Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Letter: Vote ‘no’ on District 100 ballot question - Opinion - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL


Posted Oct. 29, 2014 @ 8:00 am

The Nov. 4 District 100 proposition to change school board elections is familiar to few people.
Please note: the proposition — the last question on the ballot — must receive the majority of votes in each township. If passed: all seven board seats will be up for election in April 2015; three members elected in April 2015 will serve two-year terms; all seven board members could live in the same neighborhood; there will be no guaranteed board seats for small townships; and board composition based on statistical representation of District 100 population will no longer be guaranteed.
Presently, two of the seven board seats represent Belvidere High School and its feeder schools. At this time, those are two of three seats guaranteed to townships outside Belvidere Township.
Currently, Belvidere Township (the largest populated township) is guaranteed 57 percent (four board seats) and the smaller townships are guaranteed 43 percent (three shared board seats). The current board is an accurate representation (58 percent to 42 percent) of the District 100 population.
If passed in future elections, candidates from Belvidere Township could potentially dominate and garner more votes than those available in smaller townships.
Vote “no” on Nov. 4 to ensure all township voices are represented and not silenced.
— Allison Reid-Niemiec, Belvidere

Letter: Vote ‘no’ on District 100 ballot question - Opinion - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Belvidere could change way school board is elected - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL


By Ben Stanley
Rockford Register Star
Posted Oct. 29, 2014 @ 8:00 am
Updated at 10:23 AM

BELVIDERE — A proposition to change the way Belvidere Board of Education members are elected will be on the Nov. 4 ballot.
As it stands, four of the board’s seven members must live in Belvidere Township and three must come from the four remaining townships in the district. The proposition is to elect all board members at-large, which means it wouldn’t matter where board members live as long as they reside within the school district.
Ten of the 13 school districts in Boone and Winnebago counties elect school board members at-large, according to Boone Winnebago Regional Office of Education Office Manager Tom McCullough. Belvidere, Durand and Rockford school districts are the only three that elect board members differently. Voters in Durand will also be asked this election whether or not all school board members should be elected at-large.
Superintendent Michael Houselog said that one reason the Belvidere School District decided to pursue at-large elections is to make it easier to appoint board members in case of a resignation.
Currently, the district must fill a vacancy with someone who meets the same residency requirement.
“For vacancies, it’s made it very difficult,” Houselog said of the district’s current school board election system. “In the past, we haven’t had people to fill those positions. We had people ready and able but they weren’t from the right township.”
Boone County Board member Bill Pysson said that he suggested the district pursue at-large elections for Belvidere Board of Education members nearly two decades ago, but has since changed his mind and would rather keep the current election system in place.
“I find it very surprising that the board is trying to do this,” Pysson said. “There’s an overrepresentation of board members that reside in the Belvidere North high school subdistrict ... Belvidere High School does not really have a representative on the board.”
According to Pysson, the current township residency restrictions were put in place more than 50 years ago when several subdistricts in School District 100 merged.
“When they merged, some of those townships really wanted to make sure that their voice would be heard, so the requirement that there be some non-Belvidere Township representation was put into the merger requirements,” Pysson said.

Belvidere could change way school board is elected - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

District 100 School Referendum

If the proposition passes on Nov. 4th, ALL school board members COULD live within a 1 mile radius of each other. Do you feel communication, consistency, and compliance would be compromised if this was to happen?




Above are from PASS—Parents Advocating Students and Staff.  SEE:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Football Across Boone County

Belvidere Daily Republican

7 hours ago

Congratulations to Belvidere North, Belvidere and North Boone. All three teams won this weekend and are advancing to post-season play.
In case anyone is wondering why there has been a lack of coverage for Belvidere North or sports other than football, the cold harsh reality is that I was not able to find anyone to cover the games. My budget for reporters is EXTREMELY limited. Unless parents (or g...randparents or super fans) offer to write about a team, it pretty much leaves me to cover sports by myself and I cannot be all things to all people.
And after working close to 80 hours a week seven days a week, I am exhausted. I literally collapse by Friday evening and I struggle to stay awake while tucking the four year old into bed. One more than one occasion in the last few months, I have awakened to the sensation of the four year old putting a blanket on me and kissing my cheek because I fell asleep mid-song.
If any parents (or grandparents or super fans) would like to cover the team of their choice, I would happily welcome it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Belvidere Board of Education finalizes new teacher contract - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Ben Stanley

