Tuesday, October 20, 2015

All U-46 School Board Members named as suspects in crime – | Illinois Leaks

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The Elgin Police Department was called by us and arrived shortly after the call. There were half a dozen officers there at one time, and eventually a call was made to the Kane County State’s Attorney, who after research, advised the PD to complete a criminal report naming the board members  as suspects, and forwarding it to his office. This process took over 2 hours to complete.

Section 2.06 (g) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act makes public comment a right, at all public meetings (with reasonable rules).

The U-46 School Board held three meetings yesterday, October 19, 2015. The first meeting started at 4 p.m. and consisted of a finance committee meeting with the meeting notice posted, but no posted agenda at the building that we could see. This meeting included public comment time.

The second meeting, called for the purpose of a closed session for student discipline and other things started at 5:15 p.m. There was a notice posted, but no agenda. There was also no public comment session, in violation of law. All closed meetings must be called from an open meeting – and return to open meeting after the closed portion. No exceptions.

The third meeting started at 7 p.m. and had its meeting notice and agenda posted with a public comment session.

All agendas were on the school’s website, but only the 7 p.m. meeting was posted at the school building.

Read the entire article by clicking on the following:  All U-46 School Board Members named as suspects in crime – | Illinois Leaks

College of DuPage Board Fires Robert Breuder | Patch

By Amie Schaenzer (Patch Staff) October 20, 2015

 

 

The College of DuPage Board of Trustees fired its embattled President Robert Breuder at a meeting Tuesday night.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the termination, with Trustee Dianne McGuire of Naperville casting the sole no vote. She said the firing of Breuder was centered around a ”politically driven vendetta that is unworthy of this board.” Two trustees, Erin Birt and Joseph Wozniak, were not present and did not vote.

Other trustees spoke of the many examples of misconduct and mismanagement during Breuder’s term. Deanne Mazzochi, board vice chairman, said improper “electioneering activities” by Breuder helped the college secure a $168 million referendum “that this institution and taxpayers will be paying for for decades.”

The College of DuPage and Breuder have been under fire for months regarding its finances and administrative practices and Breuder has been the subject of public scrutiny regarding a $762,867 severance package the former board of trustees approved, according to the Daily Herald.

An investigation into Breuder began in spring 2015. During the course of the investigation, “the college found evidence of misconduct and mismanagement, which Breuder, participated in, oversaw or failed to prevent,” according to the special board meeting agenda. A full list of the allegations of Breuder can be viewed below in the board agenda.

Here is a brief timelines looking at some of the allegations leveled against Breuder, who has been on paid leave, over the past year:

College of DuPage Board Fires Robert Breuder | Patch

Belvidere Central Middle School student under investigation for making threats - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Ben Stanley

Posted Oct. 19, 2015 at 3:40 PM
Updated Oct 19, 2015 at 8:04 PM

BELVIDERE — A middle school student has been "removed from school" and is being investigated by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department after making threats discovered Friday by school officials.
“They found no weapons and no ability to carry out any threat,” State’s Attorney Michelle Courier said. “There was a search at the home and the school as well. It’s still an open investigation.”
Belvidere School District did not clarify whether the student had been expelled or temporarily suspended. Belvidere Central Middle School officials contacted the Sheriff's Department at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 16.
"School officials had brought some writings that concerned them from a student to our school resource officer, which began an investigation," Sheriff Dave Ernest said. "We take these cases very seriously, that’s why this investigation is ongoing."
Few details about the threats have been made public because the student is a juvenile.
"We are working with the Sheriff’s Department on possible charges," Courier said. "However, there was no evidence that students were in danger."
District spokeswoman Shannon Hansen said parents of kids enrolled at Belvidere Middle School were sent the following message by phone and email Friday night:
"As a parent of a Belvidere Central Middle School student, we want you to be aware of something that occurred. This afternoon we were notified of a possible threat made by a student. The student has been removed from school, at no time were classmates or staff members in danger, and the situation is being investigated by the Boone County Police Department and the State's Attorney's Office. The safety of your child is our first priority, and we encourage parents and students to share information with administrators at any time the safety of an individual could be in jeopardy."
Ben Stanley: 815-987-1369; bstanley@rrstar.com; @ben_j_stanley

Ben Stanley

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Breaking: McHenry teachers and board reach a tentative agreement. | Fred Klonsky

 

October 10, 2015October 10, 2015 / Fred Klonsky

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 6.23.13 AM

Parker Carbine, a 17 year-old candidate for Homecoming King in McHenry.

