Tuesday, December 31, 2013

District 100’s “new” strategic plan

The following Strategy Plan was approved by the Board of Education at the December 2013 monthly school board meeting:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9E2MLA56D22C/$file/BCUSD_Strategy%20Summary_FNL.pdf

With all the issues currently facing the community and its schools the Strategy Plan’s top three goals are: 1. Creating five new magnet schools within three years.  (That means 5 new Washington STEM’s but using another theme) 2. Increase dual credit (The district recently decreased AP classes now it wants dual credit.)   3. Build a recreational facility.  (Might this be a swimming pool)

See Page 8 & 9

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Illinois teachers sue in effort to block pension reform law - Yahoo Finance

 

The lawsuit names Quinn, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System's (TRS) board of trustees as defendants and seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. It was filed as a class action, representing retired and active members of TRS, who are not currently members of any teachers' labor union.

It is also only the first shot of litigation against the law, which a coalition of public labor unions has vowed to fight. Anders Lindall, a spokesman for the coalition, We Are One Illinois, said the group is consulting with attorneys "to prepare to bring the most effective suit possible."

Click on the following for the complete article:  Illinois teachers sue in effort to block pension reform law - Yahoo Finance

Monday, December 16, 2013

University of Illinois banning smoking in new year - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

 

CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois is preparing to go smoke-free.
The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports the state’s flagship campus in Champaign-Urbana will ban smoking starting Jan. 1.
That’s not sitting well with some tailgaters who say they want to light up.
Chris Roegge puffed on a cigar during the Illini’s last home game and says he thinks the new ban is “kind of silly” and questioned how the school will enforce the new policy.
Champaign resident Dan Tappendorf said “political correctness has gone too far.”
The campus already bans smoking inside buildings and within 25 feet of a building entrance.
A school spokeswoman says the smoking ban had been set to begin in November, but administrators decided to delay the change because “we didn’t want to hit people right before finals.”

University of Illinois banning smoking in new year - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

North Boone Education Association may file intent to strike - Blogs - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

The North Boone Education Association will announce Thursday whether it will file a notice of intent to strike, according to a press release sent today.
The association has been working without a contract since June 30, 2013. The group had its fourth session with a federal mediator today and is scheduled for another session on Thursday.
"We are attempting to settle a fair agreement with our School Board," President Kelly Hanaman said. "We remain optimistic but are committed to do whatever is necessary to secure a fair contract for our members."
The announcement will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday in front of the district office, 6248 North Boone School Road in Poplar Grove.

North Boone Education Association may file intent to strike - Blogs - Rockford Register Star

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Property Tax Relief for Homeowners in Belvidere School District

 

BELVIDERE (WIFR) – Homeowners in the Belvidere School District can expect to save money on their property taxes.

The board is signing off on some documents tonight to refund $3 million in bonds. That means a family with a $100,000 home will save $135 a year.

While this will increase the districts long-term debt by a year, superintendent Michael Houselog says taxpayers will see some much-needed relief.

"We know that property taxes have been on the increase even though the revenues of the properties have gone down and this is our best attempt at being able to reconcile that with our taxpayers,” said Dr. Houselog.

The board is also getting a look at a 5-year budget forecast tonight, which looks much better than this time last year. That’s because the district closed a school and made other cuts to save money.

Property Tax Relief for Homeowners in Belvidere School District

Monday, December 9, 2013

Belvidere Schools expected to run $10.8M deficit through 2019 - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

 

Financial experts project the Belvidere School District will run a collective $10.8 million deficit through fiscal year 2019.
Greg Kubitz, senior financial adviser for PMA Financial Network Inc., said today that he anticipates the district will lose millions in general state aid. That’s because the district’s enrollment numbers, which help determine the state’s level of financial help, are expected to decline by hundreds of students while the state prorates the amount owed.
The news comes on the heels of $2.4 million in cuts from the Belvidere school district’s budget last year when educators determined all reserves would be depleted by 2017. Those cuts led to the decision to close Kishwaukee Elementary School and not renew 18 certified staff contracts.
School Board President Mike Rathbun said Monday he does not anticipate having to make budget cuts despite the latest financial projections. He’s counting on potential changes to the way that general state aid is calculated, a topic of discussion among state lawmakers, which could help districts like Belvidere that are seeing class sizes drop and property values decline.
“There is currently a committee that’s meeting right now talking about changing the general state aid formula, so that could impact what we’re seeing here,” Kubitz said.
Check back to rrstar.com or pick up Tuesday’s edition of the Register Star for more information.
Jennifer Wheeler: 815-987-1354; jwheeler@rrstar.com; @jenmwheeler

Belvidere Schools expected to run $10.8M deficit through 2019 - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Thursday, December 5, 2013

District 100 Administrators’ and Teachers’ Salaries

The following are the salaries of non-TRS administrators: 

Click on the photocopy of go to the following:  http://www.district100.com/District/Business%20Office/Collective%20Bargaining%20Contracts/2013-14%20IMRF%20Salary%20Compensation%20Report.pdf

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TRS employees including the superintendents salaries are available by clicking on he following: 

http://www.district100.com/District/Business%20Office/Collective%20Bargaining%20Contracts/2013-14%20Teacher%20and%20Administrator%20Salary%20Compensation%20Report.pdf

Superintendent Houselog’s numbers:  Salary including TRS + bonus + TRS equals $217,665. $2,000 Auto benefit plus $7,922 in TRS and Medicare costs.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Belvidere School District gives tax relief to homeowners - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

 

By Jennifer Wheeler
Rockford Register Star
Posted Nov. 19, 2013 @ 12:17 am

BELVIDERE — Taxpayers who own houses valued at $100,000 will save on average $175 on the Belvidere School District portion of their tax bill next year.
The School Board approved several financial decisions Monday, including refinancing a bond and deferring a 2014 bond payment to 2025 when there aren’t any bond payments due. Chief Financial Officer Greg Brown said leaders can use money generated from the sales tax referendum to pay off the debt then, rather than relying on property taxes.
The decisions provide tax relief to residents so their bills will not skyrocket while the district pays off escalating bond payments.

Read more of this article by clicking on the following:  Belvidere School District gives tax relief to homeowners - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Saturday, November 9, 2013

District 200 to survey security measures at buildings

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District 200 to survey security measures at buildings

Nov. 6, 2013

By Bob Balgemann

POPLAR GROVE - North Boone Community Unit School District 200 plans to have the architectural firm of Cashman Stahler Group survey security precautions at the district's three elementary schools, the upper elementary school, middle school and high school.

Needed upgrades will be prioritized and for ultimate action by the board of education.

The long-range facilities planning committee met Oct. 29 and discussed in general terms some of the steps that have been taken over the years to keep children safe while they're in and around various school buildings.

Steve Cashman said the study would range from the phone system to the video system, and include whether to start using cards, rather than keys, to gain access to the various buildings. He also will come up with a range of costs for the options.

