Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Belvidere's Mike Hearn voted into football coaching Hall of Fame - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

SUSAN MORAN | RRSTAR.COM

Ali Hearn (left) and her father, Mike Hearn, both of Belvidere, are pictured Sunday, May 23, 2010, at the MetroCentre in Rockford before the Belvidere High School graduation.

Click on the following for more detailsBelvidere's Mike Hearn voted into football coaching Hall of Fame - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, February 25, 2013

Harper teams with University of Illinois' engineering school - DailyHerald.com

 

Beginning this fall, incoming Harper students selected for the Engineering Pathways program will complete specific core science, math and English courses and then transfer to the U. of I. College of Engineering, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News World and Report.

are hoping for, at least, with the launch of an exclusive partnership with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Engineering.

Click on the following for more details:  Harper teams with University of Illinois' engineering school - DailyHerald.com

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Former NIU cop re-indicted on rape charges - chicagotribune.com

By Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune reporters

Ex-campus cop sues NIU over rape charge

A DeKalb County grand jury has re-indicted a former Northern Illinois University police officer for rape less than three months after prosecutors dropped an identical charge against him and just days after the school fired its police chief for allegedly mishandling the case.

Andrew Rifkin, 25, was charged Friday with felony criminal sexual assault in connection with an October 2011 incident involving an NIU freshman. The indictment adds another chapter to a legal drama that so far has included accusations of hidden evidence, upheaval in the campus Police Department and the abrupt dismissal of the original case by a lame-duck prosecutor.

Click on the following for more details:  Former NIU cop re-indicted on rape charges - chicagotribune.com

Saturday, February 23, 2013

North Boone School Board to cut $600K from budget - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

School Board members informally agreed Thursday night to trim $600,000 from next year’s projected $1.125 million deficit budget by cutting staff, delaying capital expenditures and postponing a bond abatement.

Click on the following for more details: North Boone School Board to cut $600K from budget - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Belvidere School Board could be in hot seat for budget cuts - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Is the newspaper stirring the pot or reporting the facts?  Time will tell?—Perhaps the question is: Which board is Mr. Houselog listening to?

By Jennifer Wheeler

RRSTAR.COM

Officials haven’t voted on a plan yet, though whatever decision they make could change once the next board is elected April 9. The new regime would still have months to reverse some choices before next school year.

Click on the following for more details:  New Belvidere School Board could be in hot seat for budget cuts - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

More options on table in Belvidere school budget discussion - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

School Board members threw district leaders a curve ball Tuesday night, asking them to consider expanding their three-year budget reduction plan to include choices that close Perry and Kishwaukee elementary schools next year….

School Board Vice President Doug Smiley said the district should consider laying the foundation sooner rather than later to bring expenses in line with declining revenue.

Several parents were caught off guard by the School Board’s request.

Click on the following to read all of the story:  More options on table in Belvidere school budget discussion - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Rockford Register Star’s coverage of 2-19-2013 school board meeting

 

Jennifer WheelerJennifer Wheeler@jenmwheeler6 hrs

Kishwaukee parent feels betrayed. Recommendations keep all schools open. School Board members want to consider closing them. @rrstar

4:51 PM - Feb 19, 2013

6 hrsJennifer WheelerJennifer Wheeler@jenmwheeler

Kishwaukee parent feels betrayed. Recommendations keep all schools open. School Board members want to consider closing them. @rrstar

5 hrssadie maesadie mae@sassysaddie

  1. @jenmwheeler @rrstar We have been betrayed!!!! The board was voted in by the community to represent the community. Clearly they don't care!

    Details Expand Collapse

  2. 5 hrssadie maesadie mae@sassysaddie

    @jenmwheeler @rrstar We want them to slow down and not close schools for next year. Doug Smiley and co. couldn't care less they are leaving

    Details Expand Collapse

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NIU police chief fired amid misconduct allegations - chicagotribune.com

By Jodi S. Cohen and Stacy St. Clair Tribune reporters

NIU said Grady was fired after a review of the rape case and police records, as well as an administrative hearing…

Grady, who led the campus police force since 2001, has had a roller-coaster relationship with the campus. He was praised for saving lives during the 2008 campus shootings that left five students dead, but also criticized for his sometimes prickly personality and refusal to share information about investigations.

His most recent troubles began last fall when a DeKalb County judge accused his department of misconduct in its investigation of an alleged sexual assault by one of its officers….

Read the entire article by clicking on the following:  NIU police chief fired amid misconduct allegations - chicagotribune.com

Belvidere parents to present 1,100 petition signatures tonight - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

Residents will present the Belvidere School Board a petition with more than 1,100 signatures tonight, asking leaders to slow down the decision-making process to trim next year’s budget.

