Issuu on Google+

LEGISLATIVE ISSUE / SPRING 2012

INDISPENSABLE TOOL for SCHOOL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

PENSION TENSION

36

School Consolidation TWO VIEWS

20 32

Who will SPEAK UP for your District? 24 Make your voice heard in school legislation

www.iasbo.org

| 1


your resources your conversations your solutions your network

5 easy ways to get connected... 1. SET UP YOUR PROFILE Click Edit My Settings next to your avatar to upload a profile picture , set up your Notifications and add links to your other social networks. 2. JOIN SOME GROUPS Click on Groups then on the

group’s page click Join Group. The Hot Topics group is a great place to start - this is currently the “hub” of conversation!

3. POST A DISCUSSION TOPIC Decide which group you’d like to post in, join the group (if you haven’t already) then ask away. To find this discussion later, you can click on My Discussions on the left menu. 4. BROWSE THE RESOURCE PAGE Click on Resources in the top navigation menu to find RFPs, legislative resources and more. You can share resources with the whole community on this page, or to a smaller audience within a group. 5. WATCH FOR DIGEST EMAILS Once you’ve joined

some groups and set up your notifications, you’ll started receiving email messages with new discussions going on. To reply, simply click on that discussion and you’ll be launched straight to that page!

peer2peer network 2 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

Log in to iasbo.org and click on the icon to be launched into peer2peer.


INSIDE

Illinois Association of School Business Officials Update Magazine / Spring 2012 / v.19 / i.03

LEGISLATIVE ISSUE

SPEAK UP! WHY THE VOICE OF YOUR DISTRICT MATTERS

24 24

Why The Voice of Your District Matters In light of the hot topics being addressed this legislative season, it is crucial for each school district to have their unique voice accounted for. Learn to build relationships that make you a “goto” resource for your legislators.

THE NEXT ISSUE: RISK MANAGEM ENT AND CASH MANAGEM ENT Protecting and preparing your school with proper risk & cash management.

Cover Story by Rebekah Weidner

Point of View: Walking a Fine Line: Pension Tension Pensions are on everyone’s mind as we approach the next General Assembly. Can the new solutions really resolve this long-standing issue? By Dave Urbanek

36

www.iasbo.org

| 3


PERSPECTIVE

ARTICLES

FROM-THE-PODIUM Legislation Can Begin With You:

Taking part in the process should be on your daily to-do list. 07 FROM-THE-OFFICE Be Prepared to Take an Interest:

The message is more powerful coming from you. 09 FROM-THE-FIELD The Greater the Difficulty, the More Glory in Surmounting it: Getting over

the “hump” means getting involved. 11 PATH-TO-SUCCESS Learning Leadership from Lincoln: Leadership Series digs into Lincoln’s traits and school success. 14

The Latest from the Education Funding Advisory Board EFAB awaits members for its next scheduled cycle. If reconvened this year, they will inherit a difficult history and some troublesome facts about General State Aid distribution. By James B. Fritts

SCHOOL BUSINESS 101

30

The Mechanics of School Consolidation

Legislative issues keeping members up at night: SB7, ROE’s, consolidation,

Strategies to consider when consolidation of districts becomes necessary, along with current reorganization options, procedures and incentives.

and more. 15

By William H. Phillips

BUSINESS PARTNERS Bringing 18 Key Players to One Table:

The Illinois Education Roundtable forms a united front. 16

32

FROM-THE-TABLE Backbone of Illinois ASBO: Survey

shows the strengths of Professional Development Committees. 17 ACROSS-THE-GLOBE Terrie Simmons Hits the Campaign Trail: How this VP candidate brings

Illinois’ voice to ASBO Int’l. 18

Classrooms First Commission: No Cookie Cutter Approach Established as a result of legislation in the spring 2011 legislative session, the Classrooms First Commission is looking for ways to make students and classrooms a key factor in the consolidation equation. By Lynne Haeffele

4 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

20


RESOURCES

ON MY LIST

NAVIGATING THE ISSUES TOGETHER: ILLINOIS ASBO DELEGATE ADVISORY ASSEMBLY Illinois school districts are constantly feeling the impact of what happens in the Legislature. Through the Delegate Advisory Assembly, policy-related problems and issues of Illinois ASBO members are given a platform and direction… in some cases all the way to the State Capital.

A New Lens on Lincoln:

Relationships with former opponents reveal a wise approach to team building.

40

By Rebekah Weidner

THE FINAL WORD Great Ideas from Great Illinois ASBO Members

43 ON TOPIC Advocacy tools, your Lincoln booklist and more.

44

Eric Trimberger

Asst. Supt./Finance & Operations Ridgeland SD 122 As a school leader, Eric’s role is to assure the community that their resources are providing the best possible services for their children. He believes action is needed to increase revenues for the State to balance the budget and restore cuts to education funding. Elected officials need to stop blaming each other and work together to provide real solutions to Illinois’s fiscal crisis.

46

ON A visit to Cal’s Corner to learn about school legislation.