Some possibilities are basic, such as exterior lighting at Poplar Grove Elementary School, he said. Beyond that, there are some fire alarm systems that aren't reporting. "There is no monitoring service so no one is being notified," he said.

The best fire alarm system is at the high school, Cashman said.

Superintendent Steven Baule said having card access to buildings would be better. "There are a lot of keys out there," he said.

In addition, he said the telephone system needs to be replaced. It has been part of past budgets but has been eliminated "so we don't have to cut something else."

Shutting off cell phones while inside buildings is a good idea, he said, because some bombs can be triggered by cell phone signals.

While cameras can be helpful, Cashman said they're mostly used in theft cases, to determine who took what. Most school districts don't have the money to set up a series of cameras and pay someone to monitor them from a central location.

School board president Don Ward, in a follow-up interview, said a keyless system "would tell you who's been in and out. And it's easy to deactivate."

In addition to prioritizing upgrades, he said the point of the survey is "to be sure we have uniformity in the district."

Going over security measures "has been made a higher priority what with the recent shootings at schools in this country."

It was agreed during the committee meeting that having a safety plan to go along with the upgrades would be a good idea.

Cashman said it would take a couple of months to finish the survey. Having it ready for discussion in January "would be ideal," he said.

rvpnews | Belvidere Daily Republican

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Belvidere School District approves contract with PR firm - Blogs - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

School Board members voted in June to create a three- to five-year strategic plan that outlines the goals and priorities of the district. The previous plan ended in the 2012-2013 school year.
According to the contract, PR Etc. will bring board members, educators and residents together to create a plan that district leaders could refer to moving forward.

Agency staff may review the previous strategic plan to determine what worked and the status of current projects. They could help guide discussions on how resources could be allocated to achieve the district's top goals. They may also provide a specific list of tactics and objectives tied to top priorities.

Click on the following to read the entire story:  Belvidere School District approves contract with PR firm - Blogs - Rockford Register Star

Federal government issues first food allergy guidelines for schools - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Posted Oct. 30, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

The voluntary guidelines call on schools to take such steps as restricting nuts, shellfish or other foods that can cause allergic reactions, and make sure emergency allergy medicine — like EpiPens — are available.
About 15 states — and numerous individual schools or school districts — already have policies of their own. "The need is here" for a more comprehensive, standardized way for schools to deal with this issue, said Dr. Wayne Giles, who oversaw development of the advice for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Food allergies are a growing concern. A recent CDC survey estimated that about 1 in 20 U.S. children have food allergies — a 50 percent increase from the late 1990s. Experts aren't sure why cases are rising.
Many food allergies are mild and something children grow out of. But severe cases may cause anaphylactic shock or even death from eating, say, a peanut.

Read more: http://www.rrstar.com/article/20131030/NEWS/310309953#ixzz2jGE8IFNKe

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Belvidere keeping up with average scores on state tests - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

 

These two factors caused the district’s ISAT scores to drop from 82.1 percent of students who met or exceeded the Illinois Learning Standards in 2011-12 to 57.2 percent in 2012-13, according to report cards listed on the School District’s website. The state performed around 82.5 percent in 2011-12 and 58.8 percent in 2012-13.
“Staying even or getting better may be a pretty positive thing because it’s a harder test,” Zickert said.
Lincoln Elementary School made the greatest gains academically, shrinking the gap between its performance and the state’s.

Click on the following to read all of the article:  Belvidere keeping up with average scores on state tests - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

18 Belvidere classrooms violate special ed rules - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Update on earlier story

The request was made days after officials determined that 18 of 1,249 sixth- through 12th-grade district classrooms exceeded the 30 percent threshold. The administration had reviewed classrooms’ ratios after the district’s teacher union, the Belvidere Education Association, accused administrators of knowingly violating the law.
Union members said administrators expected state leaders to have repealed this requirement by now.
“A little too late,” said Kendra Asbury, vice president of the teacher’s union.
This is the first time the administration has asked the state for permission to deviate from the rule.
Classrooms were out of compliance because of the method used for scheduling students with individualized education programs, said Sheri Smith, assistant superintendent of student services.

Read the entire article:  18 Belvidere classrooms violate special ed rules - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

District 100’s School Report Card from the State

The district and individual school report cards are now available.  In additional to other sources of this information you can find this information within the school board packet on Board Doc’s. 

For your convenience here are the references: 

District: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNR75992BF/$file/Rpt%20Card%20District.pdf

Belvidere Central Middle School:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNWD59D403/$file/Rpt%20Card%20BCMS.pdf

Perry Elementary:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNYR59FE9C/$file/Rpt%20Card%20PES.pdf

Belvidere High School: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNUP59AEB9/$file/Rpt%20Card%20BHS.pdf

Belvidere South Middle School:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNWT59DCB4/$file/Rpt%20Card%20BSMS.pdf

Meehan Elementary: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNZD5A071D/$file/Rpt%20Card%20MES.pdf

Belvidere North High School:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNV859B7C5/$file/Rpt%20Card%20BNHS.pdf

Caledonia Elementary:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNXB59E639/$file/Rpt%20Card%20CES.pdf

Seth Whitman Elementary: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNZJ5A0F0F/$file/Rpt%20Card%20SWES.pdf

Endeavor High School (Alternative High School, now operated by Regional Superintendent of Education)http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNZJ5A0F0F/$file/Rpt%20Card%20SWES.pdf

Kishwaukee Elementary (now closed):  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNXP59EF65/$file/Rpt%20Card%20KES.pdf

Washington Academy (STEM):  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJP5A5A1AAC/$file/Rpt%20Card%20WA.pdf

Lincoln Elementary:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9CJNYB59F707/$file/Rpt%20Card%20LES.pdf

District 100 Drug Testing: Worth the money or a waste?

The following is take from District 100’s Board Doc’s:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9C3UVY6E26BE/$file/Drug%20Testing%20Results%2012-13.pdf

September 27, 2013
To: Board of Education
From: Greg Brown
RE: Drug Testing 12-13 School Year
As requested, we have gathered the results of the random drug testing conducted during the 2012-2013 school year. Of the 184 different students that were tested throughout the year, one student tested positive for marijuana (THC). The list of the drugs that are screened is attached.
The testing process works as follows: The testing company is provided with a list of all students that are participating in extracurricular interscholastic sports. Students participating in all other extracurricular activities are exempt from testing at the current time. The testing company, using random sampling techniques, selects approximately ten students to be tested. The names of the students are not known by the school district until the testing company arrives the morning of the screening. Students are pulled from class and required to submit a urine sample. Students have approximately 2 hours to produce a sample. Students are not allowed to return to class until the sample has been secured by the testing company. The testing company submits the samples to an independent lab in Minnesota. An A and B sample are sent to the lab in case additional testing is needed. Results of each student’s lab analysis are returned to the respective high school buildings. Required follow up with a student, if needed, is taken care of at the respective building.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Belvidere teachers: District violates special education laws - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

 

By Jennifer Wheeler
Rockford Register Star 

BELVIDERE — The Belvidere School District is reviewing more than 1,200 classes after the teachers union accused administrators of knowingly violating the state’s rules governing the proportion of special education students in general ed classrooms.