BELVIDERE — The Belvidere Board of Education approved a new three-year contract with the teachers’ union on Monday night, ending around four months of negotiations.
“We have a contract,” Belvidere School Board Superintendent Michael Houselog said, relieved.
The new contract takes effect immediately.
Among the highlights of the new agreement are a 3 percent base salary increase over the next three years and an agreement to cap class sizes at 24 students. The Belvidere School District will also hire two additional counselors.
“It feels wonderful,” Houselog said. “I thought it was a really cooperative endeavor between the teacher’s association and the board.”
The Belvidere Education Association voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying the contract on Oct. 16, but the deal needed final approval from the Board of Education.
According to Houselog, four Board members voted in favor of the new contract, one voted against and one abstained.

Click on the following to read the entire article:  Belvidere Board of Education finalizes new teacher contract - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

PASS Responds to District 100 Referenda

Dear Community Representatives and Community Members:

We, the executive board of PASS (Parents Advocating for Students and Staff), would like to request a few minutes of your time to review the following information. It is our intention to equip community members from all townships with the tools to make well-informed decisions when voting in the Nov. 4, 2014 election. Our main focus is the proposition/referendum which could significantly change the way in which school board members are elected as it directly correlates to fair representation for our students and staff of District #100. 

The proposition will be listed on the ballot as follows: Shall the members of the Board of Education of Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 be elected at large and without restriction by area of residence within the District?

The proposition, if passed, has the potential to eradicate school board representation from smaller, outlying townships and the current guaranteed 3 seats would no longer exist. PASS is significantly concerned with this potential change. We feel the views and concerns of community members living outside the City of Belvidere and Belvidere Township may be quite different as they may relate to other impactful issues such as school start/end times; curricular programming; school closures; and building sites/usage. We do not want to lose your input on issues such as these.

The following information is being provided to increase awareness as it pertains to the proposition/referendum:

1. It must receive the majority of votes in EACH township to pass.

2. It is the last question on the ballot.

3. If the proposition passes, ALL of the following will happen: 

a. ALL 7 school board seats will be up for election in April 2015.

b. 3 of the 7 board members elected in April 2015 will serve a 2-year term.

c. ALL 7 board members COULD live within the same neighborhood and/or township.

d. There will be no unopposed campaigns.

e. There will be NO guaranteed board seats for the smaller, less populated townships.

f. Board composition based on statistical representation of the Belvidere population will NO longer be guaranteed.

g. Guaranteed representation for each of the two high schools will cease to exist.

4. If the proposition does not pass, the following will happen:

a. 3 of the 7 school board seats will be up for election in April 2015.

b. 2 of the 3 seats up for election will be representatives outside of Belvidere Township (those two seats are currently filled by Jason Colson and Dan Wilson).

c. 1 of the 3 seats up for election will be a representative from Belvidere Township (that seat is currently filled by President Mike Rathbun).

d. The 3 members elected in April 2015 will serve a 4-year term.

In the previous 2013 election, 2 of the 5 board seats up for election were guaranteed to townships outside of Belvidere Township. The 2 candidates ran unopposed. Those two seats, currently filled by Kelly Diamond and Jason Colson, are the only two seats currently representing BHS and its feeder schools.

In order to obtain the information regarding the upcoming proposition/referendum, the following individuals have been contacted with their stated purpose and/or involvement:

1. Mary Steurer, Boone County Clerk,for number of registered voters.

2. Michael Houselog, District #100 Superintendent,for district rationale for proposition.

3. Regional Office of Education for Winnebago and Boone Counties for information regarding District #100's process for proposition recommendation to the board.

Please see attachments as we have included the compiled information for your review.

We would encourage you to -

1. Review this email and all attached documents.

2. Contact us through email or Facebook with any questions.

3. Get to know PASS at

4. Share this email with fellow voters and community members.

5. Vote in the Nov. 4th election.

Thank you for your time and attention to this concerning matter. We support the true meaning of Belvidere Community Unit School District and are committed to consistency in township equality for board representation.