45

www.iasbo.org

| 5


COMING SPRING SEMINARS For full seminar listings including location and PDC sponsorship, check the current Calendar of Events that was included with UPDATE or visit www.iasbo.org and register for professional development today.

eDition: spRing 2012

THE

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

MAGA ZINE Illinois Association of School Business Officials Northern Illinois University, IA-103 108 Carroll Avenue DeKalb, IL 60115-2829 P: 815.753.1276 / F: 815.753.9367 / www.iasbo.org

Update Editorial Advisory Board PDC COORDINATOR MEMBERS RegistRation Registering for any Illinois ASBO event is easy. Visit www.iasbo.org, and select Events. Then select either online registration or the faxable pdf document (when available). Be sure to fax your registration to 815.516.0184. If there are any questions about registering, please contact Nicole Lee at 815.753.9305.

UPCOMING March 6, 2012 March 9, 2012 March 12, 2012 March 13, 2012 March 13, 2012 March 14, 2012 March 15, 2012 March 15, 2012 March 22, 2012 April 10, 2012 April 12, 2012 April 18, 2012 April 19, 2012 April 20, 2012 May 3, 2012 May 10, 2012 May 16, 2012 July 10, 2012

6 |

Richard A. Lesniak, Ancillary Services Kristopher P. Monn, Educational Enterprise Grant L. Sabo, Facility Management Cathy Johnson, Financial Resource Management Shelia Peckler, Human Resource Management

Energy Saving, Sustainability, LEED DoubleTree Guest Suites & Conference Center; Downers Grove, IL 14th Annual Risk Management Seminar - AAC #442 DoubleTree Guest Suites & Conference Center; Downers Grove, IL Leadership Series: Assessing and Building Trust DoubleTree Guest Suites & Conference Center; Downers Grove, IL Building Systems: HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing and Technology DoubleTree Guest Suites & Conference Center; Downers Grove, IL ISDLAF+ User Group Seminar NIU Naperville Campus; Naperville, IL ISDLAF+ User Group Seminar Embassy Suites East Peoria; East Peoria, IL Energy Saving, Sustainability, LEED Capital Area Career Center; Springfield, IL ISDLAF+ User Group Seminar Hilton Garden Inn; O'Fallon, IL Educational Facility Design, Renovation & Construction Capital Area Career Center; Springfield, IL AM:Custodial Operations and/or PM: Maintenance Operations DoubleTree Guest Suites & Conference Center; Downers Grove, IL Building Systems: HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing & Technology Capital Area Career Center; Springfield, IL IASA Annual Conference Crowne Plaza Hotel; Springfield, IL Budget & Financial Projections Capital Area Career Center; Springfield, IL Bookkeepers' Conference DoubleTree Guest Suites & Conference Center; Downers Grove, IL Ten Things You Need to Know as a Service Associate to Get the Most Out of Your Membership Location TBD - Schaumburg area AM: Custodial Operations and/or PM: Maintenance Operations Capital Area Career Center; Springfield, IL Illinois ASBO 61st Annual Conference Peoria Civic Center; Peoria, IL Leadership Series: Managing The Change Process DoubleTree Guest Suites & Conference Center; Downers Grove, IL

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

Robert J. Ciserella, Information Management Amy McPartlin, Materials & Services Management Paul A. O'Malley, Sustainability

BOARD & EXTERNAL RELATION MEMBERS Mark E. Staehlin, President Elect Aimee L. Briles, SAAC Vice Chair

AT-LARGE MEMBERS Angie Peifer, Illinois Association of School Boards Rich Voltz, Illinois Association of School Administrators

STAFF MEMBERS Michael A. Jacoby, Executive Director

815.753.9366, mjacoby@iasbo.org Susan P. Bertrand, Assistant Executive Director

815.753.9368, sbertrand@iasbo.org Angela D. Lehman, Communications Coordinator 815.753.9371, alehman@iasbo.org Rebekah L. Weidner, Staff Writer/Editor 815.753.9270, rweidner@iasbo.org Brett M. Olson, Designer/ Editor 815.753.7654, bolson@iasbo.org Tammy A. Curry, Designer/ Editor 815.753.9393, tcurry@iasbo.org

Illinois ASBO Board of Directors Richard A. Lesniak, President Mark E. Staehlin, President-Elect Hillarie J. Siena, Treasurer Garrick C. Grizaffi, Immediate Past President 2009–12 Board Directors

Dennis Burnett, Nelson W. Gray, Raymond P. Negrete 2010–13 Board Directors

Susan L. Harkin, Beth L. Millard, Curtis J. Saindon 2011–14 Board Directors

David Bein, Jennifer J. Hermes, Glayn C. Worrell

Illinois ASBO Board Liaisons Dwain A. Lutzow, AIA, Service Associate

Advisory Committee Chairperson Aimee L. Briles, Service Associate Advisory Committee Vice Chair Terrie S. Simmons, ASBO International Liaison Gil Morrison, Regional Office of Education Liaison Debby I. Vespa, ISBE Board Liaison Dean M. Langdon, IASB Board Liaison

Privacy Policy All materials contained within this publication are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, displayed or published without the prior written permission of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. References, authorship or information provided by parties other than that which is owned by the Illinois Association of School Business Officials are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.