Belvidere Education Association members said administrators had placed too many students with special needs into general education classrooms. State law says special education students — who have individualized instructional plans — can constitute no more than 30 percent of a general education classroom.

 

Read the entire story by clicking on the following:  Belvidere teachers: District violates special education laws - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Friday, October 18, 2013

New lawsuit seeking money damages in Richmond-Davis merger filed against District 303 - Chicago Tribune

 

 

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In 2011, 17 parents sued the district, claiming the district was wrong to change Davis Elementary into a kindergarten through second-grade school and Richmond Elementary into a school for third- through fifth-graders. At the time of the reorganization, Richmond had failed for three consecutive years to meet federal progress standards, said Jim Blaney, spokesman for the district.

A judge previously ruled in the plaintiffs' favor but did not order the district to change the schools back to their original grade levels.

The new lawsuit, filed last week, seeks money for parents who moved their kids out of the district into private schools, moved out of the Davis school boundary to get around the merger or did neither and were forced to have their kids attend Richmond instead of Davis, according to the 11-page complaint….

According to previous Tribune reports, the district had paid through August $316,945 in legal fees, of which $75,684 was covered by insurance.

"While we regret that the district must continue to spend time and resources defending itself on a matter that has been decided by the courts not once, but twice, we will do so to protect both the reputation and the financial stability of our district," Schlomann said in the statement.

 

New lawsuit seeking money damages in Richmond-Davis merger filed against District 303 - Chicago Tribune

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Former Belvidere teachers take legal action over layoffs - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

RRSTAR.COM

Seven teachers have filed a legal complaint against the Belvidere School District’s Board of Education, arguing that local leaders didn’t take all the steps needed to determine whose heads would be on the chopping block during last school year’s budget cuts.

The Illinois Education Association is representing teachers Sue Holmes, Cheryl Dreska, Leann Dunlap, Melissa Galan, Michelle Macht, Steve Simard and Scott Zimmerlee, according to court records filed this month. They are asking a judge to determine the rights and obligations of both sides.

Click on the following for more details: Former Belvidere teachers take legal action over layoffs - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

North Boone School District to receive $10,000 check - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

POPLAR GROVE — North Boone School District will receive a $10,000 check from the America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 27 at North Boone Middle School, 17641 Poplar Grove Road.

The program is sponsored by the Monsanto fund and allows farmers to nominate a local public school district that will compete for a grant of up to $25,000 to enhance math and science education.

North Boone School District to receive $10,000 check - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Belvidere teacher charged with sexual assault resigns - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

A social studies teacher charged with having sexual contact with a student no longer works for the Belvidere School District.

Today, the School Board accepted the resignation of tenured educator Jenee A. Blackert, 30, of Poplar Grove effective Monday. She did not provide a reason for her resignation.

Blackert is accused of having sexual contact with one of her 17-year-old female students.

Two of the four alleged encounters occurred between March 1 and May 16 and two occurred June 28 — all off school grounds, according to the complaint.

She has pleaded not guilty to four counts of criminal sexual assault, which is punishable by four to 15 years in prison. The charges are not eligible for probation.

Blackert, who has worked for the School District since 2008

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere teacher charged with sexual assault resigns - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, September 23, 2013

BCJ: Declining Enrollment in District #100

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The above BCJ articles are available on-line at:  http://www.boonecountyjournal.com/news/2013/Boone-County-News-09-20-13.pdf#page=1 or at merchants across the county free of costs.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Belvidere board passes school budget with $2M deficit - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

RRSTAR.COM

The School Board passed a $91.7 million spending plan Monday that projects a $2 million deficit.

The Education Fund, which has a direct impact on students and teachers, is projecting a $650,000 deficit that could be pared down by trimming spending to an as-needed basis at the building-level. Leaders could also dip into the $23 million education fund reserves to ensure salaries, benefits and textbooks are paid.

But what’s causing officials headaches is the ever-changing state funding. Legislators haven’t decided how to address teacher retirement, what the level of general state aid will be year-to-year or how to solve the pension crisis — all factors that could affect the local budget.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere board passes school budget with $2M deficit - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ron Ramos resigns from Belvidere School Board - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Ramos was unable to hold office since he is being paid by the district to work as an assistant football coach. His resignation became effective yesterday.

“A conflict of interest between myself and Belvidere Community School District 100 has prompted this decision,” Ramos wrote in a letter to the School Board.

Ramos’s resignation marks the second person to vacate the board’s Bonus Township seat since the April election. His predecessor, Larry Cunningham, was forced to resign because he was moving outside of the township.

The School District will fill the vacancy within 45 days. Residents interested in the position must submit a resume and letter to School Board President Mike Rathbun at 1201 Fifth Avenue, in Belvidere.

The deadline is Oct. 11.

Ron Ramos resigns from Belvidere School Board - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, September 12, 2013

“Bill’s” other questions to Mr. Houselog

Perhaps some reader’s have seen “my questions” in today’s Register Star.  Well here are “my other questions” and note they are from blog readers  not composed by BILL.

Picture of Haas, Wally

Wally Haas

On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 5:00 AM, bill pysson <bpysson@hotmail.com> wrote:

My blog has received these questions.  See this posting:http://district100watchdog.blogspot.com/2013/09/superintendent-houselog-to-be.html

I believe it would be very worthwhile if you include some of these questions in your interview with Mr. Houselog: 

BILL PYSSON

9592 Denver Drive

Belvidere, Il  61008

815 544 5115

 

During the 2012-2013 school year, the level of confidence in district administration continued to deteriorate. Many staff continue to feel the district is in decline, as evidenced by the unusually high number of resignations and the anecdotal information from many teaching candidates that they would not consider teaching in Belvidere. Relative pay and benefits continue to decline, class sizes are at or near maximums, and teachers throughout the district are afraid to approach administrators with concerns for fear of retribution.

1. What are you going to do to determine why these problem continues to plague the district, and what steps are you going to take to address the decline in morale in the district due to these serious deficiencies?

2. Specifically, what is being done to address the lack of leadership at Belvidere High School, which has been reported to boards of education by staff for several years?

3. Why has the public not been adequately informed of some of the serious problems at the Washington Stem Academy?

 

Our test scores are abysmal, Several of our schools continue to show decline, evidenced by falling test scores and continuous reorganization of staff and curriculum. Social studies is no longer taught in the elementary schools because of perceived need to concentrate on math and reading. Librarians have been eliminated. A greater and greater proportion of the budget is being allocated to bilingual education, resulting in no perceivable improvement in graduation rates or test scores. Teachers continue to report that students each year are coming into their classrooms less prepared than the year before, but there seems to be no lack of time for testing.