Thank you,

Lisa Whitcomb, PASS President

Racheal Morse, PASS Vice-president

Allison Reid-Niemiec, PASS Secretary/Compliance Officer


EMAIL and I will send the attachments.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Teachers’ and Administrators’ Salaries and Benefits

Note the teachers’ salaries are under the old contract because this regulatory filling was made in September before the new contract.

To see the list go to:

Here are some of the noteworthy administrative salaries.

220,929 Salary with paid TRS


Associate Superintendent Student Serv.


Assistant Superintendent - Grants/Assess


ECKMANN, MARC   Page 3 of 18
Principal High School


Principal Middle School


Principal Middle School


Director Special Education

Highly Paid Non-Certified District 100 Employees

The following is a regulatory disclosure of the total benefits of IMFR workers and can be found the District 100 website at:

Mr.Bell, Mr. Blake, Mr.Brown and Mr. Commare’s salaries and benefits are shown.



District 100 CPA AUDIT June 30, 2014

The 77 page audit report is now available on-line at:$file/2014%20Financial%20Statements.pdf


Monday, October 20, 2014

Belvidere head football coach Chuck Leonard will lead tonight's - – Rockford’s News Leader



Belvidere High School's head football coach Chuck Leonard will lead tonight's practice after being placed on leave late last week.
According to a news release from Belvidere School District, allegations were made against the football program, which prompted an internal investigation by the district and an external investigation by the Belvidere Police Department.
"Student safety is our number one priority," Superintendent Dr. Michael Houselog said. "We received information indicating a student's safety was at risk, and the district took steps necessary to conduct a thorough investigation."
As a result, three students were arrested. Leonard was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, according to the district.
The district says the police matter is ongoing, but the internal investigation is complete and Leonard will return to the field for Monday afternoon's practice.

13 News will bring you more information on this story as updates become available.

Above is taken fromBelvidere head football coach Chuck Leonard will lead tonight's - – Rockford’s News Leader

Former Belvidere North teacher pleads guilty to criminal sexual - – Rockford’s News Leader


Former Belvidere North teacher Jenee Blackert has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to criminal sexual assault.
Blackert is accused of having sexual relations with a 17-year-old student. The incidents with a female student occurred in 2013, according to investigators.
She was sentenced Monday to four years in prison and three years to natural life of supervised release. Blackert must also register as a sex offender.
Three other charges were dropped against Blackert after she agreed to a plea deal. Blackert has been taken in to custody and will begin serving her sentence.
The Boone County State's Attorney's Office says they take the matter very seriously, especially when someone is entrusted to take care of students.

Read more by clicking on the following:  Former Belvidere North teacher pleads guilty to criminal sexual - – Rockford’s News Leader

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Belvidere teachers ratify contract by huge vote - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL


By Ben Stanley
Rockford Register Star
Posted Oct. 15, 2014 @ 8:26 pm


BELVIDERE — After about four months of negotiating with the school district, the Belvidere Education Association voted 387-62 in favor of ratifying a new three-year contract on Wednesday night.
The contract was tentatively agreed on by both the Belvidere School District and the union during negotiations on Tuesday.
The Belvidere Board of Education will vote on Monday to finalize the deal.
“I feel we did the best we could,” Union President Mark Luthin said of the negotiations. “Our team agreed to it, and that’s always a good thing when you can get the seven people sitting at the table to agree to it.”
The school district and teachers union each submitted final contract offers on Sept. 25. Neither Luthin or District 100 Superintendent Michael Houselog revealed specific details of the contract.
“There were changes, a number of them,” Houselog said. “We’re not at liberty to discuss those.”
More information will be available after the board votes on Monday.
However, it is likely that teachers will receive raises.

Click on the following for more details:  Belvidere teachers ratify contract by huge vote - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Sunday, October 5, 2014

District 100’s and BEA’s Final Offers

The final offers are available at:


For your convenience click on the following for each item:

Board of Education Last and Final Offer:

Belvidere Education Association Last and Final Offer:

Answers and Clarifications (Prepared by District 100 Administration):

