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


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

Dirk Swaneveld

Business Administrator:
Rachelle Tjalma

809 Oxford Street
Belvidere, NJ 07823

Grade Range:

School facilities:

891 (as of 2008-09)[1]

Faculty (in FTEs):

Student–teacher ratio:

District Factor Group:

Web site:



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]



[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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Northwest Herald | Three McHenry County area high schools make U.S. News and World Report list


Three McHenry County high schools made the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings as top high schools in the state.

Cary-Grove (50), Richmond-Burton (53) and Marengo (61) all made the Illinois rankings, which listed the top 69 high schools in the state.

All three schools scored above or near the Illinois average in student-to-teacher ratio, college readiness, math proficiency and reading proficiency....

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | Three area high schools make U.S. News and World Report list

The actual listing are available at:  http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/illinois/rankings?int=c0b4c1


High school juniors in Illinois take the Prairie State Achievement Examination, which assesses reading, math and science skills. Learn more from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Illinois has many schools ranked in 2013 among the U.S. News Best High Schools, including 19 gold medal schools, 50 silver medal schools and 69 bronze medal schools. Although the capital of Illinois is Springfield, the state's biggest city is Chicago, home to the Chicago Public Schools.

Top Ranked IL Schools

To be eligible for a state ranking, a school must be awarded a national gold or silver medal.



SEE Hononegah #44








Monday, April 22, 2013

Their View: RVC board ‘minority’ speaks out - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star


By Stephanie Raach and Mary Tuite

Special to RRSTAR.COM

Posted Apr 21, 2013 @ 01:40 PM


The Register Star, for the first time, endorsed three candidates for the Rock Valley College Board of Trustees. The phrase “board majority” was used quite frequently, and candidates referred to it in their campaign literature.

The public needs to hear from two “minority” trustees. We are a retired 30-year Rock Valley College professor/administrator who then served as a six-year trustee, and a 32-year area community volunteer. RVC is the future of our community.

Our board service during the past two years has been challenging. We found ourselves questioning whether the mission of Rock Valley College was being ignored. Because of our hesitations, we were left out of important discussions and decision-making.

Rock Valley College, for more than 50 years, has provided quality education in liberal arts and career programs. This can be attributed to its qualified and caring faculty, the professional and educational support personnel, dedicated administrators, Presidents Karl Jacobs and Jack Becherer, an amazing student body and a diverse Board of Trustees. All these groups functioned as one body and improved student learning and success.

In the past two years we have seen a board majority that is micromanaging the college president and his leadership team.

In the past, decisions were made after meaningful discussion with the president and his team. This style produced excellent results for our students.

Today, the board’s management style has diminished morale; increased board demands have exhausted college personnel; and the tone and tenor of discussion is authoritative.

Last year’s contract negotiations forced the fatigued faculty to pay a percentage of insurance that took other community colleges 10 or more years to achieve, led to higher legal costs and struck fear in students that their education would be interrupted.

Gone were Board of the Whole discussions and opportunities to discuss revising our bylaws, which would involve conflict of interest and board ethics. A new committee structure was initiated and noncommittee trustees were considered guests and called disruptive if they disagreed with the co-chairs.

If our voices could not be heard at committee meetings, and there were no whole board discussions, how were we to vote with confidence? We often had to vote “no” because of denial of communication.

We have financial concerns over funding and believe that some of the “impressive board majority” decisions are a burden to operations and the quality of education. We question whether it necessary to make a costly move downtown, and why we gave our employees raises and didn’t fund them. How is underfunded IT affecting students and faculty? How are we going to pay for AdvanceNow? How can we meet the demands of cost-sharing of pensions? Will the departmental budgets be slashed as money falls short?

We applaud the renovating the two oldest campus buildings and the new Performance Venue Building. We ponder why the board took so long to make this decision.

We support the collaboration with our area high schools in old and new programs. We celebrate the joint efforts with area business and manufacturers. We are grateful to the Rock Valley Foundation.

What if all that recent election “yard sign” money had been donated to buy some equipment for our new AdvanceNow program?

RRStar shame on you! Our service at RVC should never be diminished by the divisive words used in your endorsement. Education is a top priority. Things may look good on paper only if they can be realized by completion.

Finally, we thank the residents of District 511 for choosing us as your representatives. It is an honor.

Stephanie Raach and Mary Tuite are Rock Valley College trustees.

Their View: RVC board ‘minority’ speaks out - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Friday, April 19, 2013

Election 2013: Realtors help foot bill for Boone County tax question - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

The numbers say—Brace yourself most of the so called benefit is rather short duration.