1. What are you doing in the areas of allocation of resources to address these

problems?

2. What are you doing to address the perception held by teachers that central office is not interested in what these education professionals have to say concerning curriculum, and that constant change and disruption have led to perceived declines in student ability, teachers sometimes forced to use methods which, in fact, have a negative impact on student achievement?

 

It is widely believed that for some time there has been a strategic design to replace experienced teachers and administrators with new, less experienced ones in order to save money, sometimes leading to a lack of leadership in key district and building positions.

1. If this perception is wrong, why is that so many good teachers in our district are

unable to move into administrative positions because of low pay , and what are

you going to do about it?

 

It is widely believed that the teacher evaluation process in the district is, at times, heavy handed and unfair. Litigation is pending in which teachers will allege they were fired due to administrative incompetence, not the fair evaluation system the district alleges the Charlotte Danielson model to be.

1. What are you going to do to see that administrators do not use the evaluation system unfairly?

2. What changes in the current system can be implemented so that teachers can have confidence in it?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BHS band alumni invited to play at homecoming game | Belvidere Daily Republican

 

Calling all Belvidere High School band alumni: you rare invited to perform the Batman theme and Superman theme alongside current band members during halftime of Belvidere High School’s homecoming football game on Friday, Sept. 27.

To sign up please send an email to dfoster@district100.com and include your name, instrument, and year of graduation. Instructions on how to download the sheet music for free will be provided.

A rehearsal will be held Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m. to work on music and field position. On the day of the performance, participants are asked to report to the band room by 5:55 p.m. to run through the music and prepare for the show.

For more information please contact Dan Foster, Director of Bands at Belvidere High School, at (815) 547-6345

BHS band alumni invited to play at homecoming game | Belvidere Daily Republican

BNHS invites community to one-act play | Belvidere Daily Republican

 

public is invited to attend a one-act play directed by Belvidere North High School senior Julia Whitcomb on Sept. 26. The coffeehouse-style evening inside the Black Box Theater will begin with live music and refreshments followed by the one-act play.

“The Other Room” is a compelling and sensitive glimpse into a unique and misunderstood mind. Austin is a brilliant teenage astronomer who happens to have autism. Lily is his popular classmate who happens to have an interest in astronomy. When a chance encounter after school leads to a growing connection between them; Austin’s imagination, intelligence and constant struggles to connect with the world, are revealed in the form of four characters representing his inner-life.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the play begins at 7 p.m.

There is no admission fee.

The Black Box Theater is located inside Belvidere North High School, 9393 Beloit Road, Belvidere. Please use the entrance to the left of the main doors

BNHS invites community to one-act play | Belvidere Daily Republican

Police alert business community of possible scam | Belvidere Daily Republican

 

BELVIDERE – The police department was recently contacted by Belvidere District 100 in reference to a possible scam.  It has been reported that several businesses have been contacted by a subject representing Carrie Bell’s World Class Advertising. The caller is allegedly selling advertising space in a program booklet for Belvidere High School and Belvidere North High School. According to the school district, no such booklet has been authorized.

If any business has paid for any advertising from this company, please call Detective Chris Washburn at 815-547-6393

Police alert business community of possible scam | Belvidere Daily Republican

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Belvidere honors teen Johnny Leopold who cared for others - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Johnny’s life was cut short, though, in May 2011 when family members found him dead from an unexplainable seizure.

It’s been a tough time since the tragedy but family members say they are ready to begin honoring his life. It’s time for the community to come together to celebrate a young man who selflessly helped others.

“It was a struggle last year. I focused too much on his death. We need to start remembering his life,” mother Kathy Kugler said. “Once we get to that point, we can start healing.”

More than 60 loved ones celebrated Johnny’s special day Tuesday by releasing 900 balloons at his favorite local fishing spot. They sang “Happy Birthday” and shared their favorite memories of him.

Read the entire story:  Belvidere honors teen Johnny Leopold who cared for others - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Friday, September 6, 2013

Superintendent Houselog to be interviewed by Register Star & Facebook

He may answer your questions if Walley asks him.

Michael Houselog

Details of the interview with Mr. Houselog: The Register Star's Facebook page will be open sometime on Tuesday for questions to be posted. The interview is on Wed. and apparently live questions can be posted from the Register Star's "Chat" page, sometime around noon.
Questions can also be e-mailed to: opinions@rrstar.com or to whass@rrstar.com.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Teacher pleads not guilty, back to court in October | Belvidere Daily Republican

 

BELVIDERE – A Belvidere North teacher pleaded not guilty at a hearing, Friday, Aug. 30.

Jenee Blackert, 30, of Poplar Grove, was arrested in early August and was charged with four counts of criminal sexual assault – a Class 1 felony. She’s accused of having inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old Belvidere North student.

According to Boone County Sheriffs, they “learned that Blackert had sexual contact with one of her students. This information was reported, Sunday, July 28. The evidence was reviewed by the county’s state attorney and the charges were authorized.

Click on the following for more details:  Teacher pleads not guilty, back to court in October | Belvidere Daily Republican

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Area schools getting more state money, still not all that's owed - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

The Rockford Public Schools, Belvidere School District and Freeport School District will receive 89 percent of the general state aid they were allocated. Gov. Pat Quinn had pushed for funding to be 82 percent prorated.

If the level of general state aid had been decreased that low, Rockford Public Schools would have taken a $7 million hit. The hits would have been $2.3 million for the Belvidere School District, and $1.1 million for the Freeport School District…..

 

The lower levels of funding greatly affect districts, like Belvidere, where property values are declining, said Greg Brown, director of business services for the Belvidere School District. According to the general state aid formula, districts that have decreasing equalized assessed values should receive more financial aid to make up for lower local revenue.

But instead, property values are declining as the state provides only a portion of the aid due to proration.

“The more reliant you are on general state aid, the fewer amount of resources you have in your district,” Brown said.

Even if general state aid was fully funded, there are plenty of other financial concerns for administrators. Local officials do not know how much money they will receive for categorical funds, such as transportation and special education. They don’t know if or how the pension reform will be played out.

 

Read more: http://www.rrstar.com/news/x1843581835/Area-schools-getting-more-state-money-still-not-all-thats-owed#ixzz2dqLz5Lyi

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Are Belvidere sports teams better off with 1 high school or 2? - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Matt Trowbridge

By the way, I predicted all of this with a story I did the summer before North opened. If you look at all the other school districts that opened new schools in the northwest suburbs, you find the same thing: The new school (in this case North) succeeds almost immediately, and does better by itself than the old school did on its own. The old school takes  a step backward -- but not for long. Five years down the road, the old school gets at least as good as it used to be before the split. The new school, which is almost always built where the population is growing most, tends to be better than the old school, but both thrive.