Early this morning striking high school teachers in McHenry, an hour northwest of Chicago, reached a tentative agreement with the school board. The teachers have been on strike since a week ago Thursday. Bargaining has been going on since April.

Congratulations and details later.

Breaking: McHenry teachers and board reach a tentative agreement. | Fred Klonsky

Colleges worry about spring semester if budget feud continues - DailyHerald.com

 

State officials say some community colleges have expressed concern about having to cut back class and program offerings for the spring semester if the ongoing budget feud in Springfield drags on into next year.

Local community colleges aren't getting state money via court orders like many programs are, so any money owed to them since July 1 hasn't been sent.

"We are hearing from some of our colleges that they are worried about the spring semester," Illinois Community College Board spokesman Matthew Berry said.

In remarks this week, Gov. Bruce Rauner publicly raised the idea that the outcome of Illinois not having a budget could be even more severe.

"Universities and community colleges will not receive state funding, causing some to wonder whether they will be open for the second semester. Outrageous. Should not happen," Rauner said.

No local community colleges are talking publicly about drastic action, and how individual colleges will fare as the state budget impasse drags on could "vary widely," Berry said. Community colleges get a large share of their income from property taxes, and suburban districts tend to have higher property values than colleges elsewhere in the state. So the effects might be less serious in the suburbs.

Oakton Community College spokesman Paul Palian said he doesn't know of any class-cutting plans, but he said schools are "preparing to tighten our belts even further."

Palian said a main concern for students is whether colleges will be able to keep floating the need-based state-funded scholarships. Most Illinois colleges and universities are covering the cost of the Monetary Award Program for its students that qualify, counting on the state to come through and pay eventually.

That could get harder to do if the battle between Rauner and Democratic leaders lasts much longer.

"We're monitoring the situation in Springfield very closely," Palian said.

Harper College identified those scholarships as one of its concerns, too, saying in a statement "the college is committed to funding these expenses for the time being."

An Elgin Community College leader said future issues could be "difficult to predict."

"In the past, when the state has made late payments or missed payments, we have been forced to use funds from other areas to continue programs like adult education, (general education development), or (English as a second language)," Sharon Konny, the college's vice president of business and finance, said in a statement. "But if this impasse continues, it will certainly limit our ability to offer high quality educational and training opportunities to our district residents."

And College of DuPage board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton didn't signal any problems ahead.

"We have cut our property tax levy, tuition, and our deficit while raising salaries by three percent," she said. "This shows that it's possible for community colleges to tighten their belts."

Rauner this week again tried to push Democrats to either help adopt his pro-business proposals or approve a budget without Republican support. Democrats, though, say it's the governor who had the chance to avoid the budget struggle.

"There is no question all of the disruption caused by the current impasse is due to the governor's decision to veto the spending plan approved by the legislature," House Speaker Michael Madigan said.

Lawmakers are due back in Springfield Oct. 20.

Colleges worry about spring semester if budget feud continues - DailyHerald.com

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Despite bomb threat, NIU goes on with Midnight Madness | Daily Chronicle