PERSPECTIVE / Board President

FROM-THE-PODIUM Legislation Can Begin With You Many years ago when I was appointed to my first school business position, I dealt very little with legislative issues. In those days, the Superintendent was usually the school district liaison who worked with the local and state legislators. The Superintendent would consult the Business Manager but that was the extent of our involvement. Those days are long gone. If you are a school administrator who shies away from the activities in Springfield, you need to change your focus and add this to your daily job responsibilities. Our State Legislature is more active than ever before, including legislation that frequently is not in the best interest of public education. I often feel secure only when Springfield is not in session. This is not to imply that our legislators are bad people. They are people with very difficult jobs who generally have the best of intentions for the people of Illinois.

Richard A. Lesniak DIR./BUSINESS SERVICES LOCKPORT TWP. HSD 205

SIMPLY SAYING

It is our responsibility to work with our legislators because we represent a very large segment of the population not old enough to vote, our students. There are many things that you can do. Start with a general introductory meeting with your State Senators and Representatives. Let them know that you are available to share your expertise on how pending bills will affect your school district. Don’t wait for a bill having negative repercussions for your school district to make that initial contact. As part of your daily reading, track and act on bills as they are introduced, as they travel through committees and through the legislative branches. Our own Illinois ASBO Delegate Advisory Assembly can help you, but you to need to work with your regional lobbyist and elected officials as well. Personal letters, emails, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings are very effective tools you can use to communicate with elected officials. And on the bills with the biggest impact, testimony at the Capital Building is not only helpful, but often necessary and appreciated.

This issue of UPDATE will help you work through and understand the legislative process. Our involvement, both as a group and as individuals, is of the utmost importance. I often hear our elected officials comment on how they represent the needs of the voters. It is our responsibility to work with our legislators because we represent a very large segment of the population not old enough to vote, our students. Our Senators and Representatives need to be reminded that they represent that population as well.

www.iasbo.org

| 7


Did you know... Illinois ASBO’s Executive Director serves on 13 committees, commissions, boards or work groups that address education related issues in Illinois... Streamlining Illinois’ Regional Offices of Education Commission “Classrooms First” - School District Realignment & Consolidation Commission State Charter School Commission ISBE Education Stakeholders IASA Board of Directors (Liaison) Dialogue Group Education Caucus Illinois Education Round Table (ILERT) Alliance Executive Directors Illinois Energy Consortium Illinois School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus Affiliate Executive Director Group P-20 Council School Report Card Task Force

…keeping the voice of Illinois ASBO at the legislative table. Illinois Association of School Business Officials 8 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

Partner with Illinois ASBO in the legislative process Article on p. 24


PERSPECTIVE / Executive Director

FROM-THE-OFFICE “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!” — Pericles (430 B.C.) Pericles was right! And the Illinois Legislature is extremely interested in you! Especially if you are associated with a school district, in a pension system, have local property values, transport children to school or evaluate staff. Michael A. Jacoby SIMPLY SAYING

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ILLINOIS ASBO

It is extremely important that all school leaders have a working relationship with legislators where trust and communication is always being built… These are just some of the issues that have occupied legislators in 2011. In fact, most of these issues are not completely settled, so they will also occupy legislators in 2012. For members of Illinois ASBO the question is, “Do you take an interest?” If you do – this issue of UPDATE is designed to help you manage that interest and to become active in the legislative/policy arena. If you don’t – this issue may open your eyes to the importance of adopting appropriate concern and call you to action. Through the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance, comprised of Illinois ASBO, IASA, IPA and IASB, you have advocates that are always present in Springfield. But as our legislative liaisons engage with legislators and attempt to convey the impact particular bills will have on schools, they know the message is much more powerful when it comes from you. This past year we saw the power of that engagement when so many of you contacted your legislators and helped us defeat a proposed cap on tax levies for PTELL districts where aggregate property values have decreased.

I trust that if you are one of those who made contact with your legislator, it was not the first time. It is extremely important that all school leaders have a working relationship with legislators where trust and communication is always being built, so when need arises to rally support or opposition on a particular policy issue, the groundwork of relationship is already in place. Several of the articles in this issue will focus on some of the primary policy issues that are currently under discussion in our state. This includes issues such as consolidation and the corresponding work of the Classrooms First Commission. In addition, you will read about the best way to engage with your legislators and the best way for you, as an Illinois ASBO member, to engage with the Association as we work diligently to establish an ongoing and sound policy agenda through the Delegate Advisory Assembly (DAA). Please avail yourself of this vital information and be prepared to “take an interest” in 2012.

www.iasbo.org

| 9


GAINS is all about what you have to gain when you get more involved

in Illinois ASBO as a Service Associate member. Your involvement is earning you points toward valuable rewards, as you shape beneficial relationships with school districts.