That doesn't mean Belvidere can afford two high schools. I'm no budget expert. I'm just looking at this from a sporting success standpoint, and the truth is the split has NOT hurt Belvidere athletics nearly as much as some people think.

Are Belvidere sports teams better off with 1 high school or 2? - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Belvidere's school field-trip budget gets a boost - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register StarBy Jennifer Wheeler

By Jennifer Wheeler

Before leaders agreed to boost the field-trip budget, students would have been limited to traveling to parades and practicing safety drills. The bump allows them to visit places like the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, the Challenger Learning Center in Woodstock and the Boone County Conservation District in Belvidere.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere's school field-trip budget gets a boost - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Feelings mixed over need for new teachers in Belvidere schools - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

By Jennifer Wheeler

Forty-three percent of union members who participated in a BEA survey in the spring said they are looking for education jobs outside the Belvidere district because they cannot afford to stay.

Educators went without longevity pay increases for three years — while insurance costs went up — before the School Board approved a step increase in July.

The union fears that more teachers will walk without pay hikes and improvements in working conditions.

Click on the following for the complete article:  Feelings mixed over need for new teachers in Belvidere schools - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Belvidere to serve as enrollment site for cancer study - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

The American Cancer Society’s Epidemiology Research Program is inviting individuals between the ages of 30 to 65 who have no personal history of cancer to participate in the Cancer Prevention Study-3. The group is aiming for least 300,000 adults of various racial and ethnic backgrounds across the United States to participate.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere to serve as enrollment site for cancer study - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

District 100 to serve as enrollment site for cancer prevention study

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The Belvidere School District, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, will serve as an enrollment site for the society's Cancer Prevention Study-3. 

The American Cancer Society is looking for people between the ages of 30 and 65 to help them create a cancer-free world - a world with more birthdays.  You can do this by volunteering for their Cancer Prevention Study-3.

Please check back as additional information about the study, expectations and time commitments of volunteers, and where/when you can enroll will posted.

Click on the following to check back at District 100 website:  http://www.district100.com/Newsroom/Pages/District-to-serve-as-enrollment-site-for-cancer-prevention-study.aspx

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Belvidere North teacher charged with sexual assault - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

BELVIDERE — A Belvidere North High School teacher has been charged with having sexual contact with one of her 17-year-old female students.

Jenee A. Blackert, 30, of Poplar Grove was charged Thursday with four counts of criminal sexual assault. She faces four to 15 years in prison if found guilty of the Class 1

Click on the following for all of the story:  Belvidere North teacher charged with sexual assault - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Friday, August 2, 2013

Kishwaukee closes, leaves Belvidere student with hard transition - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

 

While many children don't give school a thought during summer, the change prompted a lot of discussion for Abby's family.
"We've definitely done a lot of talking and thinking about it," said Holly Houk, Abby's mother.  "It's going to be harder at a big school.  We're going to miss that and you know, she's going to miss her friends."
And while Abby's mom is concerned about how her daughter will fit in, she's also encouraged by her new school's reputation.
"From what I've seen I think it's going to be great, I hear the principal there is really great so I'm hoping it's going to be as good an experience as we had at Kishwaukee."
The first day back to school for Belvidere School District students is August 14th.

Click on the following for more details:  Kishwaukee closes, leaves Belvidere student with hard transition - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More communication needed with Belvidere paras, administration - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

Union President Tim Sullivan said the breakdown happened earlier this year when B.E.S.T. members were RIFed without administrators previously notifying the group. Instead, union executive board members learned the news through the District’s website.

According to B.E.S.T.'s letter to the School Board, “Communication has deteriorated to the point that all interaction between Central Office and the Unions are handled through the grievance process and infrequently scheduled meetings."

Click on the following to read all of the story:  More communication needed with Belvidere paras, administration - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Boone County Fair Starts Tuesday August 6

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For more information go to:  http://www.boonecountyfair.com/home.htm

General Education Development (GED) and Basic Skills

 

General Education Development (GED) and Basic Skills

Group of students in classThe Adult Education program offers, at no cost, GED instruction in both English and Spanish languages.  Basic skill instruction is also offered in Reading, Writing and Math at no cost.  The GED credential - whether called a diploma or certificate - is the most widely accepted and respected high school equivalency credential.

Participants must:

  • Be 17 years of age or older (17 year olds need a High School Withdrawal Letter to register)
  • Not be enrolled or required by state law to be enrolled in secondary school
  • Not have attained a high school diploma or equivalency 
  • Reside in the Rock Valley College District.
For program information call (815) 921-2000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (815) 921-2000 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Finish your GED test by the end of 2013 and get started on the life you deserve. Starting in 2014 there will be a new GED test.  The current version of the GED test is expiring at the end of 2013 and your scores will expire too if you don't finish and pass the test by then.  Need help?  We've got your back.  Check out our GED programs on this web page.

CLICK HERE FOR FALL GED REGISTRATION INFORMATION (CLASSES IN ENGLISH)

Click on the following for more information:  General Education Development (GED) and Basic Skills

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bench honoring retired teachers, coming to Reed Schoolhouse | Belvidere Daily Republican

Written by Bob Balgemann

Kishwaukee Elementary School in Garden Prairie no longer will be housing students this year.

But a bench that was situated outside that school, in honor of retired teachers, will continue use. It’s being moved to the historic Reed Schoolhouse at the Boone County Fairgrounds and should arrive for the fair

Click on the following for the complete story:  Bench honoring retired teachers, coming to Reed Schoolhouse | Belvidere Daily Republican

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Belvidere educators hope grade change boosts student success - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

Belvidere School District teachers will now calculate semester grades using a cumulative semester score rather than averaging two quarter grades. The 18 weeks of instruction will represent a cumulative 80 percent of the final grade, while the semester exam will account for the remaining 20 percent.

The previous grading scale had each quarter accounting for 40 percent of each semester’s grade and the semester exam tacking on the final 20 percent.

It’s a move that Belvidere School District educators have been requesting for years since it will allow students to show their mastery of a skill over a longer period of time.

Click on the following to reasd the entire article:  Belvidere educators hope grade change boosts student success - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Belvidere teachers get 5.37% pay hike as part of approved contract - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Not mentioned in the on-line version is that teachers did not receive step increase in some prior years.

According to the Belvidere Education Association and Belvidere School District’s contract approved today, teachers will receive a 2 percent increase to their base pay. They will also move up one step on the teacher salary schedule, which equates to an additional 3.37 percent pay increase….

These changes will take place during the final year of the union’s three-year contract. The agreement, which became effective in 2011,
Read more: http://www.rrstar.com/news/x273441086/Belvidere-teachers-get-5-37-pay-hike-as-part-of-approved-contract#ixzz2aH5pRXxU

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kishwaukee’s switch to therapeutic school cooking awhile - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Emails show that Sheri Smith, assistant superintendent of student services, reached out after the board’s decision in March to Camelot Therapeutic Schools with a “very unique request for consideration” — asking whether the group would consider leasing the school so 30 special-needs students in the district could attend a day program closer to home.