By Jennifer Wheeler


rs had not passed the referendum, property taxes could have shot up from $471 in 2015 to $726 in 2019 for the owner of home valued at $100,000, according to School District estimates. The figures do not account for potential bond refinancing.

Instead, the same $100,000 homeowner is expected to pay $329 in property taxes to the district in 2015 and $630 by 2019. Passage of the referendum essentially saves them more than $1,000 in higher property tax payments through 2025.


Donors gave more than $30,000 to the Citizens for School Bond Relief campaign, although only two-thirds of the money was used, committee member Ken Swanson said. An exact total of expenses has not been determined.

Swanson said committee members will reach out to donors and offer them a prorated refund on unspent money.

Click on the following for more details:  Election 2013: Realtors help foot bill for Boone County tax question - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Making it Right?

Let us see how right this proposal is in a year or two.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Should Washington sub-district parents have a right to pull their students out of Washington STEM

The administration has made so “much” about this so called magnet school yet if it is so good why does the board of education not give parents “complete choice” to decline this school. 

I understand that the Superintendent’s children attended the school last year but because he lives in an expensive home in a different sub-district he could opt out having his children return to Washington this year.

The inescapable fact is that Washington Elementary School was on its way to being declared a failed school.  The board of education reorganized and made it a magnet school so as not to have a forced, reorganized school under NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. Washington STEM’s curriculum never was very different than the standard District 100 curriculum. We will see how well its students do in the March 2013 tests compared to the other schools.


Washington sub district parents do not wish to return to Washington STEM

The following statement from Allison Reid-Niemiec was given during public comment at April 15, 2013 District 100 School Board meeting

My comments relate to the “Elimination of decline option for Washington Academy” as described in the Superintendent’s letter dated April 11, 2013, included in your board packet for this meeting.

Has the Superintendent clarified, for you the Board members, the Washington Academy decline option IS NOT connected to No Child Left Behind law or its waiver? What is the Superintendent’s projected INCREASE in transportation costs by not allowing a WA decline option with parent transport? I would request the Superintendent provide the exact number of students that would be uprooted and forced back to Washington Academy from not only Kishwaukee, but also Lincoln and Perry. Is the Board aware the Superintendent sent a letter to Kishwaukee parents denying the option of Washington Academy decline PRIOR to his Board recommendation dated April 11, 2013? Has the Superintendent researched, and duly shared with the Board, a cost analysis for governmental penalties and parent sponsored litigation associated with a student’s inability to access an equal education, due to grade and geographical location separation? Has the Superintendent been proactive in recognizing the need for parity among students? The Superintendent has NOT demonstrated foresight in identifying the need for a written POLICY addressing Washington Academy decline options, the application process, open enrollment, and magnet versus traditional schools. I would suggest the uniform application of a written POLICY addressing Washington Academy decline and enrollment procedures. I urge the Board to postpone the action scheduled for this evening until a written policy, based upon uniformity and equality, is presented. I am not expecting the Board to comment, this evening, on the questions I have posed. Howev­er, I am asking for a written response addressing all my questions

Allison Reid-Niemiec .

Two other parents provided short statements regarding the matter.

The school board did not accept Mr. Houselog’s request that parents in the Washington sub-district no longer be given “choice”.  However such choice was granted only if parents provided transportation and space is available. For more details go to:  http://district100watchdog.blogspot.com/2013/04/washington-academy-parents-now-have.html

Washington Academy parents now have options in Belvidere - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

By Jennifer Wheeler


Washington Academy families received a lifeline Monday and no longer will be forced to enroll their children in the Belvidere School District’s magnet school.

Belvidere School Board members decided to let the families apply to attend the district’s traditionally taught schools next school year as long as they provide transportation for their children and there is classroom space available.

Click on the following for more details:  Washington Academy parents now have options in Belvidere - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, April 15, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Texas rethinking its testing, curriculum standards - Yahoo! News


federal No Child Left Behind law was born in Texas, and billionaire Ross Perot first rallied big business to support tougher standardized testing and high school graduation standards here nearly three decades ago.

But the state now appears ready to step back from the strenuous accountability policies it has long been a national leader in championing, amid fears that youngsters are being forced to take too many high-stakes tests and that too many might drop out because of higher expectations. A number of other states are also considering pulling back.

Click on the following for more details:  Texas rethinking its testing, curriculum standards - Yahoo! News

Saturday, April 6, 2013

District 100’s sales tax: How did we get here?

Does anyone remember Unicom and Vision 100? Will we see them again?