See where you stand

We’ve begun tracking your participation points as of July 1, 2011 — See where you stand on the Leaderboard posted in the GAINS Group on the peer2peer Network, and start planning how you’ll make your move to the top! Find the complete GAINS Rules, including point-earning platforms at: www.iasbo.org/GAINS

10 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012


PERSPECTIVE / SAAC Chair

FROM-THE-FIELD The Greater the Difficulty, the More Glory in Surmounting it One might think that the ins and outs of the political process are best left to the pros, the legislative liaisons and lobbyists, but are they really? These valued individuals have often spent many years gaining the trust and providing assistance to our State legislators and the process by which we work toward the betterment of our schools and communities. However, most legislators truly rely on their grassroots support to get elected and to vote for the public good. Most often they would much rather hear from their constituents regarding their true feelings and concerns on issues that affect their schools, homes and families. To get involved in the legislative process takes a bit of courage to get over the hump, if you will. But once you make the commitment it can be very rewarding.

Dwain A. Lutzow, AIA CEO DLA ARCHITECTS, LTD.

SIMPLY SAYING

To get involved in the legislative process takes a bit of courage... But once you make the commitment it can be very rewarding. Get to know your legislators and work to become comfortable in sharing ideas and concerns. My own experience on the School Code Task Force started with an innocent visit to the State Capital, fulfilling my commitment to get to know a friend and new legislator. In trying to understand what she did, I planned on visiting a committee hearing that was already in progress. However, what I found was an issue that I was passionate about, and unexpectedly coming to a committee vote that day. Within minutes of my arrival I was personally involved, giving public testimony at legislative hearing. Intimidating yes — rewarding much more so.

in the know. However the compromise was worked out by the grassroots support of many, rolling up our sleeves in a legislative task force, over many days and months of negotiations. It took time, but ultimately the School Code Task Force worked out a process that gives clear direction on school building code issues and is for the betterment of all schools across the State. There is no question that it easier to stand by the sidelines and allow the professional legislative liaison do their magic. The fact is that we all can assist to make their efforts more successful by participating, ultimately getting more for our schools, our students and our communities.

The result of that day, while not totally satisfactory to my position for our schools, evolved into a legislative process that was orchestrated by those

www.iasbo.org

| 11


CONTRIBUTORS

James B. Fritts

Lynne Haeffele

William H. Phillips

Adjunct Professor Northeastern Illinois University

Sr. Policy Director for Education Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Educational Leadership Program, University of Illinois at Springfield

Teaches courses in school administration. A retired business official, he calls on his own experiences as well as sources with expertise in virtually all aspects of school business to provide direction and insight. jimfritts@aol.com

Senior Policy Director for Education in the office of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon. Experience in university research, state agency management, and high school teaching.

Is a retired superintendent in Illinois with thirty-four years of service. A specialist in School Finance and School District Reorganization, he has completed forty-eight scale feasibility studies for over a hundred Illinois School Districts. phillips.william@uis.edu

Lynne.Haeffele@Illinois.gov

Would you like to be an UPDATE Contributor?

David Urbanek

Rebekah L. Weidner

Public Information Officer Teachers’ Retirement System

Staff Writer/Editor Illinois ASBO

Is the agency’s first line of contact with news organizations from around the world, including mainstream media, financial press as well as TRS members and the public. He oversees communications for external and internal distribution. durbanek@trs.illinois.gov

With a background in advertising and communications, has collaborated with school business officials for the past year as a contributing author for the UPDATE. Supports the marketing efforts of Illinois ASBO across multiple platforms.

12 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012 2012

rweidner@iasbo.org

Contributions to the UPDATE Magazine are solicited periodically to enhance the content of the Magazine. If you have an issue that you feel needs to be brought to the forefront, present your article ideas to Angie Lehman at alehman@iasbo.org We look forward to seeing new faces on this page as we continue to make the UPDATE an indispensable resource for school business management.


Did you know... The Illinois ASBO Delegate Advisory Assembly has collaborated with IASA and IASB on over 70 position statements in its nine year history

‌forming a united front to educate legislators on their decisions.

Illinois Association of School Business Officials

Learn More on how the DAA guides legislation Article on p. | 1340 www.iasbo.org


PERSPECTIVE / Illinois ASBO Leadership Series

PATH-TO-SUCCESS LEARNING LEADERSHIP FROM LINCOLN If leadership means influence, then what better way to learn it than sit at the feet of one of America’s most influential leaders? At the inaugural seminar of the new Illinois ASBO Leadership Series, school leaders took a closer look at the life of Abraham Lincoln – from his presidential campaign to his untimely death – to gain some important insights on how to be better leaders in their districts. The seminar addressed the first three chapters of Learning from Lincoln: Leadership Practices for School Success by Harvey Alvy and Pam Robbins, focused on implementing a mission and vision, effective communication and building a diverse and competent team.

As leadership is often an intangible quality, using the tangible and iconic example of Abraham Lincoln proved an inspiring new approach to leadership development. As one attendee put it, “Who would have known that implementing all his practices would lead to school success?” Watch for the next two seminars in the Leadership Series and register online at www.iasbo.org/events March 12, 2012: Assessing and Building Trust: A primary Skill for Leaders July 10, 2012: Managing the Change Process

Find more good reads for your Lincoln Library: pg 44.

Implementing Lincoln’s vision From his inaugural address to his famous “With Malice Toward None” speech, Lincoln had a clear vision for America: a vision of equality and democracy. He never swayed in his drive to preserve the Union, and his vision grew and developed into the country we live in today. Drawing from his example, participants were asked a key question: “What do I want to perpetuate in my school(s), not only today but for all time?” They were given time to reflect on what story they would like told in their district, and what bold actions they planned to take to make this a reality. Learning to Communicate from the “Great Communicator” Lincoln delivered his speeches in a clear and concise manner that anyone could understand, without diminishing the meaning. This, too, is a quality school district leaders can learn from Lincoln. Participants also explored his wise and somewhat controversial team building strategies (See On My List, pg. 43).

14 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

From top left: Jennifer Hermes participates in a reflection exercise; Attendees share during a small group discussion; From bottom left: Notecards shared by Renee Davis' 4th grade Lincoln Elementry class; Attendees pose for the camera during a group activity.


PERSPECTIVE / On the Profession

SCHOOL BUSINESS 101 What legislative issues are keeping you up at night and how is your district preparing now? David Hill

ASST. SUPT. FOR BUSINESS SERVICES, COMM. CONS. SCH. DIST. 93

Have a question or issue that needs to be addressed by School Business 101? Submit your ideas or questions to Rebekah Weidner at rweidner@iasbo.org

A: I am concerned about Senate Bill 7 and how this will effect, not only teacher evaluations but also upcoming teacher negotiations. Our District has created a compensation committee and have begun discussion with our bargaining group about many topics including bumping, seniority and the required four classifications. I am also concerned about the pending consolidation legislation and how it will affect student achievement. Our District is continuously communicating with our Board regarding the progress of the consolidation movement. Thomas Campeggio

DIR./FINANCE, KANE COUNTY ROE

A: The main issue I have that is concerning me is whether the Governor and the legislature will eventually win out and eliminate the Regional Offices of Education. This is my job, and we do so much for the school districts. If the legislature has its way and forces the CPPRT to pay for my boss’s salary, how long will this last and is the next step to close all ROE’s? Gary Stanley

CHAIRMAN/FACILITIES DESIGNATION PROGRAM, IASBO M&O COMMITTEE

Want to add to the discussion? Add your response in the Hot Topics Group within peer2peer Network. Then, watch for the next School Business 101 discussion for a chance to be featured in the next UPDATE Magazine.

A: Speaking for facilities, lack of legislature is the issue… the funding for maintenance and operations, new construction, Life Safety funds, and tax caps. These are very major issues.

Erik Bush

BUSINESS MANAGER, MCLEAN CUSD 5

A: I’d like to see a thoughtful analysis of the potential impact of legislation to end the teachers’ ability to strike. Placing individual benefit (teachers) before public good (taxpayers) is contrary to the nature of public service. Intra-topics could be binding interest arbitration, rules of impasse, and/or the effect of statutory leverage afforded the union.

www.iasbo.org

| 15


PERSPECTIVE / Illinois Education Roundtable

BUSINESS PARTNERS BRINGING 18 KEY PLAYERS TO ONE TABLE Coming to a consensus on key decisions for Illinois public schools is not always easy, but bringing everyone to the table discuss the issues is critical. The mission of the Illinois Education Roundtable (ILERT) is to provide a unified voice for the many educational organizations advocating for excellence. Who’s at the Table? Consisting of 18 school leadership associations, including all four Statewide School Management Alliance associations and Illinois ASBO Executive Director Michael A. Jacoby, ILERT actively studies and makes recommendations on critical public policy issues.

The Roundtable represents: • • • • •

870 School districts 6,104 board members More than 7,000 professional leaders More than 230,000 teachers and other school personnel 2.1 million students

What is Served to Illinois Districts All these powers combined bring a powerful voice to legislative advocacy, as each organization uses this information to substantiate its own positions in Springfield. As Erika Lindley, Executive Director of ED-RED and the current ILERT Chair asserts, “There is no question that ILERT has strengthened relationships between our individual organizations and improved our experiences at the negotiation table.”

16 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

Lindley sees the value of having this additional avenue to collaborate, share resources and find common ground. “While many of us work together on legislative initiatives, professional development opportunities and communication strategies, our organizations did not have a opportunity to gather together and discuss big picture issues outside of the Statehouse – ILERT allows us to do this on a regular basis.” Next on the Agenda As several ILERT organizations were involved in the development of last year’s education reform package (SB7), this spring ILERT will host an event for members of the General Assembly and legislative staff to help them understand how districts are working to successfully implement the changes. As all the represented organizations also have a stake in the pension reform and state budget discussions, ILERT will continue to be a forum to talk about these critical issues.

FIND OUT MORE AT: WWW.ILERT.ORG


PERSPECTIVE / Professional Development Committees

FROM-THE-TABLE

Backbone of Illinois ASBO:

Professional Development Committees The human backbone (spine) is a framework that allows the body to stand upright and experience a wide range of dynamic movement and function. If you’ve ever attended the Annual Conference or other professional development offerings of Illinois ASBO, you’ve seen the dynamic movement that comes from sharing information and ideas. At the core of this, is the work of Professional Development Committees (PDC’s). Last July, we asked PDC members and non-PDC members to give their reasons for taking part (or not taking part). The results of this survey reveal the strength of these core groups and opportunities to make Illinois ASBO even more dynamic. PDC Members support themselves and others. The two main reasons that surveyed PDC members participate are: • To serve other Illinois ASBO members – 60% • For their own professional development – 19% The benefits of participation are wide ranging, according to members. They gain: “Networking and direct exposure to information that helps me in my job” “Getting to know other business managers and building a stronger network”

When asked how likely they were to recommend participation to others, a resounding 93 percent were very likely (with a rating of 8 to 10 on a 10 point scale). There is an opportunity to strengthen our backbone. If PDC participation has so many important benefits, why don’t more people join in? Non-PDC members surveyed cited their main reasons: • 33% didn’t know they could participate or why they should. • 12% said they couldn’t take the time out of the office. • 46% cited other reasons, including the financial constraints of travel from downstate and a lack on information on how to take part. There is an opportunity for PDCs to grow in strength and numbers by continuing to bring them to the forefront and emphasizing that anyone is welcome to bring their expertise. Increased use of the peer2peer Network will allow downstate members to play a more active role in the collaboration. The bottom line? As part of organization built on providing professional development, taking part in a PDC is a proven way to help yourself and others members stand upright.

“Excellent collaboration time and keeping up to date on issues” “Being able to provide professional development to other members” “The ability to continue to invest in myself”

www.iasbo.org

| 17


ACROSS-THE-GLOBE

TERRIESIM Terrie Simmons Candidate for ASBO International VP

I

n November, the Illinois ASBO Board of Directors Board gave their official endorsement to Illinois ASBO Past President Terrie Simmons, who will be on the ballot in September for Vice President of ASBO International. Illinois ASBO is currently the largest voting ASBO affiliate — making this an excellent opportunity to get our voice heard beyond Illinois. By supporting candidates like Terrie, we have the opportunity to take part in creating school funding solutions on a national and even global level. Read through Terrie’s resume and vision statement… and prepare to cast your vote in September!

Terrie’s Service Illinois ASBO • ASBO Liaison 2010-present

• • • •

• • •

Past President 2008-present Officer 2004 -2008 Director 2001-2004 Past Chair, Budgeting & Financial Projecting and Cash Management Professional Development Committees Member, Technology, School Finance, and Accounting Committees Northwest Suburban and North Shore Elementary Regionals Member since 1993

ASBO International • Director 2010-2012

• • • • • • • •

Board Liaison for School Finance and Legal Aspects Committees International Board Representative Taskforce ELF/Leadership Conference attended each year 2004-2012 ASBO Annual Conference & Exhibits attended 15 of the last 17 MBA Advisory Committee Vice Chair By-Laws Committee Meritorious Budget Award Reviewer Eagle Institute


MONS Terrie’s Travels With the support of the Illinois ASBO Board of Directors, Terrie will be touring the nation this year to advocate her candidacy. Her upcoming travels to ASBO Affiliate Conferences include: Pennsylvania ASBO: March 6-9 Missouri ASBO: April 25-27 Indiana ASBO: May 9-11 New York ASBO: June 3-6

Terrie’s Vision ASBO is the most valuable link to access expert advice for and from

school business administrators around the globe. Our members world-wide desire a reputable, reliable association we can depend on to provide professional development to expand the knowledge, competency, proficiency and leadership skills of school business officials.

ASBO will focus on developing our future leaders and retaining membership. Recognizing external forces demand changes in the profession constantly, ASBO will remain committed to ethical standards, professional integrity and accountability while implementing changes in our member services for the next generations. ASBO is and will continue to be the premier source of accurate information on federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting the school business profession. ASBO will work closely with the US Department of Education and other professional associations to formulate effective solutions to school funding and reporting requirements. International representation within the membership will be a focus as ASBO members collaborate to provide best practices in school business management for 21st century learning environments. How You Can Support Terrie: Three Easy Steps 1. Make sure your ASBO International Membership is current 2. Stay tuned for voting info for the September 2012 election 3. When the time comes, cast your vote electronically! www.iasbo.org www.iasbo.org

| 19


CLASSROOMS FIRST COMMISSION : No Cookie Cutter Approach

20 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012


ARTICLE

By Lynne Haeffele SR. POLICY DIRECTOR FOR EDUCATION, OFFICE OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

As the state of Illinois continues to trim its budget, policymakers are looking everywhere for efficiencies. In proposing his budget for FY2012, Governor Pat Quinn recommended consolidating schools districts, with the goal of reducing the state’s 868 districts to 300. The Spring 2011 legislative session produced legislation, HB 1216, sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) that established a School District Realignment and Consolidation Commission to study the issue (now Public Act 97-0530). Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, who serves as chair, has shortened the name of the panel to the “Classrooms First Commission” to place emphasis on its two overarching goals: improving student learning opportunities and seeking operational efficiencies. Simon immediately made clear that the group would actively seek public input and would be open to creative ideas. “The transparent process guiding this diverse Commission will allow us to build on ideas and expertise from different communities,” Simon said. “Together, we will find ways to put students and classrooms first.” The law charges the Commission to make recommendations in several areas: reducing duplication of effort, improving student educational opportunities, lowering property tax burdens, the savings and/or costs of district realignment and advising districts on realignment options. Commission members represent key educational organizations as well as rural and suburban districts. Illinois ASBO is represented by Executive Director Dr. Michael A. Jacoby and Vickie L. Nissen, Asst. Supt./Finance, DuPage County SD 45. The three-stage process emphasizes public participation. The Commission must report to the Governor and General Assembly by July 1, 2012 with a set of legislative recommendations to fulfill its charge. To meet that schedule, the Commission has divided its work into three stages: gathering research and public input (September-December 2011), in-depth work groups drafting recommendations (January-March 2012) and public comment/final report and recommendations (April-June 2012).

The first stage was completed on schedule in December. The Commission members studied in-district efficiencies, shared services, and district reorganization at its regular meetings in Springfield. Commission members also went on the road, holding public hearings in Carterville, Normal, Moline and Des Plaines. Nearly 400 individuals attended the hearings and 79 people provided oral testimony. “These hearings are all about the Commission keeping an open mind and gathering ideas on efficiencies that promote what is best for students,” Simon said. “There is no cookie cutter approach to improving student learning and district efficiency, which is why it is so crucial to get input from as many citizens as possible from across Illinois.” Also in the fall, the Lt. Governor’s office launched the Commission's website, providing a one-stop locale for information about the Commission, realignment and efficiency research, relevant Illinois school district data, and additional opportunities for public comment through an online survey. The public survey allowed the Commission to collect ideas for improving learning opportunities and creating efficiencies from nearly every county in the state. By the time the survey closed in early December, over 400 submissions had been made. Illinois ASBO also conducted a school district survey during the fall, collecting information from districts regarding their use of shared services. This survey not only provided valuable data to the Commission, but also served to pilot a process for districts to report shared services data to the State Board of Education, as required by P.A. 97-0357 beginning in 2012.

www.iasbo.org

| 21


The Commission’s draft recommendations will be released in March 2012, with public hearings and public comment to follow in April through mid-May. Commission members are using the research and public input they have gathered to inform deliberations as they form in-depth work groups to draft recommendations in the second stage of their work. In the third stage, the public will again have numerous opportunities to comment, this time on the draft recommendations.

Research Anchors Deliberations While many people hold strong opinions, perceptions and beliefs about school district efficiency, the Commission is focusing primarily on fact-finding, research, and practical examples of effective practices to guide its deliberations. The members have studied some key research findings:

• After adjusting for regional cost differences,

some districts get better student outcomes with fewer resources than other similar districts;

• Districts with comparatively high performance

and lower spending can be large or small, rural or urban, high or low poverty;

• Shared services have the potential to direct more resources to the classroom; many models exist and continue to emerge for effective shared services, both educational and operational;

• The practice of school districts sharing services with the broader community is becoming more prevalent; and

• Broadband access and cloud computing

have the potential to improve educational opportunities and save districts significant costs.

22 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

Commission members also reviewed data specific to Illinois school districts:

• Adjusting for inflation, teacher and

administrator salaries have declined 6-8% in the past 10 years;

Instructional spending has remained steady at about 60% of operating expenditure over the past 13 years;

• The state has more elementary and high school districts (combined) than unit districts;

• District size ranges from over 400,000

(Chicago Public Schools) to 31 (Nelson Public SD 8 in Lee County);

• Of all districts, 28% serve under 500

students, at least 10 reorganization feasibility studies are currently underway; and

• Even for districts ready and willing to

consolidate, current state incentives, construction funds, and transportation funds are often insufficient to fully offset the local costs of some realignments (such as salary equalization, the need to refurbish or build new high schools, and increased transportation costs).


Looking Ahead The Commission’s draft recommendations will be released in March 2012, with public hearings and public comment to follow in April through mid-May. During June, members will refine the recommendations and prepare the final report for submission. Commission members expect that the report and recommendations will address not only formal district realignment and in-district streamlining, but also will have a strong focus on creating and supporting opportunities for “virtual consolidation” through high-quality shared services. Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance

members (Illinois ASBO, IASA, IASB, and IPA) have already pooled their listings of shared service resources offered to districts. Some Regional Offices of Education (ROEs) have taken on the role of coordinating not only their own mandated services, but also those of their regions’ special education cooperatives and Education for Employment services. Some community colleges have partnered with school districts in their regions to create shared educational opportunities, including dual credit and career preparation. The Commission will consider ways that the state can enable these types of collaboration with their ensuing educational and operational benefits to become the norm.

