Page 1

V ol. 8 5, N o . 2







an the past predict the future?

offers commentary on school fund-

own theory of relativity. They exam-

This issue of The Illinois

ing reform efforts in Illinois with

ine Illinois administrator salaries,

School Board Journal examines

“Funding reform won’t work with-

nationally and in relation to com-

money for public education in Illi-

out funding,” starting on page 6.

parable states and within Illinois

nois – where it comes from and

Schwarm explains how “… correct-

regions, in “It’s all relative,” starting

where it is going. As this issue goes

ly identifying the problems, crafting

on page 12.

to press, the state is in its second

the solutions, and finding enough

Speaking of comparisons, see

year without a complete budget. A

legislators to all vote for the same

where Illinois fares in the 2017

six-month stopgap spending autho-

proposal has been proven difficult

Quality Counts report presented

rization expired on January 1, and

over the years.” He also explains

by Education Week. “Just ahead

moving into February, Senate bud-

themes common to current and

of the curve” begins on page 21

get plans stalled. Meanwhile, school

prior funding reform efforts, pre-

and explains the good news and

funding reform discussions and a

dicting, as the headline indicates,

bad behind Illinois’ C-plus grade.

new federal administration add to

that without sufficient funding, any

“Quality Counts 2017: Under Con-

the unpredictability.

plan will fail.

struction — Building on ESSA’s K-12

One of the hazards of print is

How the Illinois Constitution

Foundation” is this year’s install-

that everything could change before

frames, but does not fully define,

ment of the long-running annual

this issue reaches the readers’ hands.

the long-term discussion of school

report on the state of education in

Although we can’t predict the best

funding is the topic of “76 Words,”

the United States.

time to comment on the dynamic

which begins on page 9.

Thanks for reading. Should

education landscape in Illinois, we

This issue of the Journal also

news break between the writing and

can’t keep putting it off, either. If,

includes is the latest installment

the reading of this Journal, I can

the moment we go to press, the state

in the series of analyses assessing

confidently predict that IASB will

solves its budget crisis or funding

trends in public school administra-

have the information you need on

reform gains traction, we won’t take

tor salaries in Illinois, based on the

other platforms, including Twitter,

credit, but hope our readers will

work of members of the Education

Facebook, and the News Blog at blog.

join us in appreciating the contrary

Studies Department at Western Illi- and our Alliance Legisla-

natures of time and print.

nois University. The authors again

tive Reports.

In this issue, I A SB Deputy

this year are Professors Lora Wolff

Executive Director Ben Schwarm

and Dean Halverson, who offer their

— Theresa Kelly Gegen, Editor


COVER STORIES 6 Commentary: Funding reform won’t work without funding By Ben Schwarm As Illinois leadership aims to fix the school funding formula in Illinois, common themes emerge, but the key factor is that, without sufficient funding, any plan will fail.

9 76 Words By Theresa Kelly Gegen The Illinois Constitution frames, but does not fully define, the state’s obligation to fund public schools. M A R C H / A P R I L

FEATURE ARTICLES 12 It’s all relative Written by Lora Wolff with analysis by Dean Halverson This year’s analysis of administrator salaries in Illinois public school districts includes comparisons and shows gaps across states and within regions of the state.

21 Just ahead of the curve By Theresa Kelly Gegen Illinois gets a C-plus and is ranked 15th in the nation in the latest Education Week Quality Counts ranking, which looks at achievement, finance, and success ratios. It also points to a year of uncertainty in the federal education picture.


2 0 1 7

Vol. 85, No. 2

ILLINOIS SCHOOL BOARD JOURNAL (ISSN-0019-221X) is published every other month by the Illinois Association of School Boards, 2921 Baker Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-5929, telephone 217/528-9688. The IASB regional office is located at One Imperial Place, 1 East 22nd Street, Lombard, Illinois 60148-6120, telephone 630/629-3776. The JOURNAL is supported by the dues of school boards holding active membership in the Illinois Association of School Boards. Copies are mailed to all school board members and the superintendent in each IASB member school district. Non-member subscription rate: Domestic $18 per year. Foreign (including Canada and Mexico) $21 per year. PUBLICATION POLICY IASB believes that the domestic process functions best through frank and open discussion. Material published in the JOURNAL, therefore, often presents divergent and controversial points of view which do not necessarily represent the views or policies of IASB. James Russell, Associate Executive Director Theresa Kelly Gegen, Editor Gary Adkins, Contributing Editor

Front Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover

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Practical PR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

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Insights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Milestones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Ask the Staff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Back Cover

Britni Beck, Advertising Manager Copyright © 2017 by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), The JOURNAL is published six times a year and is distributed to its members and subscribers. Copyright in this publication, including all articles and editorial information contained in it is exclusively owned by IASB, and IASB reserves all rights to such information. IASB is a tax-exempt corporation organized in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. @ILschoolboards


Communication strategies can boost morale By Jill Gildea, Margaret Van Duch, and Elizabeth Freeman

Superintendent Jill Gildea, Communications Director Margaret Van Duch, and Director of Innovative Teaching, Learning & Technologies Elizabeth Freeman represent Fremont SD 79 in Mundelein.


chool climate and culture

help gauge and measure employ-

have a direct correlation to

ee morale over time. Less formal,

employee morale. Every school

but effective, is spending face time

has a unique context built upon

at team meetings and association

the student body, parent base, and

meetings and informal, sponta-

community. Recognizing the char-

neous hallway conversations. Each

acteristics of the school and dis-

is an opportunity for evaluating

trict context allows school district

individual employee morale. Cave-

leaders to communicate effectively.

at: Remember that one person’s

Effective communication strategies

voice cannot be the voice for your

can boost morale by building a posi-

entire staff or district. Check with

tive climate, and over time, a highly

others to confirm your findings.

effective culture.

Appreciation of efforts Expressing appreciation of staff efforts can go a long way towards

Morale is like your bank balance.

building morale. This should be

So what is the dif ference

Even when you have money in your

done regularly. In order for appre-

between climate and culture? See

account, the balance can always be

ciation to be effective, however, it

the table below for a summary of

higher. Consider “building morale”

must be authentic and personalized.

the research.

an assignment, to approach in a stra-

Employee recognition programs are

There are several techniques

tegic and systematic fashion. Just as

associated with feelings of greater

for getting a read on the morale in

you carefully craft a school improve-

satisfaction at work. Employee recog-

your buildings. Focus groups can

ment plan, you can encourage dis-

nition programs do not need to break

be assembled to discuss hot top-

trict leadership to plan a strategy for

your budget. Simple acknowledg-

ics. Teacher surveys and polls can

boosting morale.

ments of extra effort, such as handwritten notes, can be given to any staff member who is going the extra

CLIMATE • The “mood” of the school • Short term, prone to fluctuations • More easily changed Includes leadership, organizational structure, historical forces, rewards, trust, commitment, connectedness.

CULTURE • The “personality” of the district • Long term, takes years to evolve • Influences all aspects of the organization Includes values, beliefs, myths, traditions, norms.

mile. In today’s world of constant electronic communication, there is still something special about receiving an envelope in the staff member’s mailbox. Although you might be surprised how many staff members post these for their colleagues and students to see, a privately delivered note is more appropriate for staff



members who may not appreciate

you begin the year. Everyone likes to

being put in the spotlight.

catch up by seeing where people went,

“Shout outs” in your district

whom they visited, and how they spent

newsletters can be a regular feature.

their summer. Administrators should

Put these at the top so that the news-

join in, so staff can get to see what they

letter always starts out with a positive

enjoy doing outside of the office. This

message. Encourage staff members

has become a tradition in our district

to “shout out” other employees - they

and all look forward to connecting via

can be your eyes on the street look-

this brief social activity.

ing for employees who are making a

Consider boosting staff morale

positive impact. This strategy works

to be a primary outcome of your

when the staff member doesn’t mind

communication strategies. Teachers

being the center of public recogni-

and staff members feel good when

tion. These “shout outs” are also a

their hard work is promoted public-

subtle way to reinforce the types

ly. Take a few moments every day to

of behaviors you want to promote

boost morale by being a positive

among your staff.

influence in your school. Positive

Central Illinois Valley Thomas Neeley

Shawnee Roger Pfister

Cook North Barbara Somogyi

Southwestern Mark Christ Principal/2008/S-O_p42.pdf

Cook South Denis Ryan

Starved Rock Simon Kampwerth Jr. joshbersin/2012/06/13/new-researchunlocks-the-secret-of-employeerecognition/3/

Cook West Carla Joiner-Herrod

Three Rivers Dale Hansen

Corn Belt Mark Harms

Two Rivers David Barton

front office and reaches every hallway and into every classroom.

one complete an advanced degree program? Get married? Had a baby?