Camelot had indicated years ago that it was interested in setting up shop in the area. Unbeknownst to the public, the agencies spent months in communication, determining whether the facility was a good fit.

Click on the following for more details:  Kishwaukee’s switch to therapeutic school cooking awhile - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mobile Food Pantry helps feed Belvidere - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Actually the mobile food pantry was at Salvation Army on Main Street in June 2013 and feed a like number of people.  That was funded by the Belvidere/Boone County Food Bank (Capron)

The Mobile Food Pantry, hosted  by the Community Cupboard, delivered nutritious food to people in need.

The group helps many students families throughout the school year, but organizers say having a mobile pantry allows them to expand their services to others in need. Thursday was the first time the Mobile Food Pantry's been out in a couple years. And organizers say it was a success.

"It's a great opportunity to reach out to the entire community and to put more food on the tables of our students and their families during the summer months when the kids are home so there are more meals that are being made at home," said Shannon Hansen.

Roughly 200 people benefited from the Mobile Food Pantry.

Mobile Food Pantry helps feed Belvidere - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Belvidere School District seeks community planning input - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

The previous five-year strategic plan expired during the 2012-13 school year. That plan took about 18 months to complete and left many people feeling disconnected, wondering how certain decisions were reached.

“If a very dominant personality wanted to take something in a certain direction (they) pretty much got their way. There was a lot of deferring to people,” Superintendent Michael Houselog said.

Click on the following for more details:   Belvidere School District seeks community planning input - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Sunday, June 23, 2013

More North Boone students make grade under new scale - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

The system particularly helps those who earn a 90 percent, which now equates to an A- instead of the B grade it would have earned on the previous scale.

Administrators said the bump might encourage students who are on the fence about attending college to pursue some sort of higher education.

“It will help some of students feel like ‘I have a 3.0 GPA. I can go to college. I can go on,’” said Jacob Hubert, principal of North Boone High School.

Click on the following for more details:  More North Boone students make grade under new scale - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, June 17, 2013

Letter: Ralph McKenna memorial fund will go to music camp - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

It behooves me to share my past experience with others who are interested in this situation.

My husband, Ralph, taught and coached in Belvidere District 100 for many years. We took an active interest in our community and the school system and raised two children here.

Ralph passed away in 2011, and it seemed appropriate to have his memorial go to football players who were going to pursue a career in that area. It involved $4,000.

After the forms were completed two years in a row, I still hadn't heard anything regarding this. In April, I called the main office and was told they hadn't received the forms, that is was too late for this year and that I should fill out them again next year. I refused... two times and out!

For you kind people who generously donated to Ralph's memorial, you are owed an explanation. Ralph loved music, and he loved dance, which surprised some of his students. Therefore, the memorial money will be going to Birch Creek Music Camp in Egg Harbor, Wis. We always made a point of going up to enjoy the outstanding high school musicians during the big band and jazz sessions. There will be a bench with his name on it, and the balance will go to the camps other needs.

After living in Belvidere since the early 1960s and taking pride in our city and schools, I find it difficult to find words to explain my attitude now.

Ever since the idea to build another high school came up and was acted upon, it has affected the schools and the city. What a shame! There were other alternatives much less costly and less disruptive to the community. Now we're left with a big bill and the need to make drastic cuts, which affects everyone.

This story tells me you are losing good dedicated employees because they don't like what the future looks like or maybe they don't agree with what's going on.

From my perspective, I see an inept administration who we are paying to manage the district in an incompetent manner. Where are we going for here? These are the leaders of tomorrow that you're playing with. These decisions matter and make a big difference in children's lives.

Good luck to our students and the people who care.

Lois McKenna, Belvidere

Letter: Ralph McKenna memorial fund will go to music camp - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, May 27, 2013

Obama Student Loan Policy Reaping $51 Billion Profit

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At $1.1 trillion, student debt eclipses all other forms of household debt, except for home mortgages. It's also the only kind of consumer debt that has increased since the onset of the financial crisis, according to the New York Fed. Officials in Washington are worried that overly indebted student borrowers are unable to save enough to purchase a home, take out loans for new cars, start a business or save enough for their retirement.

Policymakers also are worried about the effect that high interest rates on outstanding student debt may have on the broader economy. Congress sets interest rates on federal student loans, with rates fixed on the majority of loans at 6.8 and 7.9 percent

Click on the following to read all of the story:  Obama Student Loan Policy Reaping $51 Billion Profit

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Steven Vogel’s Opinion on Illinois Pension Reform “must” include judges

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 Steve Vogel | vogelgraph@yahoo.com

(1) Comments

If I were a judge in Illinois, frankly I’d be embarrassed. In their sluggish search for a solution to the state’s pension mess, state legislators seem determined to leave the judges’ pension system untouched by reforms that will almost surely require financial sacrifice by hundreds of thousands of other active and retired public workers — including lawmakers themselves.

Why is the judicial pension system being left alone while the other four may be placed on a forced diet? Because ultimately, seven of the nearly 1,000 judges holding court in Illinois likely will be asked to decide whether desperately-needed pension reforms passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor are constitutional. Those seven are members of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Cynics suggest it’s an outright bribe: Leave judges’ benefits intact and they’ll approve fixes to the other troubled pension systems, helping the state out of a tight spot. House Speaker Mike Madigan says it’s not that at all; he just doesn’t want to put the justices in a conflict of interest. Either way, it’s an insult to our state judiciary, suggesting Illinois’ highest court is unable to put self-interest aside and properly weigh legal arguments presented by interested parties.

Am I naïve, caught in a junior high civics class time warp?

Then, there’s this: No state pays its judges more. A circuit court judge makes about $181,000 a year, associate judges somewhat less, appellate and Supreme Court judges somewhat more. There are about 1,000 retired judges getting annual pensions averaging $112,000 — not quite triple what a typical retired public pensioner gets. And I don’t have a problem with that.

We want smart, quality people on the bench — people who could very well make more in a private law firm, but who are drawn to public service, even if it means financial sacrifice. We also want them financially secure enough that they won’t ever succumb to bribery (like that ever happens in Illinois). So we need to make the job financially inviting — not so much that it lures lawyers only for the pay, but solid enough that it attracts really good people.

But seriously. Judges can tighten those belts under their judicial robes just a little, can’t they?

Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, says he can’t support pension reforms if they don’t include judges. He says he wants to be able to look ISU employees, local public school teachers and rank-and-file state workers in the eye and say the reforms may be painful, but they’re fair. Understandable, even if it tastes a bit like an easy way to avoid casting a burdensome vote.