By JESSE SEVERSON - jseverson@shawmedia.com

DeKALB – There was certainly madness at the NIU Convocation Center on Thursday night.After temporarily being cancelled because of a bomb threat on campus, the NIU Midnight Madness went through as planned, with the Huskie men’s and women’s basketball teams giving fans a first look at the 2015-16 season.“It’s part of the madness, unfortunately,” Northern Illinois men’s basketball coach Mark Montgomery said of the chaotic atmosphere at the Convocation Center, which held many students during the night due to the bomb threat. “Hopefully everywhere on campus is safe, which it sounds like it is.”According to NIU spokesman Brad Hoey, the bomb threat was called into the NIU Police and Public Safety department around 6 p.m. With the Convocation Center providing shelter for the students after the arena was swept by authorities and announced as cleared at 7:15 p.m., Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier said the decision to go on with the Midnight Madness event happened around 7:30 p.m. – with the event starting at the original time of 8:30 p.m.“If it wasn’t safe, we wouldn’t have gone on with the event,” said Frazier, who watched the basketball event on Thursday.Montgomery said that some of the players that lived off-campus went home from the Convocation Center after being told the event was cancelled – before swinging right back to the gym when it was decided to be back on.“Our guys were ready to perform no matter what,” he said. “Everybody lives so close anyway, when we told them it's back on, they were back over here in a hurry. Initially, it was off, but you thought it was cancelled a little early at 6:30. Once they did the appropriate matters and checking things out, we didn’t mind performing, so it was all right with us.”Northern Illinois women’s basketball coach Lisa Carlsen, who is preparing for her first season with the Huskies, said her players weren’t nervous to continue the basketball festivities after the authorities deemed the arena safe.“There’s obviously authorities on campus that are going to make those calls,” she said. “Luckily, we got to a point where they thought we’d be safe having this event. It’s a weird night but we’re going to do our best with it and hopefully have our students have some fun with it.”After the hectic events before the Midnight Madness, there was still basketball played. Both teams had short intrasquad scrimmages to go along with a 3-point contest – won by men’s guard Austin Pauga – and a dunk contest, which was won by junior guard Aaric Armstead.The Huskie men open the season at the NIU Showcase, opening against Cal State Northridge on Nov. 13. The women have an exhibition at home against St. Francis on Nov. 7.“The kids have been working really hard this week, but obviously we have a ways to go,” said Carlsen. “But I really like their approach to things because there’s going to be some things that are going to be different and going through that transition of change will take a little bit of time.”

Despite bomb threat, NIU goes on with Midnight Madness | Daily Chronicle

Superintendent (District 100) Search Community Forum experiences low community participation

 

By Michele Gruba

Reporter

BELVIDERE – On Thursday, Sept. 24, B.W.P and Associates hosted a community forum to allow stakeholders an opportunity to assist them in searching for School District 100’s new superintendent. Unfortunately, only ten members of the community were in attendance.

The consensus among attendees regarding the night’s dismal numbers seemed to be alack of communication and advertisement by District 100. Those who did participate indicated they became aware of the event via Facebook posts by PASS (Parents Advocating for Students and Staff), a local advocacy group or a Robocall by the school district.

Les Ried former District 100 school board member agreed with that assessment.

“Lack of publicity was a factor,” Reid said.

In an email response from Mark Friedman, B.W.P and Associates President, he indicated that low turnout is not unusual and should not hinder the selection process.

“The numbers were fairly typical of what we see in most districts and won’t have a negative impact. There was a great discussion, and we pulled some valuable information. The open forum is just a small part of the profile we are building, so we were not unhappy with the turnout,” Friedman        said.

Reid discussed why it is imperative to be actively engaged in the community and the importance of his participation in the superintendent selection process.

“Having been a member of the District 100 school board in the past and having been involved in the selection of two past superintendents it is critical to make the best selection possible. As a stakeholder in the community, I feel a responsibility to stay involved, and I wish more people would become involved in the community.”

B.W.P partner, Anne Noland, and consultant, Patricia Wernet, lead the discussion by explaining the areas where they would be collecting data. They wanted good qualities of the school district, areas of concern, traits that are important for a new superintendent, and open discussion regarding the future of the district.

Although the group of participants was small, there appeared to be a good cross-section of the Boone County population. Everyone was very enthusiastic while providing feedback and had a united desire for positive change within School District 100.

“The importance of selecting the right superintendent for this district has never been more apparent,” Reid said.

Reid’s thoughts were echoed during the discussion on areas of concerns. The majority cited long-standing communication deficits and lack of trust between District 100 and the community. The new superintendent will need to work on rebuilding confidence and foster meaningful communication with stakeholders to repair community relations.

“Establishing themselves quickly as a leader with vision in the District 100 community,” Reid said on the obstacles facing a new superintendent and as far his hopes for the future: “a renewed respect for parents and district employees.”

Positive aspects the District 100 community were also discussed, and again, the participants were in agreement: dedicated teachers, parent support, incredible kids, satisfaction with new additions to the school board and excellent facilities.