A group of concerned parents began circulating petitions nearly three weeks ago to encourage School Board members to vote against closing schools, according to the Kishwaukee Elementary School PTO Facebook.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere parents to present 1,100 petition signatures tonight - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

See the administrative proposed cuts at:  http://district100watchdog.blogspot.com/2013/02/superintendent-houselogs.html OR http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/94XJNT4E0A6E/$file/Recommendations%202-19-13.pdf

Monday, February 18, 2013

Belvidere superintendent opposes closing schools to trim budget - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

he recommendations will not spend down next year’s projected $7.1 million deficit, although the savings will give leaders more time to consider substantial cost-saving measures. 

“Some community ideas saved significant dollars, however, we did not believe the ideas could be successfully implemented for the upcoming school year and/or we needed additional time to evaluate the ideas,” according to meeting documents.

Click on the following for all of the story:  Belvidere superintendent opposes closing schools to trim budget - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

To see the Superintendent’s actual statements go to:  http://www.district100watchdog.blogspot.com/2013/02/superintendent-houselogs.html     OR

http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/94XJNT4E0A6E/$file/Recommendations%202-19-13.pdf

Nancy Folbre: Preschool Economics - NYTimes.com

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conservative opposition remains fierce. The loudest complaint is that public programs have not been shown to be cost-effective. But a wealth of research by highly respected economists shows that well-designed, high-quality early-childhood education programs offer a positive payback

Click on the following to read this opinion piece:  Nancy Folbre: Preschool Economics - NYTimes.com

Saturday, February 16, 2013

District 200 North Boone’s Financial Projections

North Boone’s website has the projections of PMA Financial available for the public to see at:  http://www.nbcusd.org/budgetinfo/pmaprojections20130124.pdf

Especially interesting is the projected tax rate on page 31.  Tax rate could increase from 6.16% (2011) to 9.42% (2018); that is a 53% RATE INCREASE IN 7 years.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

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Much of the increase is because of interest and principal payment on the building debt—see the chart below. Especially numbers highlighted in blue. In seven years the Bond & Interest Fund’s levy will more than double from 1.1255% to 2.3299%.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Seven Hononegah students earn "perfect" ACT score - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Cathy Bayer

Those seven students – the district hasn’t yet released their names – earned a composite score of 36.

Earning a perfect score is rare: Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top composite score of 36, according to ACT officials.

Of the more than 1.66 million students in the graduating class of 2012 to take the  ACT, just 781 scored a 36.

Last year, Hononegah’s class of 2012 had two students who earned a 36.

Click on the following for more details:  Seven Hononegah students earn "perfect" ACT score - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Superintendent Houselog’s Recommendations for 2013-2014

The following is taken from:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/94XJNT4E0A6E/$file/Recommendations%202-19-13.pdf

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100
Recommendation Highlights

February 19, 2013
For the 2013-2014 School Year:


No school closures No grade reconfigurations Non-renewal of temporary/transition boundary areas and return elementary students to neighborhood schools
o Current Lincoln Elementary students north of Woodstock Road would attend Caledonia Elementary
o Eastern portion of Farmington Subdivision would attend Meehan Elementary
o Washington STEM Academy operates on a regular school calendar No extracurricular program eliminations; however, some consolidation of similar clubs and planning for additional co-op of some sports would occur Transition Endeavor HS to Regional Office of Education with expanded program offerings Dissolve Boone County Special Education Co-op yielding a one time savings of $1,850,000 Projected savings of $4,702,083 ($2,852,083 + $1,850,000)


For Subsequent School Years:
Potential for balanced budget by the 2015-2016 school year given continuation of all current assumptions … revisions of budget forecasts would be needed if fiscal conditions change Continued implementation of above items yields recurring savings of $2,852,083 with additional savings possible, if needed, by school closures and grade reconfigurations as determined by the Board of Education Significant additional savings are possible through the contract negotiations process with various employee associations Increasing revenue remains a possibility through an education fund referendum


Belvidere Community Unit School District #100
Recommendation to the Board of Education for Cost Savings
February 19, 2013
Summarized below is a table that captures the highlights of cost saving recommendations from District Administration for the next three school years. There is a significant projected deficit for the 2013-2014 school year, however, the potential exists to be at or near a balanced budget the following two years. Projections will need to be periodically revised to reflect changing conditions. Potential examples of changes could include a further reduction in state funding and/or increased state pension contributions funded at the local level.
The public input that was received was carefully considered in putting together this recommendation. Some community ideas saved significant dollars, however, we did not believe the ideas could be successfully implemented for the upcoming school year and/or we needed additional time to evaluate the ideas. Other ideas were not prudent to implement based on student academic concerns and overcrowding. While this recommendation does continue to spend down some of the District’s reserves, it also allows time to fully evaluate the recommendations that have the potential to save significant dollars in the future. The summary base recommendations are highlighted in the table below and additional details are on accompanying pages.
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Summary of Savings