Help create a sense of family by post- Principal/2008/M-Ap56.pdf

photos can be sent by the district directly to local news outlets. The photos bring the story to life Try to capture pictures of adults working with students and focus the story on student learning. Catch staff members in action to promote the positive work of your school. Social media engagement is another external tool that can expand your reach. Inform your stakeholders about activities and events that they can in turn

https://www.humantalentnetwork. com/employee-recognitionimproving-staff-morale-throughauthenticappreciation/6836/ https://www.humantalentnetwork. com/employee-recognitionimproving-staff-morale-throughauthenticappreciation/6836/ surveyfindings/documents/globoforce_ shrm_survey_spring_2013_final.pdf White, P., Educational Leadership magazine, February 2014

Back-to-school videos can be a Ask all staff members to send in one or

feel the energy surge in your staff as

Egyptian John Metzger Illini Michelle Skinlo Kaskaskia Linda Eades

Wabash Valley Dennis Inboden Western Sue McCance Chicago Board Jaime Guzman Service Associates Glen Eriksson

Board of directors members are current at press time.

fabulous way to start the school year.

show set to snappy music and you will

DuPage Thomas Ruggio

Kishwaukee Mary Stith

share with others.

two summer photos. Compile a slide-


Northwest Chris Buikema

and career milestones. Did some-

Externally, short articles with

Immediate Past President Karen Fisher

Blackhawk David Rockwell

a terrific location to post personal

staff to share and enjoy.

Vice President Joanne Osmond

Lake June Maguire

morale starts in the leadership and

secure location on your website for

Treasurer Thomas Neeley

Abe Lincoln Lisa Weitzel

An internal staff website is also

ing these moments and photos in a

President Phil Pritzker

Columns are submitted by members of the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association

M A R C H - A P R I L 2 0 1 7 / T H E I L L I N O I S S C H O O L B O A R D J O U R N A L 

IASB is a voluntary association of local boards of education and is not affiliated with any branch of government.



Telling different stories “’G iven t he ra n g e of st at e

next,’” said Maria Voles Ferguson,

Gradu ate S chool of E ducation

capacity, and states’ different K-12

the executive director of the Cen-

and Human Development. ‘I think

priorities, ESSA implementation

ter on Education Policy, a public

there’s going to be a lot of different

could look radically different on

education advocacy group at the

stories told throughout the coun-

the ground from one state to the

George Washington University’s

try … There are bright-shiningstar [states] that are going to run and do really interesting things, and then there’l l be some sad, not-great stories. It’s a little bit of survival of the fittest.’” OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Roger L. Eddy, Executive Director Benjamin S. Schwarm, Deputy Executive Director Meetings Management Carla S. Bolt, Director Office of General Counsel Kimberly Small, General Counsel Maryam Brotine, Assistant General Counsel Executive Searches Thomas Leahy, Director Jim Helton, Consultant Dave Love, Consultant Alan Molby, Consultant ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES Jennifer Feld, Associate Executive Director/ Chief Financial Officer ADVOCACY/GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS Benjamin S. Schwarm, Deputy Executive Director Deanna L. Sullivan, Director Susan Hilton, Director Zach Messersmith, Assistant Director Advocacy Cynthia Woods, Director IASB OFFICES 2921 Baker Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-5929 217/528-9688 Fax 217/528-2831 One Imperial Place, 1 East 22nd Street, Suite 20 Lombard, Illinois 60148-6120 630/629-3776 Fax 630/629-3940


BOARD DEVELOPMENT/TAG Dean Langdon, Associate Executive Director Board Development Sandra Kwasa, Director Nesa Brauer, Trainer Angie Peifer, Consultant Targeting Achievement through Governance (TAG) Steve Clark, Consultant COMMUNICATIONS/ PRODUCTION SERVICES James Russell, Associate Executive Director Gary W. Adkins, Director/Editorial Services Jennifer Nelson, Director/Information Services Theresa Kelly Gegen, Director/Editorial Services Heath Hendren, Assistant Director/Communications Kara Kienzler, Director/Production Services FIELD SERVICES/POLICY SERVICES Cathy A. Talbert, Associate Executive Director Field Services Larry Dirks, Director Perry Hill IV, Director Laura Martinez, Director Reatha Owen, Director Patrick Rice, Director Barbara B. Toney, Director Policy Services Shanell Bowden, Consultant Angie Powell, Consultant Brian Zumpf, Consultant

— “ Tricky Balance in Shifting From ESSA Blueprint to K-12 Realit y,” Alyson Klein, Education Week, December 30, 2016. See page 21.

“If decades of hokey pokey politics in Springfield have you blue, perhaps you’ll find solace in the Do-si-do. The square dance is designated as the official folk dance of Illinois. Then, there’s the Tully Monster to celebrate. The official state fossil is a soft bodied marine animal that lived 280 to 340 million years ago, just a few years before Chicago Rep. Mike Madigan was first elected speaker of the House. And there [are] more state designations — lots more. One freshman state senator this week filed a bill to wipe nearly all of them off the books. All told, there are more than 20 official state designations, some of them selected by school children, others by voters, and all adopted by the General Assembly.” — “Repeal the state pie? Upstate lawmaker takes aim at State Designations Act,” column by Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan, February 3, 2017.


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Funding reform won’t work without funding By Ben Schwarm


Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm leads the Advocacy/ Governmental Relations Departments of the Illinois Association of School Boards.


Is this new panel a

nother legislative panel in

Along with the numerous com-

the State Capitol has taken

mission and task force attempts to

a stab at designing and financing

comprehensively change our fund-

Make no mistake, the mem-

a new school f unding distribu-

ing formula, there have been several

bers of this commission have taken

tion formula. In 2016, Governor

lawsuits filed that have charged that

this task very seriously and have

Bruce Rauner convened his Illi-

the system should be thrown out

committed hundreds of hours in

nois S chool F u nding Refor m

altogether based on constitutional

meeting and preparation time. As

Commission, comprised mostly

grounds. A lawsuit was filed in 1968

have the members of all of those

of legislators, and headed up by his

claiming that the property tax sys-

commissions and task forces of the

Secretary of Education, Elizabeth

tem that funded schools was unfair

past. But correctly identifying the


legitimate effort?

(thrown out by lower court). Anoth-

problems, crafting the solutions,

When the panel was announced,

er in 1973 claimed that the state

and finding enough legislators to

one could almost hear the eyes

needs to provide at least 50 percent

all vote for the same proposal has

rol l i ng i n school b oa rd room s

of public school funding (struck

been proven difficult over the years.

and district administrative offic-

down by the Supreme Court). In

For those involved in or follow-

es across Illinois. Really? Another

1995 a suit by the Coalition for Edu-

ing the commission meetings that

task force? Write up the report and

cational Rights claimed that the

have been doing this type of work

throw it in the pile along with the

funding was not efficient (defeated

for a while (and there are several of

reports from the numerous House

with the lower court citing the 1968

us), it can seem like a case of déjà

and/or Senate task forces! These

decision). A 1999 case claimed that

vu or living the movie Groundhog

include the Education Funding

the system does not meet the min-

Day. Many ideas mentioned and

Adv isor y C om m is sion (2013),

imally adequate standard, based

“what-ifs” seem groundbreaking

the Education Funding Adviso-

on building conditions in East St.

to this new group taking on such a

ry Board (2002), the Fair School

Louis (dismissed by lower court). A

daunting project for the first time,

Funding group (Alliance partners

2008 case was based on the claim

but in most cases the same ques-

and the teachers’ unions in 1997),

that the system violated civil rights

tions and ideas were brought forth

the Blue Ribbon Commission on

(dismissed citing the 1995 case).

in each of the panels in the past.

School Funding (Governor Edgar

A nd in 2010 a suit was brought

There are common themes to

et. al. in 1995), the Better Fund-

claiming the system violated the

the progressions of school funding

ing for Better Schools Coalition

equal protection clause (struck


(which pushed for passage of SB

dow n by t he Supreme C ou r t) .

• U s e a l l d u e d i l i g e n c e i n

750 in 2008), and the Task Force

Apparently this avenue for change

researching our state fund-

on School Finance (1990).

has not fared well.

ing system;


• Study and compare those funding systems in other states that might be applicable (usually by paying for and bringing in a national school funding consultant); • Find consensus among the commission members on what should be included in the final product; and • N a v i g a t e t h r o u g h t h o s e issues that are the most divisive politica l ly, philosoph-

school districts with lower property

wealth areas and/or with high con-

ica l ly, geog raph ica l ly, a nd

values and higher poverty concen-

centrations of poverty students.


trations, and addressing at-risk stu-

This current panel seems have

It is this last point that often

dents. Of those panels that tackled

agreed on that, as well as regional

leads to the demise of the finished

the revenue side, all recommended

cost indices, leaving transportation


increasing the income tax rates and

funding outside of the general for-

Issues arise that are contro-

broadening the sales tax rates. Many

mula, special assistance for English

versial (for example forced school

of the panels added to their reform

language learners, transparency,

district consolidation, limits on

lists school consolidation, increased

and accountability.

what a local school district can

school district accountability, and

The evidence-based funding

l ev y or a c c e s s f r o m pr o p e r t y

collapsing the mandated categorical

model, recommended by Vision

t a xes, pension dim inish ment s

funding grants.