Mark Friedman conceded, explaining all of those attributes add value when attracting quality superintendent candidates.

“We are optimistic. In a tight market for superintendents, we will be very proactive in sharing with potential candidates what a good job the Belvidere Superintendent position is. Our day in the district confirmed Belvidere would be a great career move for the right person. The positives far outweighed any negatives,” Friedman said.

The most important information B.W.P collected over the course of the evening was the characteristics desired in a new superintendent: honesty, problem solver, good character, communicator, vision, and accountability.

Throughout the day, B.W.P and Associates held focus group around the district gathering information from district employees, school board members, and the community. They also used a survey that was available on the district 100 website until Oct. 1.

According to Friedman, all the information will be compiled, and the data will be used to help them bring quality candidates to the table.

“When we have all of this information we will prepare a formal Profile Report and then present it to the Board of Education.”

The next opportunity for the community to hear the status of B.W.P’s search for the next superintendent will be at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board of education on Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. at the central office.

Superintendent Search Community Forum experiences low community participation

Friday, October 2, 2015

Arne Duncan, Education Secretary, to Step Down in December - The New York Times

 

WASHINGTON — Arne Duncan, the secretary of education and a member of President Obama’s original cabinet, will step down in December after a long tenure in which he repeatedly challenged the nation’s schools to break out of their hidebound ways.

A White House official confirmed Mr. Duncan’s decision to step down and said the president has decided to name John B. King Jr., the deputy secretary of education, to replace Mr. Duncan to lead the Department of Education.

Mr. Obama is expected to formally announce the personnel changes and take questions from reporters Friday afternoon.

In an email to his staff sent Friday morning, Mr. Duncan praised the work of his department, saying that “as a comparatively small team, often under challenging conditions and timelines, our staff has continued to offer example after example of dedication beyond the call of duty.”

He said the department would be in good hands under Mr. King, a former commissioner of education in New York State and a former president of the University of the State of New York.

As secretary, Mr. Duncan started the “Race to the Top” program, in which billions of dollars was offered in a competition to school districts to innovate in the ways they teach children. Mr. Duncan accompanied the president from Chicago, where the two had forged a friendship.

Arne Duncan, Education Secretary, to Step Down in December - The New York Times

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How much is the District 100 Superintendent search going to cost?

On good authority it should be around $20,000.  Here are the rates and charges for B.W.P. and Associates the recently hired head hunter.

The contract information is available at:  http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/files/9Z3J8R4BF7B6/$file/BWP.pdf

Consultant Fee and Expenses
The consulting fee for our services will be $14,900 plus expenses, which include creation and maintenance of candidate files, communications to those in the network and to prospective candidates, postage and telephone charges, clerical expenses, and consultant expenses.
Reliable estimates for candidates' interview costs and Board travel are difficult to determine because of mode and distance of travel, and the number of persons involved are unknown. We are well aware of the dangers of these "hidden" costs as well as the fiscal restraints with which school districts operate.
Our best estimate of basic search expenses is as follows:
 Secretarial support $800 to $1,500
 Online survey, if desired $250 to $300
 Materials/supplies $400 to $900
 Consultant expenses Less than $950
*Consultant travel will depend on the distance traveled and the number of trips
The following options, if incurred, will be billed directly to the Board from the publisher or through the Firm and are in addition to the above consultant fees and expenses.
 Advertising in national publications; i.e., Education Week, estimated at $1,200 to $2,200, costs being dependent on variables such as size, layout and frequency of postings. Generally, there is no cost for regional postings.
 Advertising on the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) website at a cost of $410 to $880, dependent on the number of weeks posted.
Payment Schedule
Our consultant fee is normally billed in three equal installments:
 Upon the signing of the Letter of Understanding,
 After the presentation of the slate of semi-finalist candidates,
 Upon the appointment of the new superintendent.
Final expenses are billed within 90 days of completion of the search.
Quality Assurance
If the new superintendent resigns or is dismissed for cause within twelve months of commencing duties, BWP & Associates will conduct a new search at no additional cost to the Board except for expenses.