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Consideration of Grade Reconfiguration Options and School Closures
At this time, there is no recommendation to change grades or close schools for the 2013-2014 school year. The recommendation for the 2013-2014 school year is to return students to their home schools, eliminate temporary boundaries and make a few boundary adjustments. This will allow more time to study the suggestions that have been received from the community over the last few months. The options that have been recommended by the community have been summarized below and a brief narrative of the positives, negatives and community input for each option follows.
Option A – K-4, 5-6, 7-9, 10-12
While this option saved significant money, BHS and BNHS would have been at or slightly more than capacity. This option raised community concerns with respect to academic opportunities, extracurricular opportunities and student overcrowding. Positive comments from the community included, maximizing savings, strengthening extracurricular programs and closing older buildings.
Consolidation of the high schools and middle schools is an immense undertaking and something that would need adequate planning before implementation. We did not believe a project of this magnitude could be planned and implemented before the 2013-2014 school year. This is an option that can be studied over coming years and one that may make sense when the smaller class sizes (550 range) begin to work their way through the high school and middle school ranks.
Option B – K-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-12
This option also saved significant dollars and had many of the same community comments detailed in Option A. In looking at Option B, BNHS would be at capacity immediately, while BHS remained underutilized. Depending on how many students remained at Washington, there may have been a crowding issue for the 6-7 classes at BCMS. The magnitude of this reconfiguration was also very large and raised planning and implementation concerns with respect to the 2013-2014 school year. As in Option A, there were multiple transitions which the Board had previously raised as a concern.
Option C – K-6, 7-9, 10-12
This option saved significant dollars and was somewhat similar to the grade configuration that existed in the District prior to embarking on the middle school platform. Community comments were similar to Option A and B, with some people expressing support for moving 6th grade back to the elementary buildings.
The only difference between this model and the previous District model was that 9th graders were at the high school in the old model. This option eliminated one transition, which was a plus, but left BHS and BNHS at capacity. Again, we did not believe a project of this magnitude could be planned and implemented before the 2013-2014 school year. This is an option that can be studied over coming years and one that may make sense when the smaller class sizes (550 range) begin to work their way through the high school and middle school ranks.
Option D – K-5, 6-7, 8-12 with two high schools
This option did not save as much as Options A-C but preserved opportunities for participation at both high schools. The utilization of both high school buildings was improved and there was still room for growth. Moving the 8th grade students to the high school buildings caused concern from some people in the community. Others were supportive of keeping both high schools open to offer more opportunities, while still others thought the cost of operating two high schools outweighed the benefit. This is an option that we believed could have been planned and implemented for the start of the 2013-2014 school year. Depending on how many students remained at Washington, there may have been a crowding issue for the 6-7 classes at BCMS.
Option E – K-4, 5-7, 8-12 with two high schools
This option did not save as much as Options A-C but was similar to Option D. This option preserved opportunities for participation at both high schools. Community comments on Option E were very similar to Option D. The utilization of both high school buildings was improved and there was still room for growth. Moving the 8th grade students to the high school buildings was still a concern under this option. This option may have been a challenge to plan and implement for the start of the 2013-2014 school year. Unlike option D where only one grade level moved, there was a shift of elementary students as well.
Option F – K-6, 7-12
This option was in between A-C and D,E as far as savings. This option kept two high school buildings open, with both being at capacity. There was general community concern on this option due to capacity at the high school buildings and also the fact that both 7th and 8th grade students would be shifted to the high school buildings. This option would have been a challenge to plan and implement for the 2013-2014 school year as there would have been multiple grade levels shifting.
Option G – K-8, 9-12
This was a newer option and there has not been much feedback at this point. The information that accompanied this suggestion was interesting and needs to be studied. This option would have been a challenge to plan and implement for the 2013-2014 school year as there would have been multiple grade levels shifting and some large boundary changes needed.

Option H – K-6, 7-8, 9-12 with two high schools
This was also a newer option but one that is familiar to the District. As noted above, this was the grade configuration before moving to the middle school concept. This is something that could be easily planned and implemented over a summer. The projected savings for a Year 2 implementation of this have been included above. The savings noted above maintains a middle school concept. If a traditional junior high model was adopted, the savings would be significantly higher.

North Boone District 200 Salaries

The following are taken from:  http://www.nbcusd.org/budgetinfo/FY13Compensation%20Report20120924.pdf

Certified Staff:

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

 

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Further administrative disclosure:

 

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Friday, February 8, 2013

North Boone School District budget cuts in near future - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler

will likely run out of reserves by 2018.