Solving this problem requires everyone contributing to the solution. That means judges, too.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Leaders aim to open Garden Prairie site for special-needs students - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

The School Board agreed Monday to let district officials start negotiating the terms to lease the now-closed Kishwaukee Elementary School to Camelot Schools. The company serves multineed students, typically those who are autistic or developmentally delayed.

Click on the following to read all of the story:  Leaders aim to open Garden Prairie site for special-needs students - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Belvidere School District's attorney to resign - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

Curt Tobin represents District 100 in legal matters, except in contract negotiations with the teacher's union and specific areas, like special education. He originally submitted his resignation to the School Board in March, although he agreed to represent District 100 until the School Board selected new counsel.

“I am trying to dial down my practice to a more comfortable level for me as I get further into the golden years,” Tobin wrote School Board President Michael Rathbun.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere School District's attorney to resign - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Belvidere Endeavor High celebrates 2013 graduates | Belvidere Daily Republican

 

With an enrollment of 45 students last year, Endeavor graduated 14 students.  On Monday, 20 students graduated with 17 in attendance for the ceremony.

School Principal Matt Ross stood at the podium and announced, “What a tremendous day!”  With justified pride, he said that 43 students have graduated from the school in the two years it has been open.  He told the students, “Graduation is a day to hold your head high!”

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere Endeavor High celebrates 2013 graduates | Belvidere Daily Republican

Universities agree to pick up pension costs | NIU Today

 

Phase-in of new plan would start in 2015

Mike Madigan

Mike Madigan

Presidents and chancellors at public universities and colleges across the state reached an agreement in principal with House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and House leaders Thursday for public universities to assume the employer share of employee pension costs beginning in FY2015.

Click on the following for more details:  Universities agree to pick up pension costs | NIU Today

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Only 27 percent of graduates have a job related to college major

 

majority of graduates are working in a field unrelated to their college major. But here's a twist: the study also showed that the chance of finding a job related to your major increases if you move to a big city.

Only 27 percent of graduates have a job related to college major

Larry Cunningham resigns from Belvidere School Board - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

This is Mr. Cunningham’s second resignation.

Cunningham is moving outside of Bonus Township, although he will continue to live within the Belvidere School District boundary lines.

The School District has 45 days to fill the vacancy. Those interested in serving on the board must submit a resume and a letter of intention describing why they would like to be considered for the position.

Those who are interested in the position must submit a letter and resume to School Board President Mike Rathbun at 1201 Fifth Ave., in Belvidere, by June 11.

Click on the following for more details:  Larry Cunningham resigns from Belvidere School Board - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kish Elementary students get free tablet computers as parting gift - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

Belvidere Community Unit School District 100

Each Kishwaukee Elementary School family will receive a big parting gift when the school closes — a Lenovo tablet.

PTO President Holly Houk said the organization spent almost $29,000 of the $40,000 left in its fund on tablets. Parents wanted to give Kishwaukee families something educational and fun, something they could use for years to come. The remaining PTO funds are being spent on a community celebration Saturday and other miscellaneous expenses

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Kish Elementary students get free tablet computers as parting gift - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beloit WI District OKs iPad project - Beloit Daily News: News

 

We are facing vouchers and we need an edge,” Henderson said. “We have to have something here in Beloit that makes us special. People are excited about this. “

Currently, there are about 600 iPads in the district for students to use, Assistant Superintendent Lynee Tourdot said in an earlier interview.

The program titled Beloit Ignite would cost $3.5 million to $4 million over the three or four years it takes to launch the program. District officials claim the plan could save the schools at least $2.25 million over the same time period because of savings in copier, textbook, paper and technology support. There is also the potential to resell the iPads once they become outdated.

And because computer labs may one day be phased out as part of growing trends in technology, the district suggests savings could be even greater in the long run.

Click on the following for more detailsDistrict OKs iPad project - Beloit Daily News: News

Friday, May 10, 2013

Capron Elementary not available for soup kitchen – for now | Belvidere Daily Republican

 

Written by Bob Balgemann

school’s kitchen will be undergoing renovations this summer

Secondly, there appears to be a degree of opposition to having the kitchen at the school.

Capron Village President-elect Ken Grzybowski questioned the idea of people “who don’t belong in a school” being allowed to be there. “I think it’s a bad idea all-around,” he said, adding that the village initially was not aware of the proposal.

A point in time survey conducted Feb. 23 showed 177 homeless living in Boone County. Of that number, 60 were “literally homeless,” and found to be living in their cars and in abandoned buildings. Of the 60, a “disproportionate number” were found in Capron.

Click on the following to read the entire article: Capron Elementary not available for soup kitchen – for now | Belvidere Daily Republican

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Belvidere schools meet USDA HealthierUS School challenge - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

 

The certification has bronze, silver, and gold levels. Schools qualify for each level depending on the percent of eligible students taking part in the free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs, weekly physical activities, menu plans, nutrition education, and partnerships with community groups to promote health.

The following District 100 schools were certified this school year:

  • Belvidere Central Middle School - Bronze
  • Caledonia Elementary - Bronze
  • Kishwaukee Elementary - Bronze
  • Meehan Elementary - Silver
  • Perry Elementary - Silver
  • Seth Whitman Elementary - Bronze

For a full list of certified Illinois schools, visit www.healthyaccesslocator.com.

 

Read the entire story by clicking on the following:  Belvidere schools meet USDA HealthierUS School challenge - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Speaker Madigan’s Pension Proposal

 

Speaker Madigan’s Pension Proposal – HA #1 to Senate Bill 1

House Amendment #1 to Senate Bill 1 is a comprehensive package that will stabilize and bring solvencyto 4 of the State’s pension funds (GARS, SERS, SURS, and TRS). This package will ensure the Statemeets its obligations to the pension systems by adopting an actuarially accepted payment schedule,providing an enforceable funding guarantee, and altering benefits for current and prospective annuitants.The concepts in this package are not new, and several have been approved by the House.

 

1)New funding schedule.

The new schedule requires the systems to reach 100% funding in 30 years,beginning in FY 15 and ending 2044.

 

2)New method for certifying contributions.

Beginning in FY 15, contributions will be certified using the entry age normal actuarial cost method (“EAN”) instead of the projected unit credit actuarial method (“PUC”). The PUC method, which the systems currently use, requires higher contributions closer to retirement. The EAN method averages costs evenly over the pensioner’s employment,thereby resulting in more level contributions. This change was approved by the House in HB 1277(Senger).

 

3)Supplemental contributions beginning in FY 20.

The State currently makes payments on pension obligation notes from 2010 and 2011, and in 2019, the State will make a final payment of $952million. Once those payments end, the State commits to annually contribute $1 billion

in addition to

the state’s scheduled contributions to the state-funded systems. The additional contributions will continue until all systems reach their funding goal.

 

4)Provide a funding guarantee.