District 100 Salary Schedule for non-teaching staff over $75k

Click on information to enlarge. This is from:  http://www.district100.com/District/Business%20Office/Collective%20Bargaining%20Contracts/2015-16%20IMRF%20Salary%20Compensation%20Report.pdf

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District 100 Teacher/Administrators’ Salaries

The entire list is available at:  http://www.district100.com/District/Business%20Office/Collective%20Bargaining%20Contracts/2015-16%20Administrator%20and%20Teacher%20Salary%20Compensation%20Report.pdf

 

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Problems arise as new management takes over operations at PAC

What is happening at District 100’s auditorium?  This is from FACEBOOK

By Michele Gruba

Reporter

BELVIDERE – On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the faculty of the fine arts department at Belvidere High School (BHS) discovered they no longer had access to the Performing Arts Center (PAC) which also served the classroom, performance venue, and rehearsal space for theater arts students.

Dan Holmes, Belvidere High Schools theater arts and theater tech teacher, had previously served as the manager of the PAC from 1999 when it opened until May 2015 when he resigned his position as PAC Manager.

“This will be my last year of teaching. I wanted to lighten my load and focus on teaching my students,” Holmes said regarding his resignation as manager of the PAC.

On Monday, Sept.14, the board of education approved Adam Walsh d/b/a The Studio as the new manager of the PAC. He will receive a stipend of $14,004 for the 2015-2016 school year.

The Studio has been a frequent renter of the PAC. According to documents on the board of education website, The Studio began renting the PAC in Sept. 2014 and has been a recurrent customer through the current school year.

In an email response signed by Co-Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Weck , the question as to if Adam Walsh d/b/a The Studio being one of the most frequent renters of the PAC is a conflict of interest, was not answered. The following information about Walsh was provided.

“In response to a resignation, the District hired a new PAC Manager on Sept. 15.  Adam Walsh has a B.S. in music from Bradley University and has been involved in every aspect of theater since the 1990’s.  Adam and his wife, Courtney, have built dinner theaters from the ground up and have produced and musically, technically, and artistically directed numerous shows for a variety of companies.  They are co-owners of The Studio, a performing, and visual arts studio in Cherry Valley, and have utilized the Performing Arts Center on a rental basis on multiple occasions over the last year.”

Faculty from Belvidere High School and Belvidere North High School are now required to submit a written request to use the PAC. Faculty members were not consulted on these new procedures or given advanced notice of their implementation.

“Faculty members from both BHS and BNHS cannot access the PAC without submitting a written request to Shannon Hansen [District 100 Communications Coordinator], who then contacts Adam Walsh. Neither Adam Walsh nor Shannon Hansen work on site during the school day. There was no communication or collaboration about these changes with faculty or consideration on how they could impact student learning,” Holmes said.

Formal introductions between faculty and Walsh have so far not taken place. Weck’s response contained information on how Walsh was introduced to school staff; however, why formal introductions were not an immediate priority was not included.

“Individuals with scheduled PAC rentals during the 2015-2016 school year, as well as all building principals, were introduced to Mr. Walsh on Sept. 16 by email, and he will be making formal introductions as he settles into his new position.”

It remains unclear who authorized the locks being changed on the PAC or why faculty of BHS and the fine arts department were not given any notice this change would occur.

According to the response from Weck, locks were changed as a security measure.

“Locks on the perimeter doors around the PAC have been changed in order to safeguard the facility, including the light and sound equipment and their programmed settings, costumes, sets, and other tangibles housed within the PAC.”

Until Wednesday, Sept. 16, the fine arts faculty all had keys to the PAC. Theater arts, band, chorus, and art teachers all used the PAC in a variety of ways to enrich student learning while providing a hands-on learning experience.

However according to a source that would prefer to remain anonymous this is no longer the case.

“These changes have not just affected theater; band, chorus, and art are also impacted. Theater class is now being held in an art room without the benefit of learning on a stage. Creating and designing sets is difficult in the constraints of a classroom and also affects the learning environment of students in the adjacent classroom. Chorus and Band cannot practice in the PAC without completing paperwork and waiting to see if it fits into The Studios practice schedule. ”

While no direct response was provided by District 100 regarding the accusations that reduced student use of the PAC and classroom relocations is having a negative impact on student learning, they did provide the following information on the change in use of the PAC.

“While some changes have taken place over the past year, some things have remained the same.

Schools and student organizations have the first opportunity to schedule events; Space can be reserved for classroom use as needed. Otherwise, music, band, art, and theater teachers have designated classrooms. Students from Belvidere High School and Belvidere North High School have opportunities to provide sound and lighting technical assistance for productions.”

On Thursday, Sept. 24, the only document available on the PAC page on the District 100 website was a seating chart and a link to the PAC calendar. The following day Friday, Sept. 25, a uniform rental agreement was created at 1:34 p.m. by Hansen.  However, the response from Weck on the scheduling process and rental agreement had been put in place over the past year.

“Over the past year, some processes have been streamlined, and others implemented in order to promote safety and consistency.”

“A uniform rental agreement form was created for internal and external use. This form outlines a user’s needs and is the start of a paper trail for use of the facility. (Internally some schools were following a formal process while others were not.)

A PAC calendar was created and is posted on the district website. Anyone wishing to use the facility can check its availability prior to submitting a request for use, and the community can see what events are available to attend.”

According to the faculty of the fine arts department, the requirement to sending a written request to Hansen to use the PAC during the day for classes or events is new this school year. This is supported by a document located on the board of education website. An excerpt of Department highlights dated Sept. 14 from Interim Superintendent Cheryl Gieseke to the Board of Education under communication.

“Work related to the creation of a needs form to be completed for all events at the Performing Arts Center and distributed same to internal and external users”

The problems at the PAC since the new manager has taken over do not stop at changed locks, scheduling conflicts, and reduced student usage. Concerns have also arisen about potential safety issues.

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, when the locks were changed the students and staff in the band, and chorus classes no longer had access to the hallway behind the stage. That was their designated safe zone in the event of a tornado. In the response provided by Weck, no information was provided on whether students and staff have an alternative safe zone to utilize.

According to multiple sources on Thursday, Sept. 17, during an after-school activity, a student with a medical condition had to urinate outside. This student could not access the bathrooms behind the stage or in the lobby because they were locked.

In the response by Weck, bathroom usage was addressed but what was not addressed was student or staff access during after school activities, or staff use when working at night or on weekends.

“Restrooms in the PAC lobby are open for use during the school day. This change provides more stalls and sinks for students and staff, and the space is checked regularly by hall monitors. Previously only the restrooms in the back hallway of the PAC were available on a limited basis during the day.”

According to multiple sources who would like to remain anonymous, adult volunteers from The Studio have had access to the building, unchaperoned, without checking in with the front office and when Walsh is not on the premises.

In the response from Weck, it never addressed if these adult volunteers have been background checked, or if a policy on volunteers from The Studio having unsupervised access to the building while students are present is in place.

It was discovered on Wednesday morning, Sept. 23, that the PAC had been left unsecured overnight by The Studio or its volunteers, according to a sourse that would like to remain anonymous.

“They had repeatedly been asked not to leave the exit doors propped open. In response to this request, tape was placed over the lock to prevent it from locking and was left on, leaving the building open overnight.”

The only area of Weck’s response that addresses building security in any way is the section relating to lock changes on Wednesday, Sept. 16. Policies or safeguards for securing the PAC when in use by The Studio or its volunteers was never mentioned.

“Locks on the perimeter doors around the PAC have been changed in order to safeguard the facility, including the light and sound equipment and their programmed settings, costumes, sets, and other tangibles housed within the PAC.  Access is provided to requested areas for each scheduled use, and the PAC is secure once vacated.”

Dan Holmes fears that the change in District priorities and student use policies of the PAC do not bode well for the future of the theater arts curriculum offered by District 100. He expressed the following sentiments in a letter written to the board of education on Sept. 18.

“My fear is that these changes are going to have a negative effect on our students and the fine arts communities at BHS and BNHS. I am sad that the theatre classes offered in District 100 (one of the best theatre curriculums in Northern Illinois) might no longer be available to students simply because we don’t the students in that space. It is sad for me to think that students will learn theatre from a book instead of doing work performing in a theatre,” Holmes said.

“I could line up hundreds of graduates, many who are working in the theatre industry, who would agree with the education experts that “hands-on learning” is much more effective than getting information from at book. It’s what they refer to as best practice. Even if students aren’t doing activities that require “hands on,” the theatre is a better environment for learning about theatre than the traditional classroom!”