Officials will be working to cut $1.125 million from next fiscal year’s budget to temporarily balance the books. Residents can CLICK HERE to complete a survey about how this should be accomplished

Click on the following to read all of the story:  North Boone School District budget cuts in near future - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

School nurse mandate being re-examined - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

 

Required since ‘76

Some schools have opted for years to hire less-expensive registered nurses to cut costs even though a CSN is the only type of nurse trained specifically to deal with special-education students in developing individualized education programs. However, there are just three programs with limited enrollment in the state that offer the 300-hour internship required to obtain certification

Click on the following to read all of the story:  School nurse mandate being re-examined - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

55 Boone County high school students named ‘Illinois Scholars’ | Belvidere Daily Republican

 

The State Scholar Program recognizes students for outstanding academic achievement. It provides honorary recognition, with no monetary award. Approximately the top 10 percent of senior classes are announced as Illinois Scholars each year.

Among the eligibility requirements are being in the top 50 percent of their high school class at the end of the third semester of their junior year and/or scoring in the 95th percentile on the ACT, SAT or Prairie State Achievement Exam.

Belvidere North students named Illinois Scholars are:

Gunnar Baechler, Anthony Bartuch, Timothy Callahan, Emily Carrick, Kelsey Cassaro, Megan Coslovich, Victoria Darling, Justin Ellingson, Kollin Elliott, Jasmine Forrest, Jesus Galvan, Max Hellmann, Kenneth Hildebrandt, Heide Hulstedt, Mirlinda Isai and Lauren Johnson.

Also, Lindsay Kirkham Olsen, Addison Kitchen, Dylan Minarik, Patrick Moore, Emily Mosher, Richard Nellis, Krista Nettgen, Nicole Nevicosi, Erik Nord, Conor Reilley, Richardo Roman, Selena Sanchez, Allison Sanford, Luke Walker and Jordan Zickert.

Belvidere High School students so honored are:

Alex Andersen, Abigail Broze, Brenna Carbno, Sarah Cepeda, Zoe Compton, Sara Cross, Joseph Cruz, Jacob Glover, Eloisa Gutierrez, Katherine Soltys, Mesha Tracey, Katherine Traynor, Emily Virgin, Benjamin Walters, Alexa Wesselhoff and Michael Yannone.

The following North Boone students were named Illinois Scholars:

Nicole Abraham, Jacob Ellsworth, Megan Johnson, Kristin Lee, Brandon Pagni, Sarah Timm, Alexandra Wood and Shannon Zelek.

Click on the following for more details:  55 Boone County high school students named ‘Illinois Scholars’ | Belvidere Daily Republican

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

 

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.

Click on the following for more detailsAre Belvidere sports teams better off with 1 high school or 2? - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Belvidere parents want brakes on School Board's budget decisions - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Dozens of residents wore neon yellow “Slow This Down! Caution. Rough Road Ahead” T-shirts at the special Board of Education meeting Monday. Their message: Delay all decisions until the next School Board is elected and residents have more time to evaluate seven community options, which include cutting as many as 52 positions, consolidating the two high schools and closing up to three buildings.

Waiting another year isn’t realistic for the board and would inch the district closer to depleting its reserves by 2017.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere parents want brakes on School Board's budget decisions - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, February 4, 2013

Rock River Valley schools earn state recognition on tests - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

The recognition is divided into three categories: Spotlight Schools, Academic Excellence and Academic Improvement.

Spotlight: recognizes 105 high-poverty, high-performing schools beating the odds by overcoming the achievement gap. Excellence: recognizes 454 schools that have sustained high performance during the course of at least three years. Improvement: recognizes 82 schools showing substantial improvement.

Spotlight winners: Aplington Middle, Polo; Blackhawk Elementary, South Beloit

Excellence winners: Byron Middle, Byron; Kishwaukee Elementary, Garden Prairie; Stone Creek Elementary, Roscoe; Tilton Elementary, Rochelle; Washington Gifted, Rockford; Willowbrook Middle, South Beloit; Pecatonica Middle, Pecatonica; Pecatonica Elementary, Pecatonica; Pearl City Elementary, Pearl City.

Improvement winners: Galapagos Rockford Charter, Rockford; East High, Rockford; Swan Hillman Elementary, Rockford.

Rock River Valley schools earn state recognition on tests - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Northwest Herald | Locust school in ‘spotlight’ for its success

 

Marengo District 165’s Locust Elementary School was the only school in McHenry County recently honored by the state for having its high-poverty student population achieve high academic success.

The Marengo school was one of only 105 schools across Illinois named to the Illinois State Board of Education’s Spotlight Schools list for 2012.

Click on the the following for more details: Northwest Herald | Locust school in ‘spotlight’ for its success

Friday, February 1, 2013