Below is Unicom’s statement concerning their accomplishments in Belvidere. District 100 hired them for work on the District paid study “Vision 100” and then the privately funded “Citizens with a Vision” hired them for the campaign. Who “really paid” what?


spacerThe following is an advertisement from Unicom

Client: Belvidere Community Unit School District 100
Challenge: The City of Belvidere, an eastern suburb of Rockford, Illinois was becoming a far west suburb of Chicago. As a result, school enrollment was exploding. Unfortunately, the District was plagued with the same kind of electoral problems facing many of the Districts in the Rockford area: multiple losses at the polls by margins at or exceeding two to one.
Solution: A community engagement program was used to generate community understanding and support for a second high school and additional facility improvements. Following that program, UNICOM•ARC worked with “Citizens with a Vision” in developing an aggressive campaign that involved extensive door-to-door direct voter contact programs, distribution of an informational video (reproduced on DVD), direct mail, movie theater slides, television advertising and automated phone calls. Following the election, the District was able to build a second high school and another elementary school and embark on the second phase of its long term plan for improving the schools.

How much is all that “Vote Yes” advertisement costing?

Well here is the initial listing of costs:  http://www.elections.state.il.us/campaigndisclosure/ItemizedExpend.aspx?FiledDocID=495200&ExpenditureType=Expenditures&Archived=True&OrderBy=LastorOnlyName-AtoZ&ItemizedExpendFrom=D2Quarterly.aspx

This report has 14 itemized Expenditures totaling $11,400.52.  The committee at last count collected $30,070.  See:  http://www.elections.state.il.us/campaigndisclosure/D2Quarterly.aspx?id=495200


Click on the photocopy to enlarge


Friday, April 5, 2013

Letter: 'What happened to choice through open enrollment' - What You're Saying: Letters & Guest Columns - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

What happens to last year’s “Choice”.  Is District 100 going to pay for uniforms for the students forces to return to Washington?

March, the Belvidere District 100 School Board voted to close Kishwaukee Elementary and eliminate the balanced school year, thereby eliminating STEM at Washington Academy. Where would our child attend next year?

A letter from Mr. Houselog dated March 20, confirmed children in Kishwaukee Elementary boundary area would go to either Meehan or Seth Whitman and Washington Academy students would go to Washington Academy. In a written letter to Mr. Houselog, I asked what school my daughter would attend when I decline Washington Academy for the 2013-2014 school year. Mr. Houselog’s prompt email response stated students attending kindergarten through fifth grade next year and living in the Washington Attendance Center will attend Washington Academy. Parents can only decline to go to Washington Academy if their child will be in sixth, seventh or eighth grade for the 2013-2014 school year.

What happened to choice through open enrollment? A student living outside the Washington Academy boundary has the option to attend his or her traditional elementary school or apply to attend Washington Academy. Living in the Washington Academy boundary area apparently gives my daughter one option: magnet school.

To add to confusion, a decline form for 2013-2014 school year is available by searching Washington decline on district100.com. The deadline for decline is April 12. There has been significant effort by the district to inform students of the Washington Academy application process, but no information or guidance regarding a parent’s right to decline. Doesn’t my decline vacate a coveted spot for an open enrollment applicant? Why wouldn’t the district be pleased by my wish to decline?

— Allison Reid-Niemiec, Belvidere

Letter: 'What happened to choice through open enrollment' - What You're Saying: Letters & Guest Columns - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, April 4, 2013

North Boone School Board wants a tablet in every 21st-century hand - Jennifer Wheeler - Boone County - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star


By Jennifer Wheeler


Posted Apr 03, 2013 @ 02:24 AM

POPLAR GROVE — The North Boone School District may soon purchase the technology it needs to offer 21st-century classrooms.

The district is considering buying a tablet for every seventh-grader so they can learn with equipment they are likely to encounter in the workplace.

Click on the following to read more:   North Boone School Board wants a tablet in every 21st-century hand - Jennifer Wheeler - Boone County - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

District 100’s statements concerning student choice for Washington school area students

The following is taken from the current District 100 website: 



Read through the student choice policy as shown below:  http://www.district100.com/District/Pages/default.aspx?RootFolder=%2FDistrict%2FAbout%20Us%2FSchool%20Choice%20Information&FolderCTID=0x0120000C45CF7286A2014883760031B8AE7D93&View={F3AE284C-49AF-4FEB-9DE8-18A9CA0F4E19}


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Do you remember these post cards from last November?

Well I have not seen any of the cards yet however there are reported “robo” calls done by American for Prosperity. UPDATE 4-4-2013: The vote “No” cards are back as a series expensive vote “yes” cards were sent as well.


Here is the website for Americans for Prosperity: http://americansforprosperity.org/illinois/about/#ixzz2DUTOF1Kk


NIU’s new President: Douglas D. Baker



Read more at:  http://www.niutoday.info/2013/04/02/douglas-d-baker-named-niu-president/