduction in
their annual assessment.
“Pat Elder (Boone County supervisor of assessments)
said,” Mr. Brown reported, “this could drop property values
(and assessments) in Boone County by 20 percent.” He
also indicated that the district needs to find some guidance
to assess the impact of SB 3334 before the district moves
with a project as large and as expensive as a bond refunding
effort.
Mr. Brown’s written report also indicated, due to SB
3334, “The EAV (Equalized Assessed Valuation) of Boone
County could be very volatile over the next several years as
a result of this legislation and the tax rate detailed above,
(i.e., $ .90 to $1.00) could likely be substantially different
than those amounts. This is yet another factor to consider
in evaluating any refunding scenario.”
The board members remained silent as this information
was delivered. Board member Doug Smiley had broached
the question of a potential school bond refunding effort and
had moved Mr. Brown to engage in the analysis.
No action was taken or even proposed by the board.
Instead, what Mr. Brown delivered was designed for
information purposes only and for potential future
consideration. The deficit status at the district remains
unchanged as foundation funding, transportation
reimbursements, grants and other scheduled payments
from the state remain lagging far behind what had been
anticipated. Thus far, no one knows when or if the state
will take steps to alter or resolve their refusal to pay public
school districts across the state.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

District 100 posts salaries of IMFR employees whose salaries/benefits exceed $75,000 and Certified staff salaries and benefits

This information is legally mandated to be posted on the district’s website.  In as much as last year’s certified staff information  is not longer on the website, both the reference and photocopies are being posted.

image

There are three non-certified staff with salaries and benefits exceeding $75,000: Gregory Brown base salary $122,500 plus family insurance $11,637;Arthur Commare $93,753 plus single insurance $6,475 and a district vehicle valued at $2,400; Gary Blake $70,572 plus single insurance $6,475 and a district vehicle valued at $2,400.

The District website has this information at:  http://www.district100.com/District/Business%20Office/Collective%20Bargaining%20Contracts/2012-2013%20IMRF%20Salary%20Compensation%20Report.pdf

A photocopy is also shown below; Click to enlarge:

IMRF OVER $75k

The 2012-13 teachers’ salaries and benefits are available at:  http://www.district100.com/District/Business%20Office/Collective%20Bargaining%20Contracts/2012-2013%20Teacher%20and%20Administrator%20Salary%20Compensation%20Report.pdf

Superintendent Michael Houselog:  Base Salary $186,704 district paid TRS $19,371, district paid TRS health $3,316, district paid TRS  early retirement $1,195, district share of Medicare $2,988, district auto allowance $2,000, Travel expense Reimbursement $1,150.  TOTAL:  $216,724 (SEE PAGE 4 BELOW)

Here are photocopies of the nine pages, click on the photocopy to enlarge:

teachers salaries 2012-3 page 1 of 9

teachers salaries 2012-3 page 2 of 9

teachers salaries 2012-3 page 3 of 9

teachers salaries 2012-3 page 4of 9