Many questions were posed to Interim Superintendent Gieseke, School Board President Dan Tolbert, District 100 Communication Coordinator Shannon Hansen, and PAC Manager Adam Walsh. They were all contacted multiple times by phone and email regarding the changes at the PAC. All, but Hansen, declined to comment or respond to any of our questions.

On Sept. 25, in response to questions, Hansen provided a document signed by Weck. The document can be found on the District 100 website entitled, “Performing Art Center experiences increased use resulting in streamlined procedures.

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, after much trial and error, the district reopened the position for PAC manager.

Above is from:  Problems arise as new management takes over operations at PAC

Below are some of the postings from the District 100 website regarding the issue:

Performing Arts Center experiences increased use resulting in streamlined procedures

Page Content

Originally designed as a roadhouse, the Performing Arts Center (PAC) located inside Belvidere High School is a beautiful facility with the ability to host a variety of events.  This 850-seat theater is home to four theater and two musical productions each year by our high school students, a variety of middle school and elementary chorus and band concerts, a Madrigal Dinner, Mr. Thunder and Mr. BHS scholarship competitions, and a host of other in-district events.  Theater Tech classes regularly use the space, and band, chorus, and art classes are held periodically in the Performing Arts Center.  the venue is available for rent as well.

In response to increased interest from outside organizations, scheduling of events and marketing of the facility were assumed by the District office in 2014.  In 2015, use of the facility was expanded to include the summer months, and the PAC hosted a dance company and a theater company for shows open to the community.

Over the past year some processes have been streamlined and others implemented in order to promote safety and consistency.

•  A uniform rental agreement form was created for internal and external use.  This form outlines a user's needs and is the start of a paper trail for use of the facility.  Internally, some schools were following a formal process while others were not.

•  A PAC calendar was created and is posted on the District's website.  Anyone wishing to use the facility can check its availability prior to submitting a request for use, and the community can see what events are available to attend.  Simply select About Us and then Performing Arts Center located in the blue column to the left.

•  Restrooms in the PAC lobby are open for use during the school day.  This change provides more stalls and sinks for students and staff and the space is checked regularly by hall monitors.  Previously only the restrooms in the back hallway of the PAC were available on a limited basis during the day.

•  Locks on the perimeter doors around the PAC have been changed in order to safeguard the facility, including the light and sound equipment and their programmed settings, costumes, sets, and other tangibles housed within the PAC.  Access is provided to requested areas for each scheduled use, and the PAC is secure once vacated.

•  The District is expanding its marketing efforts to include advertising musical and theater performances by District #100 students in a local paper.  This task, and the cost of advertising, were previously the responsibility of the school's music or theater department.

While some changes have taken place over the past year, some things have remained the same.

•  Schools and student organizations have the first opportunity to schedule events.

•  Space can be reserved for classroom use as needed.  Otherwise, music, band, art, and theater teachers have designated classrooms.

•  Students from Belvidere High School and Belvidere North High School have opportunities to provide sound and lighting technical assistance for productions.

In response to a resignation, the District hired a new PAC Manager on September 15.  Adam Walsh has a B.S. in music from Bradley University and has been involved in every aspect of theater since the 1990's.  Adam and his wife Courtney have built dinner theaters from the ground up and have produced and musically, technically, and artistically directed numerous shows for a variety of companies.  They are co-owners of The Studio, a performing and visual arts studio in Cherry Valley, and have utilized the Performing Arts Center on a rental basis on multiple occasions over the last year.  Adam is familiar with the PAC and has an established relationship with the District's former PAC Manager as a result of The Studio's prior use of the space.

Individuals with scheduled PAC rentals during the 2015-16 school year, as well as all building principals, were introduced to Mr. Walsh on September 16 by email, and he will be making formal introductions has he settles into his new position.

To learn more about the Performing Arts Center or to view its calendar of events, click on About Us above and select Performing Arts Center in the blue bar on the left.  We invite you to enjoy the theater and its many wonderful productions throughout the year.

Above is from:  http://www.district100.com/Newsroom/Pages/Performing-Arts-Center-experiences-increased-use-resulting-in-streamlined-procedures.aspx