20/20 and the Illinois Association

or cost shifts). Arguments ensue over the balance among school b oa rd r i g ht s ver su s employe e rights versus student needs versus taxpayer rights. So, yes, this is a legitimate effort to find a reasonable solution

“... this is a legitimate effort to find a reasonable solution to our school funding quagmire, but

to our school funding quagmire,

the task is difficult and these commission

but the task is difficult and these

members are facing the same hurdles as their

commission members are facing the same hurdles as their colleagues

colleagues who preceded them.”

who preceded them. So what is the solution? When you look at the reports from all of the school funding reform

One consensus of most legisla-

of School Boards, addresses most

task forces, committees, and com-

tors and education groups over the

all of the above-mentioned provi-

missions, they look amazingly simi-

past year or two is that our fund-

sions. It also uses research, data,

lar. All of them recommend property

ing formula should target those

and best practices to drive the fund-

tax relief, regional cost indices, hold

school districts in the most need,

ing formula so the funding is most

harmless provisions, focusing on

generally districts in low property

meaningful for student success.



Because of this,

that is most important — and that

model as recommended by Vision

the commis-

often is the first component to fall

20/20, or something else — but is

sion has seri-

away from the discussion — is fund-

not properly funded — there will be

o u s ly s t u d ie d

ing it. In truth, our current funding

blame put on the funding model and

this type of fund-

formula would likely be meeting

those who created it.

ing model and has

most needs if it was properly fund-

The commitment must be that

recommended similar

ed. It does attempt to funnel more

whatever new plan is devised, it will

funding to those districts with less

be funded at a sufficient level.

provisions in its final report. The commission also targeted

property wealth, but it is still using

the distribution of funds and not

the foundation level of spending per

the generation of funds. Though

pupil from 2008.

Editor’s note: The Illinois School Funding

the report mentions that the cost

No formula will work properly

Reform Commission’s report was

of the recommended reforms could

with that track record of under-

submitted on February 1, but no

cost upwards of $3.5 billion in the


legislation has been introduced

first ten years, there is no discus-

A basic concern is that if a new

at the time of this writing. The

sion or recommendations regarding

school funding formula is agreed to

Commission’s work is detailed

revenue sources.

and implemented, whether that is


But as there are many facets to

a model as pushed for by Senator


the school funding equation, the one

Andy Manar, or an evidence-based

Commission.aspx .

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76 Words By Theresa Kelly Gegen


he perpetual discussion of

responsibility” mean? And how

f u n d i n g f o r e a c h K -1 2 p u p i l

school funding reform starts

d o e s t h a t b a l a n c e w it h l o c a l

through a combination of state and

school governance?

local funds. It’s a starting point

with the Illinois Constitution, in

The current Illinois funding

from which the formula known as

formula starts with the founda-

General State Aid is derived, based

“A fundamental goal of

tion level, which is intended to

on local taxing ability and addi-

the People of the State is the

represent the minimum adequate

tional needs. In addition, the state

which Article X, Section1 states:

Theresa Kelly Gegen is the editor of The Illinois School Board Journal.

educational development of all persons to the limits of their capacities. The State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational in stit uti o n s an d se r v i ce s. Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free. There may be such other free education as the General Assembly provides by law. The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.”

T he s e 76 wor d s , f r o m t he Illinois Constitution adopted in 1970, have led to an entire industry of studies, committees, and proposals over months and years of debate and discussion. One of the keys to the conversation is what does the state’s “primar y



In 2010, Illinois ranked last in the nation in terms of contribution

“K-12 education has been funded ( for the most

to K-12 public education: 28 per-

part) over that span, but no one can predict

cent of Illinois K-12 expenditures

what will happen next. Without funding, the

came from the state; the national average was 43 percent. Also in

constitutional concept of ‘primary responsibility”

2010, the state began pro-rating

is moot.”

G eneral State A id to distr icts, which disproportionately affected poorer districts that got more from the state because they received less locally. In 2012, Illinois had the largest gap in funding (combined

is scheduled to make payments

enormous disparity in property tax

state and local revenue) between

for mandated categoricals, which

income among districts in Illinois.

low- and high-poverty districts.

can only be used for a particular

“What we need is for the state

In 2016, for the first time in seven

purpose, such as transportation

to provide a stable, reliable, and pre-

years, Illinois fully funded educa-

or special education.

dictable commitment of school rev-

tion to the foundation level.

To that, school districts add

enue,” says IASB Executive Director

However, as the funding gap

a share of local property tax rev-

Roger Eddy. “We also need to take

p er si st s , a nd s cho ol d i st r ic t s

enues, with the caveat being the

local resources into consideration.”

unable to rely on proper ty t a x


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revenue fall behind communities

“We’re going to have to attack

over that span,

that can, so does the discussion

equity and approach adequacy,”

but no one can

of school funding reform, with the

said Purvis at the Commission’s

predict what

goal of developing an adequate and

eighth meeting in September.

will happen

equitable funding model.

The Commission dug into the

next. Without

S chool f unding refor m has

history of school funding in Illi-

funding, the con-

again become a front-burner issue,

nois, school-funding formulas in

stitutional concept of

raising expectations for change.

other states, defining and review-

‘primary responsibility” is

IASB and its School Manage-

ing principles of equity, explaining


ment Alliance partners — Illinois

the intricacies of “hold harmless”

“Most models would work if you

Association of School Administra-

clauses, a deep dive into Illinois

put money in them,” Eddy says. “No

tors, Illinois Association of School

property tax laws, funding for spe-

matter what it is, it will fail if we don’t

Business Officials, and Illinois

cial populations, and numerous

fund it.”

Pr incipals A ssociation — have

other topics. As the Commission’s

been involved in the conversation

work entered 2017, it examined the

Resources for further reading:

for decades. Various legislative

effects of implementing the 27-point

f unding refor m proposals have

research-based elements of the

Constitution of the State of Illinois, Article X: Education commission/lrb/con10.htm

been f loated over the past three

Evidence-Based Funding Model,

years, including those from Sen.

as proposed by Vision 20/20, and

Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and

looking at what increased achieve-

Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloom-

ment could mean to Illinois in the

ington). Senator Kimberly Light-

future. The Illinois School Funding

ford (D-Maywood) has established

Reform Commission’s report was

a group of education stakeholders

submitted on February 1, but no

and legislators who are seeking

legislation has been introduced at

to make changes to the current

the time of this writing (for more

school funding formula. Vision

information, see the commentary

20/20, a collective of school lead-

by IASB Executive Director Ben

ership organizations in Illinois,

Schwarm, page 6).

backs an evidence‐base‐funding

“We need a plan that is effec-

plan that addresses both equity

tive, efficient, and quality,” says

and adequacy.

Illinois ASBO Executive Director

In addition, in July 2016 Gov-

General State Aid overview: overview.pdf Illinois Vision 20/20: Illinois School Funding Reform Commission:

Mike Jacoby.

ernor Bruce Rauner formed the

And yet, two elephants in the

Illinois School Funding Reform

room can’t be ignored. One, talk

C om m i s sion. The 25 -memb er

of funding formula reform inev-

Commission is chaired by Illi-

itably leads to talk of “winners

nois Secretary of Education Beth

and losers.” The plans attempt to

Pur vis. Manar, Barickman, and

address this, but even with full or

Lightford are among the members.

additional funding the perception

The Commission is tasked with

will prevail. The other roadblock

making recommendations to the

of pressing concern is the lack of

General Assembly to revise the

a state budget in Illinois, for going

current school funding formula

on two years. Public K-12 education

by February 1.

has been funded (for the most part)




It’s all relative: Administrator salaries show regional gaps Written by Lora Wolff with analysis by Dean Halverson

Lora Wolff and Dean Halverson are professors of Educational Leadership at Western Illinois University in Macomb.


y husband and I enjoy

theme. Out of 893 games, I have won

playing games, including

482 and my husband has won 411.

lots of board games. In fact, Jim, a

I’m leading by 71 games — not brag-

retired third-grade teacher, and I

ging, just stating facts. The dialogue

The points we earn in a game of

keep spreadsheets of wins and loss-

after a typical hand goes something

“Lost Cities” is much like principal

es, scores, average scores, and point

like this:

and superintendent salaries in Illi-

differentials (this is not normal, I know). Our favorite game right now is “Lost Cities,” a two-player game with an archaeological expedition

Lora : You got 44 points.

Lora: Well, for most hands 44 is a good score. Jim: It’s all relative.

nois: It’s all relative.

That’s a pretty good score. Jim: Yeah, but look at yours:

Principal salaries In examining principal salaries


(see Table 1) from the most recent three years, the highest salary was $224,535, in 2016. Over that span, no clear patterns emerge from the data. The average principal salary across the state increased each year with a total increase of approximately $1,500. There was more growth in the average and median salaries from 2015 to 2016 than from 2014 to 2015. However, the percentage change in principal salaries was zero. Principal salary data for males (see Table 2) and females (see Table 3) once again showed that a female has the highest principal salary in the state. But the difference between male and female average salaries was less than $10. Principal salaries were also broken down into percentiles

This is the latest installment a long-term series of analyses assessing trends in administrator salaries in Illinois, published in the Journal and based on the work of members of the Education Studies Department at Western Illinois University.


(see Table 4). In every category, principal salaries increased over the three-year period.


Superintendent salaries The highest-salaried superintendent in Illinois made $350,000 in 2016, which was an increase of over $13,000 from both 2014 and 2105 (see Table 5). After an increase in average superintendent salaries in 2015, average salaries decreased in 2016. However, there was an increase in the median salary in both 2015

Table 1: Salary Data Comparison from 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016

Illinois Principal Salaries Number Reported

Highest Salary

Average Salary

% Change of Average


2014 to 2015

3,850 3,909

$214,096 $211,826

$99,175 $100,521


$97,294 $98,326

2015 to 2016

3,909 3,841

$211,826 $224,535

$100,521 $100,656


$98,326 $99,306


Source: ISBE

and 2016. Male superintendents continue to outnumber female superintendents, currently by more than 400. However, for the second year in a row,

Table 2: Salary Data Comparison from 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016

Illinois Principal Salaries: Male Number Reported

Highest Salary

Average Salary

% Change of Average


2014 to 2015

1,804 1,858

$197,883 $211,241

$99,012 $100,430


$96,850 $98,000

2015 to 2016

1,858 1,823

$211,241 $196,628

$100,430 $101,188


$98,000 $100,000

a female had the highest superin-


tendent salary in the state and the average salary for females was higher than for males (see Tables 6 and 7). It is worth noting that the median salary for males increased by $2,385 and the median salary for females

Source: ISBE

decreased by $2,601. When looking at salaries by percentile groups from 2014, 2015, and 2016, all groups showed an increase from year to year except superintendents in the 10th percentile, where the salaries have significant fluctuation (see Table 8). Salary differences exist in all three years with an average difference between categories of $23,000 with the highest difference,

Table 3: Salary Data Comparison from 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016

Illinois Principal Salaries: Female Number Reported

Highest Salary

Average Salary

2014 to 2015

2,046 2,050

$214,096 $211,826

$99,319 $100,618

2015 to 2016

2,050 2,017

$211,826 $224,535

$100,618 $100,175


% Change of Average



$97,897 $98,718


$98,718 $98,566

Source: ISBE

of $41,000, between the 75th and 50th percentiles. Illinois and national

Table 4: Illinois percentiles for 2014 to 2016, and national percentiles for 2016

Principal Salary Percentiles

comparisons W hen look i ng at d at a it is important to have a frame of reference to put the primary data in perspective. Without such comparisons, it is difficult to determine if Illinois administrator salaries are high, low,


90th Percentile


Median/ 50th



Illinois 2014 Illinois 2015 Illinois 2016

$134,445 $136,454 $135,931

$120,180 $121,566 $122,104

$97,294 $98,326 $99,306

$81,589 $82,948 $83,204

$66,815 $68,000 $67,047

National 2016






Source: ISBE

or about average.



We b e g a n ou r c omp a r i s on

Table 5: Salary Data Comparison from 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016

by examining Iowa superinten-

Illinois Superintendent Salaries Number Reported

Highest Salary

Average Salary

2014 to 2015

900 878

$336,350 $336,350

$132,838 $136,567

2015 to 2016

878 879

$336,350 $350,000

$136,567 $135,885


dent salaries. According to the

% Change of Average


Iowa Department of Education,


$127,081 $132,716

super i ntendent sa lar y i n Iowa


$132,716 $133,310

Source: ISBE

t he avera ge 2 015 -2 016 scho ol was $142,127 compared to Illinois’ $135,885. The highest-paid superintendent had a salar y of $ 279,049 compared to Illinois’ $ 350,000. The lowest full-time salary in Iowa was $ 81,750. It is

Table 6: Salary Data Comparison from 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016

important to note of the 342 Iowa

Illinois Superintendent Salaries: Male Year

Number Reported

Highest Salary

Average Salary

652 632

$316,616 $335,553

$132,008 $134,856

2014 to 2015

districts, 45 share a superintendent, compared to nine of 850 in

% Change of Average



$126,315 $130,814

Illinois. Pen n sylva n ia’s p opu lat ion of 12,802,503 is the closest in nu mb er to I l l i nois p opu lat ion

632 646

2015 to 2016

$335,553 $314,608

$134,856 $134,455


$130,814 $133,200

of 12,859,995. According to the P e n n s y l va n i a D e p a r t m e n t o f Education and, Penn-

Source: ISBE

sylvania has 501 school districts compared to Il linois’ 856. The

Table 7: Salary Data Comparison from 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016

average salary for superintendents

Illinois Superintendent Salaries: Female Number Reported

Highest Salary

Average Salary

2014 to 2015

248 243

$336,350 $336,350

$135,052 $141,024

2015 to 2016

243 233

$336,350 $350,000

$141,024 $139,843


in Pennsylvania for 2015 -2016

% Change of Average



$134,534 $137,025


$137,025 $134,424

Source: ISBE

was $140,497. The highest-paid superintendent in Pennsylvania was paid $304,523. I n a dd it ion t o c omp a r i n g superintendent salaries with nearby Iowa and statistically- similar Pennsylvania, it is also enlightening to compare Illinois to national salaries. Table 8 includes national

Table 8: Illinois percentiles for 2014 to 2016, and national percentiles for 2016

Superintendent Salary Percentiles Year

90th Percentile

Illinois 2014 Illinois 2015 Illinois 2016

$208,803 $210,369 $213,271

data which provides a comparison of 2016 salaries by percentile. At the 90th percentile, Illinois


Median/ 50th



exceeded the national average by

$169,584 $172,890 $174,350

$127,081 $132,716 $133,310

$98,461 $103,000 $100,059

$56,750 $60,349 $55,341

one percent. At all other percentiles the Illinois salaries were lower than the national average. These discrepancies far

National 2016 Source: ISBE







exceeded the differences found in the principal data (see Table


4). Our speculation is that this is

Salaries are listed by elementa-

years. The East

related to the number of school

ry, middle school, or high school

Central had

districts in the state of Illinois,

pr incipa ls. In look ing at the

two of the low-

which has the third-most in the

avera ge pr incipa l sa lar ies, the

est high salaries


Southeast region had five of the

(2015: $119,413

Principal comparisons with

six lowest average salaries with

for elementar y

the national data can be found

the West Central region having

p r i n c i p a l s ; 2 016 :

in Table 4 with the comparison

the lowest middle school average

$131,813 for h ig h school

of 2016 salaries. At the 90th and

principal salary in 2016.

pr i ncipa ls) . The We st Centra l

75th percentiles, Illinois salaries

The Northeast region had the

region also had two of the lowest

exceeded the national figures by

highest average salaries for ele-

high salaries. The Northeast region

10 percent and 9 percent, respec-

mentary (2015: $110,929; 2016:

with the highest number of prin-

tively. The 50th percentile sala-

$110,583), middle school (2015:

cipals had the highest salaries for

ries were statistically close, with

$144,689; 2016 : $116,521), and

both years for elementary, middle

a difference of $339. The Illinois

h i g h s cho ol pr i ncipa l s (2 015 :

school, and high school principals.

s a l a r i e s we r e l owe r t h a n t h e

$123,668; 2016: $124,283).

In look ing at the pr incipa l

national average at the 25th and

W hen analyzing the high

salar y gap between regions for

10th percentiles by 5 percent and

salaries by region, the Southeast

the 2016 -2017 school year, we

13 percent, respectively. Although

region also had the lowest middle

found the following regional sta-

these differences are somewhat

school principals’ salary for both

tistics notable:

discouraging, they pale in comparison to the differences in superintendent salaries. Another positive note for principals comes from The Recruiter, which reported that in 2016 Illinois was one of the seven states in which the average principal salary exceeded $100,000. The other states were California, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut,

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Maryland, and Delaware. Salary analysis by region A lthough it is important to compare Illinois salaries to other states and the nation, it is also worth examining salaries within Illinois. As in previous analyses, we divided the state into six regions: East Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and West Central (see map, page 16). Principal salaries by region for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 years are presented in Table 9.

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• The aver-

Southeast’s average prin-

age elementa-

cipals’ salary of $79,639.

ry principals’

Table 10 displays the

salar y in the

superintendent salaries by

Northeast is

region for the 2015-2016

$ 41, 8 21 h i g her

and 2016-2017 years. Sal-

than in the Southeast.

aries are broken down by

• For elementary principals, the

elementary, high school,

gap between the Northeast’s

and unit school districts.

highest salary and the West Cen-

In looking at the average

tral’s highest salary is $80,830.

superintendent salaries,

That is greater than the average

the Southeast region had four

elementary principal salary in

of the six lowest average sal-

East Central, West Central, or

aries with the East Central


region having the lowest high

• The avera ge sa lar y gap for middle school principals is

school average superintendent salary in 2016. Similar to the principals’

$35,447. • The high salary gap for middle school principals $69,121.

salary data, the Northeast region had the highest average

• The average salary gap for high

salaries for elementary district

school principals is $44,644.

superintendents (2015: $177,117;

• For high school principals, the

2016 : $176,515), high school

gap between the Northeast’s

district superintendents (2015:

high salary and the East Cen-

$198,835; 2016: $199,847), and

tral’s high salary is $92,722.

unit districts (2015: $176,411;

This gap is greater than the

2016: $179,872).

Regions: EC/East Central NE/Northeast NW/Northwest SE/Southeast SW/Southwest WC/West Central

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Table 9: Salary Data 2015 to 2016 Comparison

Table 10: Salary Data 2015 to 2016 Comparison

Illinois Principal Salaries by Region

Superintendent Salaries by Region

Number Reporting Elementary EC 16 EC 15

High Salary

Percent Average Change in Salary Average

Elementary EC 16 EC 15

High Salary

Percent Average Change in Salary Average

16 16

$157,842 $153,245

$91,743 $96,455


NE 16 NE 15

219 218

$350,000 $335,553

$176,515 $177,117

- 0.3

NW 16 NW 15

43 41

$149,006 $152,959

$89,755 $95,576

- 6.0


SE 16 SE 15

38 41

$158,310 $153,015

$76,949 $79,971

- 3.7

$81,334 $80,625

+ 0.8

SW 16 SW 15

33 33

$155,600 $152,691

$96,775 $95,963

+ 0.8

$79,897 $79,599

+ 0.4

WC 16 WC 15

27 29

$152,583 $149,999

$92,182 $86,057

+ 6.6

6 6

$141,328 $146,068

$111,705 $103,514

+ 7.3

187 185

$116,447 $119,413

$78,824 $77,731

+ 1.39

NE 16 NE 15

1565 1602

$195,412 $203,657

$110,583 $110,929

- 0.3

NW 16 NW 15

246 239

$129,831 $124,423

$84,162 $82,611

+ 1.8

SE 16 SE 15

119 115

$130,714 $123,315

$68,762 $71,854

SW 16 SW 15

159 153

$129,959 $124,232

WC 16 WC 15

207 209

$114,582 $123,125

Middle School EC 16 EC 15

Number Reporting

High School EC 16 EC 15

53 54

$129,626 $129,408

$83,090 $82,021

+ 1.2

NE 16 NE 15

299 306

$183,652 $191,213

$116,521 $114,689


NE 16 NE 15

56 58

$336,500 $336,350

$199,847 $198,835

+ 0.5

NW 16 NW 15

64 64

$134,451 $144,896

$92,349 $91,420

+ 1.0

NW 16 NW 15

12 12

$175,159 $162,000

$145,032 $139,397

+ 3.8

SE 16 SE 15

26 25

$114,531 $108,048

$82,259 $79,795

+ 3.0

SE 16 SE 15

8 10

$174,723 $165,236

$126,666 $113,164

+ 10.6

SW 16 SW 15

38 41

$126,333 $119,182

$91,840 $89,590

+ 2.5

SW 16 SW 15

7 7

$180,250 $175,000

$146,165 $145,305


WC 16 WC 15

59 62

$120,712 $117,929

$81,074 $80,215

+ 1.1

WC 16 WC 15

6 6

$170,198 $165,241

$138,842 $137,257

+ 1.1

79 81

$131,813 $134,944

$91,905 $88,504

+ 3.7

Unit EC 16 EC 15

74 77

$193,800 $193,266

$122,883 $120,159

+ 2.2

NE 16 NE 15

338 351

$224,535 $211,826

$124,283 $123,668

+ 0.4

NE 16 NE 15

45 46

$268,567 $263,312

$179,872 $176,411

+ 1.9

NW 16 NW 15

85 83

$144,715 $136,524

$97,562 $95,376

+ 2.2

NW 16 NW 15

78 74

$213,150 $210,000

$118,879 $127,365

- 6.7

SE 16 SE 15

70 70

$150,822 $142,284

$79,639 $76,741


SE 16 SE 15

69 64

$224,185 $211,496

$100,790 $105,585

- 4.5

SW 16 SW 15

56 56

$149,964 $145,596

$92,237 $90,474

+ 1.9

SW 16 SW 15

51 50

$238,200 $260,000

$118,930 $120,340

- 1.2

WC 16 WC 15

88 87

$133,837 $133,956

$84,764 $86,009

- 1.4

WC 16 WC 15

82 83

$195,000 $206,904

$115,719 $114,360

+ 1.2

High School EC 16 EC 15

Source: ISBE


Source: ISBE


When analyzing the high sal-

school, and unit district super-

• The gap between the highest

aries by region, the East Central

i n t e n d e n t s ( 2 015 : $ 3 35 , 5 5 3 ;

(Northeast at $176,515) and

region had the lowest high school

2 016 : $ 350,0 0 0 ), h i g h s cho ol

lowest (Southeast at $76,949)

district and unit district super-

district superintendents (2015:

elementary district superin-

intendents’ high salary for both

$336,350; 2016: $336,500), and

tendents’ average salar y is

years. For elementary districts,

h i g h s cho ol (2 015 : $ 26 8 , 567;

$99,566. The gap is greater than

the West Central region had the

2016: $263,312).

the average salaries in all of the non-Northeast regions.

lowest 2015 high salary and the

A s w ith the pr incipals, the

Northwest region had the lowest

gap nu mbers demonstrate dis-

• Same holds for high salaries.

high salary for 2016.

p a r it ie s w it h s u p e r i nt e n d e nt

The elementary district super-

The Nor theast region, with

salaries. Notable when examin-

intendents’ high salary gap is

t he h i g he s t nu mb er o f s up er-

i ng t he sup er i ntendent sa la r y

$200,001; the gap is greater

intendent s, had the hig hest

gap s for t he 2015 -2016 school

than the high salaries in all of

s a l a r ie s for e le me nt a r y, h i g h

year are:

the non-Northeast regions. • The high school district superintendents’ high salary gap is $195,172, greater than the highest salaries in all of the non-Northeast regions. • The u n it d i st r ict sup er i n-

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tendents’ average salary gap of $79,082 and unit district superintendents’ high salary gap $74,767 demonstrate lower discrepancies than w ith elementary and high school districts.

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March/April 2017T H E I L L I N O I S S C H O O L B O A R D J O U R N A L / M A R C H - A P R I L 2 0 1 7

Student enrollment

by the disparity in salaries across

Authors’ notes

and number of districts

Illinois. Disparities exist by region

Thanks to Mark Hobneck of ISBE’s data and progress reporting division for providing the raw data. For information about ISBE’s data collection process, visit www.isbe. net/research/htmls/salary_report. htm. Thanks to Deepthi Sangara and Clint Iadanza, graduate assistants at Western Illinois University, for sorting and analyzing the data.

Every year the topic of the

and by building or district config-

nu mb er of s cho ol d i st r ic t s i n

uration. At some levels, the dis-

Illinois is discussed. Data from

parities make sense. It costs more

P r o x i m i t yo n e i n d i c a t e s t h a t

to buy a house in the cities and

when compared with the other

suburbs than in rural Illinois. A

most populous states, the average

high school principal tends to have

number of students per district

many more nig ht and weekend

in Illinois is significantly lower than most. In order of population, the average number of pupils per district is • California: 38,190 • Texas: 25,457

“Administrator salary discrepancies and the

• Florida: 213,381

number of districts in Illinois may just be the

• New York: 29,154

elephants in the room that nobody really wants to

• Illinois: 14,209 • Pennsylvania: 3,500

talk about and to tackle.”

Clearly, the most populous states administer public school populations differently. The Illinois number of students per district is approximately half that of

activities than does an elementa-


Texas and New York and a little

ry principal. Some buildings have

under a third of the number in

80 students while others have over

ISBE Education Data Systems: www.

California. Pennsylvania serves

2,000. Some districts have 200 stu-

even fewer students per district

dents while others have 40,000 stu-

than Illinois.

dents. This is understood.

The number of school dis-

However, the ma g nitude of

tricts has decreased significantly

the differences takes me back to

in the past 60 years as schools have

that game of “L ost Cities” and

consolidated. At the national level,

my husband’s comment, “It’s all

the decrease was about 75 percent

relative.” Are administrator sal-

while in Illinois it was about 55

aries in Illinois just relative, or

percent. It appears the challenge

is there something big ger going

of consolidation has been ongo-

on that needs to be addressed?

ing in the state of Illinois and may

Administrator salary discrepan-

explain the discrepancies in the

cies and the number of districts

salaries of Illinois superintendents

in Il linois may just be the ele -

compared the national data.

phants in the room that nobody rea l ly wa nt s to t a l k about a nd

Other considerations Each year when we do this salary analysis, we are taken aback

to tack le. But of course, some will say, it’s all relative.

MARCH-APRIL 2017 / THE ILLINOIS SCHOOL BOARD JOURNAL Iowa Department of Education: https:// Pennsylvania: http://www.openpagov. org/k12_payroll.asp https://www.recruiter. com/salaries/education-administratorselementary-and-secondary-school-salary/ Proximity One data information services: From 1995 to 2007, researchers at Western Illinois University collected and compiled data on the salaries of district superintendents and principals in Illinois. The Illinois School Board Journal published a study of that voluntarily submitted data. With the introduction of mandatory reporting of administrator salaries, the data was unavailable for several years. In 2014, the Illinois State Board of Education made its data available to researchers. Since them, the series has resumed. The full series is available at adminsalaries.cfm.


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Just ahead of the curve By Theresa Kelly Gegen


here is good news, average

Nevada remains at the bottom of

compared to the national grade of

news, bad news, and surpris-

the rankings for a second year, with

77.6. The school finance analysis

ing news for Illinois in the latest

a D, at 65.0. Among our regional

includes four indicators of school

Education Week report card for the

neighbors, Wisconsin scores 78.9

spending patterns and four more

nation’s schools. “Quality Counts

and likewise a C-plus. Iowa (76.4),

of distribution of funding.

2017: Under Construction — Building

Indiana (74.7), and Kentucky (72.6)

The bad news, as is so often

on ESSA’s K-12 Foundation” is this

earn Cs, and Missouri (72.1) takes

the case, is found in the details. In

year’s installment of the long-running

a C-minus to rank 31st.

the school finance sub-category of

annual report on the state of educa-

Sur prisingly, Illinois ranks

spending indicators, Illinois gets a

above the national average in each

C-plus compared with a national

First, the good news: Both Illi-

of the three indices, including, most

average of D. However, in measuring

nois’ score and ranking improved

surprisingly given the climate of

equity in the distribution of fund-

over the past year. Illinois is just

reform in the state, the School

ing across the districts within each

ahead of the curve, ranking 15th in

F i n a nc e I nd ex , w it h a n 8 0. 2 ,

state, most states are doing better.

tion in the United States.

Theresa Gegen is the editor of The Illinois School Board Journal.

the nation based on the 2017 overall metric, which combines three categories: Chance-for-Success, School Finance, and K-12 Achievement. The average news is that Illinois’ score is 77.0 points out of 100; that is a C-plus on the scale used by Education Week. Last year, Illinois ranked 17th overall, with an overall score of 76.6. For 2017, the nation as a whole


garners a C, with 74.2 points. No state gets an A (no curve here). With a score of 86.5, Massachusetts leads the Quality Counts rankings for the third straight year. Five other states earn Bs and 34 states, including Illinois, grade out as Cs.




Illinois ranks 43rd, albeit with a

positive outcomes across an indi-

Education Week quotes Maria


vidual’s lifetime. … indicators fall

Voles Ferguson, the executive direc-

That equ it y needs to be

into three sub-sections: early foun-

tor of the Center on Education Policy

addressed is no secret. As Illinois

dations, school years, and adult

at George Washington University’s

leaders work to school funding


Graduate School of Education and

reform, adequacy and equity are

Il linois rank s 21st w ith its

Human Development, as saying “I

two key talking points. According to

overall Chance-for-Success score

think there’s going to be a lot of dif-

Illinois Secretary of Education Beth

of 80.2, which is a B-minus and

ferent stories told throughout the

Purvis, who chairs Governor Bruce

the state’s highest point and letter

country. There are bright-shining-

Rauner’s Illinois School Funding

grade. Each of Illinois’ sub-sec-

star [states] that are going to run

Reform Commission, “the current

tion scores is above the national

and do really interesting things, and

formula does address equity but not

averages. For the early childhood

then there’ll be some sad, not-great

enough to ensure that all students in

indicators, Illinois gets a B and

stories. It’s a little bit of survival of

the state have access to a high-qual-

rank s 26th. For pre -K throug h

the fittest.”

ity education.”

postsecondary participation, Illi-

The 2017 Quality Counts report

Despite Illinois’ relatively poor

nois receives a C-plus, ranking

also describes the “tricky balance”

grade in funding equity, the state’s

16th. For adult outcomes, which

in moving from NCLB to ESSA, keep-

achievement equity ranks better.

include postsecondary attainment

ing what was considered necessary

According to EdWeek, “In the equi-

and workforce indicators, Illinois

in the federal plan while addressing

ty sub-section, states are graded

grades out with a B -minus and

the emphasis on test scores, equity

based on achievement gaps between

ranks 17th in the nation.

for historically overlooked student

low-income students and their more

T h e 2 017 Q u a l it y C o u nt s

affluent peers. Illinois’s grade on

report weighs each of the three

those poverty-gap measures stands

major indices — Chance-for-Suc-

“ E S S A’s i m p l e m e n t a t i o n

at a B-plus. Nationally, it ranks 15th

cess, School Finance, and K-12

remains very much a work in prog-

in this area. The nation as a whole

Ach ievement — e qu a l ly. The

ress at both the federal and state

receives a B.”

sub-indices are assigned different

levels,” said Mark W. Bomster,

populations, and allowing for more local control.

Ach ievement equ it y is but

weights. The online report includes

an assistant managing editor at

one of three metrics for the K-12

an interesting feature, whereby

Education Week and the report’s

Achievement index, and it reflects

the weights assigned to each index

executive project editor. “Quali-

the good news for Illinois. In the

and sub -index can be adjusted

ty Counts 2017 examines a wide

other two metrics, status (67.1) and

by the user. This, the complete

range of efforts now underway, as

change (66.3), Illinois gets Ds. Sta-

report, and other resources are

well as the capacity challenges state

tus and change both include factors

available at

policymakers face and the views of

such as NAEP results, Advanced


education leaders at various levels about the new law, its challenges,

Placement Test scores, and grad-

E d u c a t i o n We e k’s r e p o r t

uation rates. Illinois students are

emphasizes the changing times,

improving, but not at the same pace

as the Ever y Student Succeeds

There is good news in Illinois’

as other states.

and opportunities.”

Act is, after one year, a work in

prog re s s towa rd s me et i n g t he

For those that would argue

progress. Each state is developing

requirements of ESSA, which is avail-

that te st score s do not ref lect

a plan to meet the requirements

able at Only

student success, the third index,

of ESSA, even as a new executive

time will tell if changes in the feder-

Chance-for-Success, is designed

branch administration brings a

al public education landscape bring

to “better u nderst and the role

new set of questions to federal

the state more good, bad, average or

that education plays in promoting

education policy.

surprising news.


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We will take the worry out of the lead testing requirements, by helping you design a sampling plan that will provide the right solution for all your testing needs. In northern Illinois call

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Ph: 815.344.4044

Ph: 800.752.6651 x1719

Ask the Staff

continued from inside back cover

At the October 2016 meeting, the group hosted discussions on topics including transgender students’ support and inclusion, along with recent state and federal legislation. It also decided to continue its meetings every spring and fall.

IASB — A nationwide search with Illinois experience

The next meeting will contain two hours of free continuing legal edu-

• IASB works with the National Affiliation of Superintendent Searchers (NASS), with over 110 consultants located in 40 states

cation. Mary Kay Klimesh, a partner

• NASS annually assists hundreds of districts and school boards with superintendent and other administrative searches

tinuing legal education portion of

• Illinois searches with IASB include serving 192 school districts in 70 different counties, from 2009-2016

networking and learning from each

at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, is scheduled to lead at least one hour of the conthe meeting. Members of this group enjoy other. If nothing else, they know they are not alone. IASB and ICSA provide

Contact IASB, your local search professional, to find out more: 217/528-9688 or 630/629-3776, ext. 1217,

a modest lunch at each meeting and also participate in discussions highlighting where the Association can help their clients. This strengthens

March/April 2017

STARTING RIGHT: Board-building for the new governance team An in-district workshop designed for a board welcoming new board members or a new superintendent. Benefits include: Building quality communication and relationships Creating agreement about board practices and procedures Developing effective district leadership

IASB’s mission to “Light the Way” for its members by developing their competence and confidence through a robust toolkit designed to build excellence in local school board governance by providing in-house attorneys networking opportunities for mutual support. Membership eligibility Illinois Council of School Attorneys membership is open to attorneys representing any Illinois school district. For a more detailed look at ICSA membership and benefits, contact Bridget Trojan, administrative

Contact your field services director today! Springfield: 217/528-9688 Lombard: 630/629-3776


assistant, at 630/629-3776, ext.1236; or email her at For more information, visit the ICSA

Field Services

section of the IASB website: www.



continued from page 28

Luraine G. Cannell, 96, died

Fred W. Mansfield, 88, died Jan-

H.A. “Andy” Taylor, 89, died

December 13, 2016. She formerly

uary 15, 2017. He previously served

December 11, 2016. He previous-

served on the Garden Prairie school

on the CHSD 218 (Oak Lawn) Board

ly ser ved for nine years on the


of Education.

Beardstow n CUSD 15 Board of

Floyd M. Coad, 86, died January

George E. Manus, 88, died

26, 2017. He had previously served

November 28, 2016. He had served

Gregory D. Thorson, 69, died

for many years on the school board

on the German Valley school board.

December 1, 2016. He was a former

James E. Meyer, 91, died Janu-

school board member at Seneca

for the Warren School District. Tom my Cr owder, 8 8, d ied December 23, 2016. He previously served on the Pleasant Hill school board.

ary 15, 2017. He previously served on the Knoxville school board.


THSD 160. Rachel Joy Tira, 69, died Janu-

Michael Wayne “Mickey” Moul-

ary 21, 2017. She formerly served the

ton Sr., 71, died December 16, 2016.

Coal City CUSD 1 Board of Educa-

Henry “Hank” J. DeBoer, 76,

He previously served for seven years

tion from 1977 to 1983, and served

d ied Ja nu ar y 13, 2017. He for-

on the North Chicago CUSD 187

as president from 1981 to 1983.

merly served as a board member

Board of Education.

for Marengo Elementary School District 165. Walter “Wally” George Fedder,

Harold D. Vaughn, 94, died

David Eugene Proud, 94, died

December 26, 2016. He was a past

January 28, 2017. He had formerly

member of the Astoria CUSD 1 Board

served on the Lisle school board.

of Education.

85, died January 4, 2017. He previ-

Elmer Verle Schlichting, 87,

Clement Joseph Viater, 88, died

ously served on the Unit 10 school

died December 28, 2016. He for-

December 27, 2016. He formerly


merly served for more than 20 years

served as president of the Monee

on the Warren CUSD 205 Board of

school board.

George M. Freund, 91, died January 29, 2016. He was a former member of the McHenry school board. H. Joseph Git l i n, 83, died December 2, 2016. He had previously

Kathleen “Kathy” C. W hi l-

Education. Paul Stanley Stewart, 94, died

din, 72, died Januar y 27, 2017.

December 28, 2016. He was a past

She had previously served on the

member of the school board at

Kaneland school board from 1985

Waverly CUSD 6.

to 1993.

Benjamin F. Streid, 95, died

Donald E. Yurs, 89, died Nov.

school board. Gitlin was nationally

January 8, 2017. He had previous-

30, 2016. He ser ved on the St.

recognized as a divorce lawyer. He

ly served on the Metamora CCSD 1

Charles school board from 1952

served as Mayor of Woodstock from

Board of Education.

to 1956.

served as a member of the Woodstock

1973 to 1977. T y D. Gunderson, 57, died December 2, 2016. He had formerly served four years on the Leland CUSD 1 Board of Education. Gene M. Hilgendorf, 91, died January 19, 2017. He was a former Broadwel l Grade School board member. Patricia Ann “Pat” Karr, 83, died January 23, 2017. She formerly served on Northfield school board.

ADVANCING PUBLIC EDUCATION IASB Service Associates provide quality products and services for schools. Membership is by invitation only. A list of Service Associate firms is on the IASB website and in this Journal.



FANNING HOWEY ASSOCIATES, INC. — School planning and design with a focus on K-12 schools. Oak Brook – 847/292-1039 FARNSWORTH GROUP — Architectural and engineering professional services. Normal – 309/663-8436 FGM ARCHITECTS, INC. — Architects. Chicago – 312/942-8461; Oak Brook – 630/574-8300; O’Fallon – 618/624-3364; St. Louis, MO – 314/439-1601; website:

A Directory of your IASB Service Associates

GREENASSOCIATES, INC. — Architecture/construction services. Deerfield – 847/317-0852, Pewaukee, WI – 262/746-1254; website: www.greenassociates. com; email:

IASB Service Associates are businesses which offer school‑related products and services and which have earned favorable repu­tations for quality and integrity. Only after screening by the Service Associates Executive Committee is a business firm invited by the IASB Board of Directors to become a Service Associate.

HEALY, BENDER & ASSOCIATES, INC. — Archi­tects/Planners. Naperville, 630/904-4300; website:; email:

JH2B ARCHITECTS — Architects. Kankakee – 815/933-5529; website:

Appraisal Services

INDUSTRIAL APPRAISAL COMPANY — Building and fixed asset appraisals for insurance and accounting purposes. Oak Brook – 630/575-0280


ALLIED DESIGN CONSULTANTS, INC. — Architectural programming, site planning and design, architectural and interior design, and construction administration with a specialization in K-12 facilities. Springfield – 217/522-3355 ARCON ASSOCIATES, INC. — Full service firm specializing in educational facilities with services that include architecture, construction management, roof and masonry consulting, landscape architecture, and environmental consulting. Lombard – 630/495-1900; website:; email: BERG ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS, LTD. — Consulting engineers. Schaumburg – 847/352-4500; website: BLDD ARCHITECTS, INC. — Architectural and engineering services for schools. Decatur – 217/429-5105; Champaign – 217/3569606; Bloomington – 309/828-5025; Chicago – 312/829-1987 BRADLEY & BRADLEY — Architects, engineers, and asbestos consultants. Rockford – 815/968-9631; website: CANNONDESIGN — Architecture, Interiors, Engineering, Consulting. Chicago – 312/332-9600; website: ; email: CM ENGINEERING, INC. — Specializing in ultra efficient geo-exchange HVAC engineering solutions for schools, universities, and commercial facilities. Columbia, MO – 573/874-9455; website: CORDOGAN CLARK & ASSOCIATES — Architects and Engineers. Aurora – 630/896-4678; website: www.cordoganclark. com; email: rmont@cordogan DEWBERRY ARCHITECTS INC. — Architects, planners, landscape architecture, and engineers. Peoria – 309/282-8000; Elgin – 847/695-5840 DLA ARCHITECTS, LTD. — Architects specializing in preK-12 educational design, including a full range of architectural services; assessments, planning, feasibility studies, new construction, additions, remodeling, O&M and owner’s rep services. Itasca – 847/7424063; website:; email: DLR GROUP — Educational facility design and master planning. Chicago – 312/382-9980; website:; email: ERIKSSON ENGINEERING ASSOCIATES, LTD. — Consulting civil engineers and planners. Grayslake – 847/223-4804; Chicago – 312/463-0551; Mokena – 708/614-9720; website:; email:


HURST-ROSCHE, INC. — Architecture, engineering, planning, and interior design. Hillsboro – 217/532-3959; East St. Louis – 618/3980890; Marion – 618/998-0075; Springfield – 217/787-1199; email:

JMA ARCHITECTS — Full service professional design firm specializing in K-12 educational design, construction management, strategic/ master planning, health/life safety compliance, building commissioning, and interior space design. South Holland – 708/339-3900; website:; email: KLUBER ARCHITECTS + ENGINEERS — Building design professionals specializing in architecture, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, and fire protection engineers. Batavia – 630/406-1213 LARSON & DARBY GROUP — Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design, and Technology. Rockford – 815/484-0739, St. Charles – 630/444-2112; website:; email: snelson@ LEGAT ARCHITECTS, INC. — Architectural and educational planners who specialize in creating effective student learning environments. Gurnee – 847/662-3535; Oak Brook – 630/990-3535; Chicago – 312/258-9595; website: ; email: PCM+DESIGN ARCHITECTS — Provide a full range of architectural services including facility and feasibility studies, architectural design, construction consulting and related services. East Peoria – 309/694-5012 PERFORMANCE SERVICES, INC. — An integrated design and delivery engineering company serving the design and construction facility needs of K-12 schools. Schaumburg – 847/466-7220 PERKINS+WILL — Architects. Chicago – 312/755-0770 RICHARD L. JOHNSON ASSOCIATES, INC. — Architecture, educational planning. Rockford – 815/398-1231; website: RUCKPATE ARCHITECTURE — Architects, engineers, interior design. Barrington – 847/381-2946; website:; email: SARTI ARCHITECTURAL GROUP, INC. — Architecture, engineering, life safety consulting, interior design, and asbestos consultants. Springfield – 217/585-9111 STR PARTNERS — Architectural, interior design, planning, cost estimating, and building enclosure/roofing consulting. Chicago – 312/464-1444 TRIA ARCHITECTURE — An architectural planning and interior design firm that provides services primarily to School Districts in the Chicago-Land area with an emphasis on service to their clients, as well as their communities. Burr Ridge – 630/455-4500 WIGHT & COMPANY — An integrated services firm with solutions for the built environment. Darien – 630/696-7000; website:; email: WM. B. ITTNER, INC. — Full service architectural firm serving the educational community since 1899. Fairview Heights – 618/624-2080


WOLD ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS — Specializing in PreK-12 educational design including master planning, sustainable design, architecture, mechanical and electrical engineering, quality review, cost estimation and management. Palatine – 847/241-6100

Building Construction

RADON DETECTION SPECIALISTS — Commercial radon surveys. Westmont – 800/244-4242; website:; email:

Financial Services

CORE CONSTRUCTION — Professional construction management, design-build, and general contracting services. Morton – 309/2669768; website:

AMERICAN FIDELITY ASSURANCE COMPANY — Specializing in Section 125 compliance, 403(b) plan administration, flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, dependent audits, and health care reform. Fairview Heights – 855/822-9168

FREDERICK QUINN CORPORATION — Construction management and general contracting. Addison – 630/628-8500; website:

BERNARDI SECURITIES, INC. — Public finance consulting, bond issue services and referendum support. Fairview Heights – 618/2064180; Chicago - 312/281-2014; email:

HOLLAND CONSTRUCTION SERVICES, INC. — Full service Construction Management and General Contracting firm specializing in education facilities. Swansea – 618/277-8870

EHLERS & ASSOCIATES — School bond issues; referendum help; financial and enrollment studies. Chicago – 312/638-5250; website:; email:

PEPPER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY — Construction management and general contracting services. Barrington – 847/381-2760

FIRST MIDSTATE, INC. — Bond issue consultants. Bloomington – 309/829-3311; email:

POETTKER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY — Specializing in Construction Management, Design/Build, Construction Consulting Services, and Energy Solutions for education clients. Breese – 618/526-7213; website:

GORENZ AND ASSOCIATES, LTD. — Auditing and financial consulting. Peoria – 309/685-7621; website:; email:

ROSS CONSTRUCTION, INC. — A full-service construction management firm specializing in educational institutions. Marion – 618/993-5904 S.M. WILSON & CO. — Provides construction management and general construction services to education, healthcare, commercial, retail, and industrial clients. St. Louis, Mo – 314/645-9595; website:; email:

ICE MILLER, LLP — Nationally recognized bond counsel services. Chicago – 312/726-7127 KINGS FINANCIAL CONSULTING, INC. — Municipal bond financial advisory service including all types of school bonds; school referenda, county school sales tax; tax revenue forecasts/projections. Monticello – 217/762-4578

TRANE — HVAC company specializing in design, build, and retrofit. Willowbrook – 630/734-6033

MATHIESON, MOYSKI, AUSTIN & CO., LLP — Provides audit, consulting and other related financial services to Illinois school districts, joint agreements and risk pools. Wheaton – 630/653-1616

Environmental Services

SIKICH, LLP — Professional services firm specializing in accounting, technology, and advisory services. Naperville — 630/364-7953

ALPHA CONTROLS & SERVICES, LLC — Facility Management Systems, Automatic Temperature Controls, Access Control Systems, Energy Saving Solutions; Sales, Engineering, Installation, Commissioning and Service. Rockford, Springfield, Champaign: toll-free 866/ALPHA-01; website:; email: CTS GROUP — Dedicated to assisting K-12 education meet the challenge of providing healthy, safe, and educational appropriate learning environments. St. Louis, MO – 636/230-0843; Chicago – 773/633-0691; website:; email: rbennett@ ENERGY SYSTEMS GROUP — A comprehensive energy services and performance contracting company providing energy, facility and financial solutions. Itasca – 630/773-7201; email: smcivor@ GCA SERVICES GROUP – Custodial, janitorial, maintenance, lawn and grounds, and facility operations services. Downers Grove – 630/629-4044 GRP MECHANICAL CO., INC. — Renovating buildings through energy savings performance contracting to provide the best learning environment. HVAC, Plumbing, Windows, Doors, and Mechanical Services. Bethalto – 618/779-0050 HONEYWELL, INC. — Controls, maintenance, energy management, performance contracting, and security. St. Louis, MO – 314/548-4136; Des Plaines – 847/770-5496; Maryland Heights, MO – 314/548-4501; email:; IDEAL ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, INC. — Asbestos and environmental services. Bloomington – 309/828-4259 ILLINOIS ENERGY CONSORTIUM — Sells electricity and natural gas to school districts, colleges, and universities. Dekalb – 815/7539083; website:; email: OPTERRA ENERGY SERVICES — Turnkey partnership programs that enable K12 school districts in Illinois to modernize their facilities, increase safety, security and efficiency, reduce operations costs, and maximize the lifespan of critical assets. Chicago – 312/498-7792; email:

SPEER FINANCIAL, INC. — Financial planning and bond issue services. Chicago – 312/346-3700; website: www.speerfinancial. com; email: STIFEL — Full service securities firm providing investment banking and advisory services including strategic financial planning; bond underwriting; referendum and legislative assistance. Edwardsville – 800/230-5151; email: WILLIAM BLAIR & COMPANY — Bond issuance, financial advisory services. Chicago – 312/364-8955; email: WINTRUST FINANCIAL — Financial services holding company engaging in community banking, wealth management, commercial insurance premium financing, and mortgage origination. Rosemont – 630/560-2120

Human Resource Consulting

BUSHUE HUMAN RESOURCES, INC. — Human resource, safety and risk management, and insurance consulting. Effingham – 217/3423042; website:; email:


THE SANDNER GROUP — Insurance program management, marketing & claims services for workers' compensation, property & liability. Chicago – 800/654-9504

Office Equipment

FRANK COONEY COMPANY, INC. — Furniture for educational environments. Wood Dale – 630/694-8800

Superintendent Searches

ECRA Group & HYA — Superintendent searches, board and superintendent workshops. Schaumburg – 847/318-0072




Achievements Ann

County Martin

the Bat av ia Citi-

Briggs is retiring

Luther King Jr. cele-

zen of the Year on

from school board

bration. Underwood

January 27 by the

s er v ic e a f t er 41

and five neighbors,

Batavia Chamber

yea r s a s a mem-

all of whom lived in

o f C o m mer c e . A

ber of the McLean

an integrated subdi-

r e t i r e d t e a c h e r,

County Unit 5 Board of Education.

vision, received accolades for leading

Weiss has spent time in her retire-

She was first elected to the board in

the charge to get the Urbana school

ment organizing tours of local gar-

1976 and won in her next 10 elec-

board to take on the task of integrat-

dens to teach second graders about

tions. A homemaker for many years

ing schools. By 1966 the board had

nature and native plants. She has

and a certified nurse, Briggs came

agreed, at the urging of Underwood

also been actively digging in and

to Illinois in 1968 and settled in

and her neighbors, to integrate the

successfully recruiting assistance

Towanda. She joined a citizen advi-

schools, making Urbana one of the

to improve the Batavia Riverwalk

sory council when her son started

first districts statewide to institute

Wildflower Sanctuary and to pre-

kindergarten, from there won her

a desegregation program. The tran-

serve native species. Before moving

first board election. Briggs is also the

sition was rocky, Underwood said.

to Batavia, she was equally active in

district’s unofficial historian, orga-

Some families were split up, with

other capacities. She served as an

nizing her own records and those of

siblings sent to different schools, and

elected Kane County Board mem-

the district. Briggs was quoted in the

many individuals were not support-

ber for several years but left that

Bloomington Pantagraph as saying

ive. “It wasn’t perfect, but we bore the

board to run for the Aurora East

“My personal motto is, ‘Whatever

burden in hopes of bringing about

USD 131 Board of Education, where

is worth doing, is worth doing well.’

this important change,” Underwood

she served for four years. Mayor Jef-

That means putting everything into

said. By 1968, the schools were well

fery D. Schielke said, “This garden

it with the time you have.”

integrated, she said, and Underwood

[sanctuary] has caught the fancy of


Evelyn Underwood, a former

recalls she had even become the first

many visitors. The environmental

Urbana school board member, was

black person to serve on the Urbana

plantings speak to the history of the

honored as a desegregation pioneer

school board.

river and heritage; it is a message

of the 1960s. She received the hon-

Nancy Weiss, a former school

or on January 13 at the Champaign

board member, was honored as

other communities are emulating. Her ideas are contagious.”

In memoriam Elvin J. Ackerman, 88, died

High School District 156 Board of

Morris J. Blair, 90, died Decem-

December 4, 2016. He was a for-

Education from 1967 to 1979, and

ber 16, 2016. Blair previously served

mer school board member for the

on the Illinois Board of Governors

on the Stockton school board.

Flatville Grade School, and Rantoul

from 1980 to 1991.

Township High School districts.


Diane L. Bush i ng, 53, died

Frank Anselmo, 87, died Janu-

Januar y 20, 2017. She formerly

J a m e s L . A lt h o f f , S r., 87,

ary 30, 2017. He was a past member

served on the Nippersink District

died November 8, 2016. A lthoff

and president of the school board for

2 Board of Education.

formerly served on the McHenry

Coal City CUSD 1.

Continued on page 25



ICSA offers network for in-house counsel By Kimberly Small


uestion: How do IASB, ICSA

burning issues facing their client

Attorney Registration Disciplinary

support attorneys employed

school districts, and what they

Commission (ARDC) to present a

wanted to gain from the new ICSA

discussion entitled Ethical Issues

in-house counsel group.

for School Attorneys. The group

in-house by school districts? Answer: Established in 1987, the Illinois Council of School Attor-

The group’s second and third

held discussions hosted by meeting

neys (ICSA), an adjunct to the Illi-

meetings were held at the IASB Lom-

attendees on other contemporary

nois Association of School Boards, is

bard office last May and October. At

legal topics for the remainder of the

a group of 260- plus attorneys who

the May meeting, the IASB Office of

meeting. Topics covered included

practice throughout Illinois, repre-

General Counsel secured one hour of

student data privacy concerns and

senting hundreds of public school

free continuing legal education cred-

SB 100’s student discipline changes.


it for the group, inviting the Illinois

Continued on page 24

Kimberly Small is general counsel for the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Recently, ICSA responded to the requests of some members to establish a new in-house counsel subgroup. This is a group of attorneys who are employed by school districts. These positions are unique and often lonely, as many in-house counsel work alone. The new subgroup of ICSA is designed to provide them time to network, discuss common concerns, and build community. The f irst meeting wa s in November 2015, immediately after the annual ICSA Seminar. Opening remarks were given by ICSA chair Patti Whitten, a partner with Franczek Radelet, P.C. Rick Rettberg, chief legal officer for Peoria Public Schools (Peoria SD 150) led the first meeting by explaining his vision for the in-house group and his background and invited each participant to do the same. The group then discussed some of the

Top photo: Shelli L. Anderson from Franczek Radelet P.C., leads the group in a discussion about collective bargaining trends. Bottom photo: Miguel A. Rodriguez, Chief Legal Officer at School District U-46, leads the group in a discussion about policy.


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The Illinois School Board Journal, March/April 2017  

A bimonthly magazine for public school board members and administrators highlighting issues in education.

The Illinois School Board Journal, March/April 2017  

A bimonthly magazine for public school board members and administrators highlighting issues in education.