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