Thursday, April 24, 2014

District 303 hires Richmond-Davis parent -

Schlomann Administration questioned about possible conflict of interest in  Chicago Tribune article. Don Schlomann is the former Superintendent of Belvidere District 100 and a resident of Boone County.

….But Superintendent Don Schlomann said Brandt was given no favoritism in the hiring process nor does he believe Brandt's role on the committee was compromised by his interest in the position.

In 2011, 17 parents sued the district, alleging officials had acted illegally when the district changed Davis Elementary into a kindergarten through second-grade school and Richmond Elementary into a school for third- through fifth-graders. At the time, Richmond Elementary had failed for three consecutive years to meet federal progress standards.

Last fall, a Kane County Circuit Court judge ordered the district to create the new plan for the two schools, saying that the district failed to show how the 2011 merger would improve the academic achievement of subgroups at Richmond.

From November through March of this year, Brandt, a parent of a Richmond fifth-grader and a seventh-grader at Thompson Middle School, served as one of three parent representatives on the parent-faculty committee charged with developing the plan, which aims to boost academic achievement at the merged Richmond and Davis schools.

In January and February, the committee held three community forums to engage parents and other stakeholders in the plan development process.

Emails show that Pomplun encouraged Brandt to apply for the position when the two met for lunch on Jan 3. The job opening was then posted on Jan. 22 and Brandt was offered the position sometime in February, according to the emails.

Brandt was also in contact with Schlomann in January and February to discuss the hiring process and then board approval, the emails show.

The hire was unanimously approved by the Board of Education at its March 10 meeting.

Brandt is currently a principal researcher for education at the American Institutes for Research and deputy director of the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, a research center funded by the Institute of Education Sciences.

When asked about whether his interest in the job affected his ability to adequately represent parents on the committee, Brandt, who publicly supported the district three years ago when it merged Richmond and Davis schools, said he didn't "see any issue with that at all."

"I love the community and I love the people," he said. "It was an opportunity for me to put my skills and expertise to not only help my kids but all kids in St. Charles."

David Austen-Smith, a professor of corporate ethics, political science and economics at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, raises a question about whether the district and the parent can be "perceived credibly as free of a conflict of interest."

"This frankly doesn't look good," said Austen-Smith. "It may be absolutely fine, but it doesn't look good.

Read the entire article by clicking on the following:  District 303 hires Richmond-Davis parent -

Friday, April 4, 2014

UPDATE: District 100 Budget Deficit


BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- It’s been more than a year since the Belvidere School Board approved cuts, including the closure of Kishwaukee Elementary School to deal with a multi-million dollar budget deficit. Today the district is better off, but is still facing a deficit.

District 100 is about $800,000 in the read. Superintendent Michael Houselog says enrollment is down, having lost 1,000 students over the last five years. In that time, they’ve also seen a 40% cut in revenue from assessed evaluations. Less State funding is another concern, but the district hopes to save money next year.

"There will be some savings next year because we have a high number of teacher retirements. The teachers who are retiring are higher valued teachers in terms of the salaries that they make,” Houselog said.

The District is also looking into bond re-funding. There will be a presentation on Monday. This would provide property tax relief for Belvidere residents.

Click on the following for more details:  UPDATE: District 100 Budget Deficit

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rockford School District settles lawsuit with former teacher - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL


Rockford School District officials will pay $50,000 to a former Jefferson High School special-education teacher who sued two years ago, claiming sexual harassment and retaliation.
Anna Johnson, a nontenured teacher from fall 2005 to spring 2010, filed her suit in March 2012 in federal court. She said she ended a consensual sexual relationship with the school’s principal, Don Rundall, in January 2010 and it caused her to lose her job and be denied further employment with the district.

The School Board voted 7-0 Tuesday to settle Johnson’s case. There was no public discussion.


According to court documents filed in November 2013, the district acknowledged that Rundall and Johnson had an inappropriate romantic relationship but denied that Johnson was sexually harassed after the relationship ended or that the relationship is the reason she is no longer employed with the district.

Read more:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Controversies - Low-Income Students Now a Majority in Public Schools in 17 States - AllGov - News


Public schools are becoming underfunded dumping grounds for the nation’s poor students, and a new report says that for the first time in nearly 50 years “a majority of public school children in 17 states … were low income students” at the close of 2011 school year. Thirteen of the 17 states are in the South, and the remaining four (New Mexico, California, Oregon and Nevada) are in the West. Just ten years ago, only four states had such majorities, says the report released by the nonprofit Southern Education Foundation (SEF).

The trend is especially pronounced in the South, where only Virginia did not fall on the list. The states with the worst rates are Mississippi (71%), New Mexico (68%), Louisiana (66%), Oklahoma (60%), and Arkansas (60%), which are the only states with rates of at least 60%. Only three states—New Jersey, North Dakota and New Hampshire—had rates below one-third.

Click on the following for more details:  Controversies - Low-Income Students Now a Majority in Public Schools in 17 States - AllGov - News

Whites are no longer the majority in Illinois schools - Chicago Tribune


New enrollment numbers show that lllinois' public school system for the first time does not have a white majority, with Latino, black, Asian and other racial groups combined eclipsing white students across the state's classrooms.

Whites fell to 49.76 percent of the student body this school year, the new data show, a demographic tipping point that came after years of sliding white enrollment and a rise in Latino, Asian and multiracial students.



Click on the following for more details:  Whites are no longer the majority in Illinois schools - Chicago Tribune