Welcome to the Rockford University business school that alum Sunil Puri built

ROCKFORD — About 250 people, including educators and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, celebrated at a reception Friday for the grand opening of Puri Business School at Rockford University.
The 28,000-square-foot structure built in 1993 at 5100 E. State St. has been remodeled over the past few years and 5,000 square feet of classroom space added to serve as the hub for business, economic and accounting classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Sunil Puri, who received a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1982 from Rockford College (the school became Rockford University in 2013), donated the building and contributed more than $5 million to support the university’s business offerings. The building is the first named school at the university.
Puri is founder and president of First Rockford Group, which employs about 220 people and has developed about 10,000 lots over 30 years.
The company owns and manages about 4 million square feet of retail, office and industrial space in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Puri also is a Rockford University trustee.
His family members and business leaders were among the guests. Attendees munched on bacon-wrapped scallops, drank wine and listened to Nanette Felix, a Rockford Symphony Orchestra member, play harp.
Students from all disciplines take business-related classes in the Puri Business School, in addition to 80 graduate and 80 undergraduates pursuing business degrees. The building houses nine classrooms and computer lab space; faculty offices are in the lower level.
The nursing program has the highest number of students, but business and education are runners-up, and business degrees consistently remain a popular choice for students. Enrollment reached a 20-year high this year: 878 full-time undergraduates.
Puri said the business school will produce “entrepreneurs and business leaders who assist in the economic revival of our region.”
RU President Robert Head said the Puri school will “provide our students a superior educational experience that prepares them for success.”
Durbin is the majority whip, the second-highest position in the Democrats’ leadership in the Senate. He said honoring Puri, a financial contributor to the Democratic Party, by naming the business school for him is “entirely right.”

“Sunil Puri is an American success story, an immigrant who came to Rockford College and has stayed in the community and became a force for new business and so many jobs, as well as so many civic efforts.”

Read more:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Forbes on-line: $26 Million Selfie at Illinois Jr. College


COD (College of DuPage)  made liberal use of this imprest accounting scheme: $26,100,000 on over 21,000 transactions to 5,613 vendors flowed through 467 separate fund accounts. Recently, COD Treasurer Thomas Glaser told the board during a special budget meeting in June that all financial transactions were listed in the board packet and posted online, but that just wasn’t the case.
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service of the U.S. Department of the Treasury defines imprest funds as “pretty cash funds” and accounting associations warn that weakness in accounting control could result from the use of imprest funds. For instance, only the Board Chairman Erin Birt got to review the line-by-line transactions of these specially tagged payments before the board “approved” the aggregated total total amounts.

So what did COD payout via this accounting scheme? Here’s a snapshot:
1.         Over $110,000 spent purchasing wine and alcohol described in the register as “instructional supplies.”

2. President Breuder’s private membership dues to the Max McGraw club ($3,800) and three global satellite phones used on Breuder’s exotic hunting trips were not disclosed. Total payments into Max McGraw club were $6,693- including an overnight senior management retreat.
3.         COD President and senior managers double dipped their car allowances and collected over $3,600 of in-district mileage reimbursement.

4.         Even the accountants and lawyers gleaned non-disclosed payments: Crowe Horwath, $56,029; Robbins, Schwartz $178,652; and Franczek Radelet, $71,780.
5.         Legat Architects- the lead architect for the Homeland Security Education Center at COD (which will bear Dr. Robert Breuder’s name after his retirement) was paid-out $164,421.

6.         Other connected vendors include COD Foundation Board members- lobbyists and construction companies- received large non-disclosed payments. i.e. Herricane Graphics ($227,157); Roger Marquardt & Co ($85,000); Wight & Company ($31,431); Fuchs & Roselli, Ltd. ($14,698); Power Construction ($5,000); Bison Gear & Engineering ($4,064)
7.         Designated ‘petty cash’ funds were hardly used, only $1,774 in payments, while ‘imprest funds’ handled 21,000 transactions.
8.         Although President Breuder recently said ‘imprest payments’ were only used on amounts under $15,000, the data shows 106 payments exceeded that threshold and totaled $2.327 million.

9.         Over $300,000 paid-out in newspaper and magazine advertising/subscription expense including $140,000 to the Daily Herald Paddock Publications and $139,000 to the Chicago Tribune companies.
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn frequently asks, “Is the spending for the public interest or the special interest?”
Transparency coupled with technology makes it possible for citizens to audit public spending. Starting in September, thanks to COD Vice Chairman Kathy Hamilton’s recent transparency effort, all COD imprest payments will finally be online and subject to scrutiny.

Read more by clicking on the following: