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.

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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

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Who else applied for the vacant District 100 school board seat?

Former board member, Larry Cunningham, was selected.  It took a freedom of information request to obtain the other names.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

school board nominees

Belvidere School District is $9.6 million in the red - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

Belvidere School District will be relying on its reserves to help dig itself out of a $9.6 million projected deficit in its budget.

School Board members discussed being in the red during preliminary budget talks but did not anticipate the level of debt to be as high. Leaders have agreed on a temporary solution to solve District 100’s financial woes, though many say substantial cutbacks are on the horizon.

Click on the following:  Belvidere School District is $9.6 million in the red - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Belvidere superintendent edged out of Iowa job - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

— Michael Houselog will remain Belvidere School District’s superintendent.

The Dubuque (Iowa) School Board chose its interim, Stan Rheingans, on Wednesday to fill the superintendent role. Houselog was one of three finali

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere superintendent edged out of Iowa job - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Virginia Children Excused From School Last Year Due To Religious Exemptions From Education

 

Virginia is one of four states that provides an explicit religious exemption, and is the only state that does not require exempted students to satisfy any educational requirements, such as enrollment in a home-schooling program.

In 2010-11, 7,296 students were granted religious exemptions, up from 5,479 during the 2002-03 school year

 

Virginia Children Excused From School Last Year Due To Religious Exemptions From Education

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BCJ: District 100 leaders explain proposed move

The following appeared in he September 14, 2012 Boone County Journal which is available free of cost at merchants across Boone County and beyond.

 

sales tax--journal 9-14-2012

sales tax--journal 9-14-2012

sales tax--journal 9-14-2012 next page

Sunday, September 16, 2012

If District 100 gets their one cent sales tax will it affect gas sale?

For years Belvidere has been the lowest price for much of the Rockford-Belvidere area.  What affect will 4-5 cents higher price have on sales in the Boone County area?

Take a look for yourself

Click on the photograph to enlarge:

image

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Above is taken from:  http://www.motortrend.com/gas_prices/34/61008/

Belvidere School Board fills seat - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Cunningham was picked from one of three candidates who applied for the position, said District 100 spokeswoman Shannon Hansen. He will serve the role until the April 9 election. 

Board President Dick Van Evera said the board’s past experience with Cunningham edged him over the competition. Leaders view him as professional and knowledgeable of issues.

Click on the following for more detailsBelvidere School Board fills seat - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Fall Enrollment at District 100

Sixth Day Enrollment Figures for the 2012-2013 School Year

Down 187 students from last year total is now 8,492.  Special Education is down 68.  This year’s senior high school class is down 111 from last years junior class.

 

Click on the photocopy to enlarge.

image

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Boone County library purchases property to expand - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Ida Public Library has purchased its fourth and final property as plans continue to expand Boone County’s only library.

The library board had previously bought a block of properties, including the church located at 312 N. State St. for $160,000; a home for $130,000 at 109-111 W. Hurlbut St.; and a home for $115,000 at 125 W. Hurlbut St., also with endowment fund money.

Click on the following to read all of the story:  Boone County library purchases property to expand - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

District 100 Sales Tax

cartoon on tax

Rockford Register Star, July 15, 2012, page A9.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Houselog makes case for superintendent post in Dubuque - THonline.com: Tri-state News

BY STACEY BECKER TH staff writerTelegraph Herald | 3 comments

Personal and professional stories were incorporated throughout the second of three community forums for the Dubuque Community School District’s superintendent finalists.

The first story Michael Houselog shared was about his 85-year-old mother and education.

3 comments:
  • Boog posted at 9:46 pm on Wed, Sep 12, 2012.

     

    Too....

 

  • carolann2012 posted at 9:07 pm on Wed, Sep 12, 2012.

     

    What a narrow minded comment (from JustHeretoRead).

  • JustHeretoRead posted at 8:05 pm on Wed, Sep 12, 2012.

     

    Too old and we don't need another Superintendent from Illinois.

Click on the following to read more about the Dubuque interview:  Houselog makes case for superintendent post - THonline.com: Tri-state News

Daily Chronicle | Chicago schools to be closed at least 1 more day

 

Roughly 25,000 teachers have been on the picket line in the nation's third-largest school district. The most contentious issues on the table have included teacher evaluations that incorporate students' standardized test scores and job security.

After contract talks went late into the night Wednesday, Lewis said the sides had definitely come closer together. School board President David Vitale was also more positive.

The optimism was evident on the picket lines, too.

Daily Chronicle | Chicago schools to be closed at least 1 more day

District 200 may pursue $151,000 in delinquent student fees | Belvidere Daily Republican

Written by Bob Balgemann

North Boone Community Unit School District 200 may join the village of Poplar Grove and participate in a new state program to collect overdue fees and charges.

Poplar Grove is going through the state controller’s office in pursuit of $68,000 in delinquent water and sewer bills. The District 200 board of education is looking in the same direction as it ponders trying to collect current student fees totaling $151,000.

Should the district go that route it will have to identify those who haven’t paid their charges and send the list, along with documentation, to the controller’s office. The state in turn will contact the offenders and ask for a check.

Those who refuse to pay up will lose the portion of any state income tax refund they have coming. after filing their federal return, in order to satisfy the debt.

Click on the following for more details:  District 200 may pursue $151,000 in delinquent student fees | Belvidere Daily Republican

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dozen shots fired near Catholic school in Rockford - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Is this not a charter school for Rockford Public Schools?  St. Patrick’s closed over six years ago.

ROCKFORD — Police recovered 12 bullet casings Monday near St. Patrick Catholic School at North Day Avenue and School Street.

No injuries were reported.

The incident was called in at 3:10 p.m. Police said the shots were fired from two passing vehicles, a blue Chevy Avalanche and a tan and blue vehicle of unknown make and model.

If you have any information about the incident, call Rockford police, 815-987-5824, or Crime Stoppers, 815-963-7867.

Dozen shots fired near Catholic school in Rockford - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Changes to Open Meetings Act beginning January 1, 2013

Note several of these changes are merely codifying decisions previously made by the Attorney General’s Office.  The entire text is available at:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=84&GA=97&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=4687&GAID=11&LegID=64490&SpecSess=&Session=

 

CLICK ON THE PHOTOCOPY TO ENLARGE:

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Senior NIU administrators under investigation cut deals to leave - Chicago Tribune

By Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune reporter

Alleged 'lapses of ethical behavior' include using employee to clean private home; university police investigating slush fund used for parties

 

Northern Illinois University paid two senior administrators nearly $80,000 when they resigned while under investigation for misconduct — one for allegedly having a university employee clean his home during work hours, the Tribune has learned.

Click on the following for more details:  Senior NIU administrators under investigation cut deals to leave - Chicago Tribune

Daily Chronicle | Grievance began NIU departures

By ERIC R. OLSON

NIU officials would not discuss the content of the grievance, citing employee confidentiality and state whistleblower laws.

However, a report in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune, citing anonymous sources, said that a custodian from the Convocation Center had complained after being assigned to clean Gordon’s home during work hours on several occasions

Click on the following for more details:  Daily Chronicle | Grievance began NIU departures

Boone County to offer youth law, government program - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

The Boone County State’s Attorney’s Office is partnering with Blackhawk Area Council to offer youth a program that focuses on careers in law and government.

The bi-weekly Law and Government Career Exploring Program will be offered to people ages 14 through 20, according to a release. The participants will learn through hands-on activities and presentations from attorneys and other professionals.

“It is a unique way to bring young men and women of high school age into a close association with professionals from various companies and career fields,” said Donald Kinney, scout executive for Blackhawk Area Council. “It gives them a truly unique insight and helps them to decide on their next steps in career readiness.”

Click on the following for more details:  Boone County to offer youth law, government program - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fall productions being planned at Boone County high schools | Belvidere Daily Republican

Written by Bob Balgemann

The theatre department at Belvidere High School will put on “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” a musical revue set along Highway 57 in the southern United States….The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, 2 and 3, with all tickets $5 at the door.

“Acts of God” at BNHS----with the performances scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 8, 9 and 10 in the Performing Arts Center at BHS.

Click on the following for more details:  Fall productions being planned at Boone County high schools | Belvidere Daily Republican

School District 200 may use savings to balance new budget | Belvidere Daily Republican

I have highlighted the financial repercussions for District 200 for the sales tax referendum and the wind farm construction.  Note District 200 Board is neither supporting or objecting to either of these proposals.

Written by Bob Balgemann

Neither the board nor the administrative staff has made any budget-related assumptions regarding the penny sales tax being promoted by Belvidere Community Unit School District 100, or the expected application for a special use to allow an 8,000-acre wind farm inside North Boone school district boundaries.

If the sales tax referendum is approved during the Nov. 6 general election, District 200 eventually would realize about $450,000 in revenue.

The board discussed the wind farm project last year but took a resolution of support off the table at the request of two representatives of Mainstream Renewable Power, the developer.

Should the project ultimately be approved by the Boone County Board, District 200 would realize an estimated $1.587 million in property tax during the first year the upwards of 100 wind turbines are in operation.

Click on the following to read the entire story:  School District 200 may use savings to balance new budget | Belvidere Daily Republican

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Daily Chronicle | NIU officials close ‘coffee fund’

By NICOLE WESKERNA

Northern Illinois University officials have located the “coffee fund” and shut it down.

University officials said the private, nonuniversity bank account, which contained about $2,100, has been closed, with the money deposited into the university’s general fund.

Four employees in NIU’s Materials Management Department have been placed on paid leave for a maximum of 30 days, but NIU officials did not name them.

Click on the following for all the details:  Daily Chronicle | NIU officials close ‘coffee fund’