If the State fails to make a required payment under the funding schedule

or

fails to contribute the additional $1 billion promised above, the systems will have a right to bring a mandamus action to compel the State to make the payment. Each Board will have a fiduciary duty to bring an action if necessary. Payments compelled under this provision are expressly subordinate to the state’s debt service obligations.

 

5)Establish a pensionable salary cap for Tier I employees.

The amendment applies the Tier II salary cap to Tier I employees. For 2013, the salary cap was $109,971. The cap will increase annually by ½ the consumer price index for urban consumers. There is a grandfather clause for those employees with salaries that currently exceeds the cap or will exceed the cap based on raises due to the person under a current collective bargaining agreement. Under the proposal, a person whose salary exceeds the salary cap is only eligible for an annuity based on the salary cap.

 

6)New method of calculating the COLA.

Retired members will keep the compounded 3% annual increases they received up until the enactment, but future COLAs will be calculated differently. Going forward, the COLA will be based on 3% of a maximum annuity amount based on their years of service. The cap will be $1,000 for each year the employee had worked ($800 for those coordinated

with Social Security). As an example, an individual retiring with 30 years of service will have a COLA of 3% of $30,000 or $900, which accumulates annually. If a person’s initial annuity is under this threshold, that person will continue receiving a 3% compounded adjustment based on their initial annuity until they reach the cap. This adjustment was originally proposed by Senator Radogno and incorporated in Senate Amendment #4 to SB 35. Additionally, current and future retirees would have the first or next year in which they can receive their COLA delayed. Retirees who are age 67 and older would be unaffected by this delay. Those under age 67 would have their COLA paused until either they reach age 67 or until the 5th

anniversary of their retirement, whichever comes first.

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7)Increase the retirement age for employees under 45 years old.

The amendment raises the retirement age, on a graduated scale, for current Tier I members who are under 45 years old (no change for those 45 years of age or older). This language was approved by the House in HB1166(Madigan) and is included in the Cross-Nekritz pension reform package (HB 3411).The retirement age is increased by the following schedule:

Age 40 to 44 – additional 1 year added to the applicable system’s minimum retirement age;

Age 35 to 39 – additional 3 years added; and

Below 35 – additional 5 years added.

 

8)Increase employee contributions by 2%.

Beginning July 1, 2013, employees will be required to contribute an additional 1%, and this is increased to 2% on July 1, 2014.

 

9)Eliminate the subject of pensions for collective bargaining.

Bargaining units and employers with participants in the State systems would be prohibited from negotiating changes related to pensions.

 

10)Fix the COLA for Tier II members of GARS.

Under current law, the General Assembly and Judges’ Retirement systems have their salary cap and annuity increased by the lesser of CPI or 3%. All other systems have their salary cap and annuity increased by the lesser of one-half of CPI or 3%. This draft lowers the General Assembly Retirement System down to one-half of CPI to bring it in line with other systems.

 

11)Prohibit non-governmental organizations from participating in State systems.

The amendmentprevents new employees of several “non-governmental” organizations from participating under IMRF,SURS, and TRS. Additionally, it prohibits new employees of all state systems from using sick time or vacation time in calculating their annuity.

 

12)Change the effective rate of interest

. The amendment suggests that the Comptroller adopt a more conservative number for what is known as the “effective rate of interest” (“ERI”). Under current law,the ERI determines benefits for university and community college employees hired before 2005. The amendment still provides that the Comptroller set this rate, but advises a figure that will more appropriately determine benefits for certain participants.

 

13)Prohibit the use of pension funds to pay costs associated with healthcare.

The amendment makes clear that the state funded pension systems are not to use retirement contributions for the purpose of subsidizing the cost of retiree healthcare.

 

14)Require separate appropriation request for employer normal cost and amortization of the unfunded liability.

The Governor must introduce and the systems must certify these costs separately.

The above is taken from:  Speaker Madigan’s Pension Proposal

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

St. Charles high schools make top 50 list - Chicago Tribune

 

Both St. Charles high schools make magazine's top rankings

April 26, 2013|By Alexa Aguilar, Special to the Tribune

 

Both St. Charles high schools made a "top 50" annual list published by U.S. News & World Report that ranks each state's high schools.

St. Charles North ranked 21st and St. Charles East nabbed the 39th spot in Illinois, according to the results. Nationally, they ranked 511th and 977th, respectively.

Click on the following:  St. Charles high schools make top 50 list - Chicago Tribune

McHenry County Superintendent’s Salaries

The following are taken from Cal Skinner’s McHenry County Bloghttp://mchenrycountyblog.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Sch-Supt-Salaries-4-13.png

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Superintendent of Belvidere, Harmony Township schools to retire this year | lehighvalleylive.com

The other Belvidere—their superintendent is so so overpaid. ANd please remember this is in New Jersey.

Under a shared superintendent contract that received county executive approval in 2011, Swaneveld also oversees the Harmony Township School District in the same capacity.

White and Hope townships are send students to Belvidere High School but maintain their own districts and boards at the elementary school level.

In July 2011, Swaneveld agreed to a 5-year contract that runs through June 2016 at an annual salary of $147,500 with an additional salary of $10,000 for sharing services with Harmony Township.

Click on the following for more details:  Superintendent of Belvidere, Harmony Township schools to retire this year | lehighvalleylive.com

Belvidere School District

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Belvidere School District

Superintendent:
Dirk Swaneveld

Business Administrator:
Rachelle Tjalma

Address:
809 Oxford Street
Belvidere, NJ 07823

Grade Range:
K-12

School facilities:
3

Enrollment:
891 (as of 2008-09)[1]

Faculty (in FTEs):
77.5

Student–teacher ratio:
11.5

District Factor Group:
DE

Web site:
http://www.belvideresd.org

image

 

The Belvidere School District is a comprehensive community public school district that serves students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade from Belvidere in Warren County, New Jersey, United States.

Students from Harmony Township, Hope Township, and White Township attend Belvidere High School as part of sending/receiving relationships.[3]

As of the 2008-09 school year, the district's three schools had an enrollment of 894 students and 77.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.5.[1]

The district participates in the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program at South Harrison Township Elementary School, having been approved on July 14, 2000, to participate in the program.[4] Seats in the program for non-resident students are specified by the district and are allocated by lottery, with tuition paid for participating students by the New Jersey Department of Education.[5]

The district has a nine-member Board of Education, with one additional member from each of the three sending districts.[6]

The district is classified by the New Jersey Department of Education as being in District Factor Group "DE", the fifth highest of eight groupings. District Factor Groups organize districts statewide to allow comparison by common socioeconomic characteristics of the local districts. From lowest socioeconomic status to highest, the categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J.[7]

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Schools

Schools in the district (with 2008-09 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[8]) are:

[edit] Administration

Senior members of the district's administration include:[9]

  • Dirk Swaneveld - Superintendent
  • Ronald Rush - Business Administrator