Lieutenent Governor Shelia Simon is featured in the images on this page. Ms. Simon's office has posted Commission information and an array of available research and resources on the Classrooms First Commission website: www.ltgov.il.gov

www.iasbo.org

| 23


SPEAK U

WHY THE VOICE OF YOUR

24 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012


COVER STORY

P!

By Rebekah L. Weidner STAFF WRITER/EDITOR ILLINOIS ASBO

DISTRICT MATTERS

BE HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR I n the Veto Session this past October, Illinois ASBO members were asked to reach out to their Legislators regarding House Bill 3793, which would have resulted in an automatic 0% tax cap if the EAV of any unit of government declined from one year to the next. The help of the Illlinois Statewide School Management Alliance and individual testimonies led to the successful defeat of the bill.

Taking a look at the bigger picture — in light of the condition of state funding in Illinois and the hot topics being addressed this legislative season in Springfield — our Legislators are still carrying many heavy items on their plate. In Springfield, public policies are made every day that affect school districts: from a mandate standpoint, finance standpoint and policy reform standpoints.

www.iasbo.org www.iasbo.org

|| 25 25


IN ALL OF THIS, YOUR DISTRICT HAS A UNIQUE VOICE. As demonstrated by the defeat of HB 3793, your expertise can make a difference as you help legislators understand the impact of each decision on their constituents. State Representative of District 109 and Superintendent at Hutsonville CUSD 1, Roger Eddy asserts that “School district personnel are the experts, and without them we can make a lot of mistakes.” As a citizen of your district and a representative of a key group of constituents, your voice is one they want and need to hear. And your voice will often hold more weight than a union lobbyist or Alliance liaison. But how do you build the kind of relationship that makes you a legislator’s “go-to resource” when a bill hits the floor? What kind of information is helpful and when and how do you send it? Conversations with two of our honorable State Representatives help clarify these questions and bring to light some other important considerations.

ESTABLISH A GOOD RELATIONSHIP IN THE “OFF SEASON”

KNOW THE RULES The Senate and House Rules are adopted and published at the beginning of each General Assembly and will prove useful to help you understand the lawmaking process. Find them online:

• Senate Rules: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/rules.asp • House Rules: http://www.ilga.gov/house/rules.asp

While you’re there, check out the House and Senate calendars so you can be prepared to track the action. MORE RESOURCES ON PG. 44

26 |

Update Magazine / Winter Spring 2012 2011

Roger Eddy offers a unique perspective as both a school district administrator and legislator, and he believes that in-person meetings are an important part of this relationship. He encourages school district staff not to be intimidated by this idea, as legislators are “just people and they need you.” The best time to start building this relationship is during breaks in the legislative season, between June and October. This can start with simply sending an email or calling them in their district office, introducing yourself and asking for an appointment. The goal of this meeting is to open the lines of communication by getting to know each other better and letting them know your viewpoints. Or, ask if they are hosting any upcoming events where you could come meet them. Inviting your legislators to visit you in your district is also a good idea. An informational meeting

after school or a breakfast with teachers, parents, board and community members provides a nice platform to discuss education related issues, and it is more efficient for the legislator to talk to a number of people at one time. Eddy emphasizes that this is not a forum for discussing social issues or election campaigning but to “keep it to education issues while representing education.” Bob Pritchard is the Illinois State Representative for the 70th District and serves on all four education committees. He adds that building the relationship within the district is most efficient because in Springfield, you never quite know what the schedule is going to be. You may have two minutes to speak when you traveled a long way to get there. This is not the best way to start a relationship.


ARTICLE

KNOW YOUR ISSUE AND THE PROCESS Once a relationship is established, you can build onto that relationship with your thinking on key issues. In doing this, a clear understanding of your issue and the legislative process are essential. This takes a little more research — understanding the pros and cons of a piece of legislation and why. However, a justified position supported by facts rather than a simple “we are in favor or opposed” can indeed influence a legislator’s decision. As Representative Pritchard put it: “A lot of us are really trying to research the issues and be informed. We don’t all have prescribed agendas, which means that if another side presents a strong argument, I may change my vote.” Pritchard asserts that being one amongst a slew of form letters or generic emails is not an effective way to get your viewpoint across. Although it is helpful to know an organization’s stance, what is really helpful is a personal note that describes in one or two sentences what specific impact a bill will have on a person or school district. Representative Eddy adds, that specific information about the structure of your district and how that factors in helps. For example, if he knows he has all flat grant districts in his district, he will make legislative decisions differently. Understanding the process and where the bill currently stands is also helpful – as bills can go through multiple hearings and committees before reaching the Senate or House floor for vote. Track the status of a bill on ilga.gov and take where the bill currently stands in consideration when you engage.

LOBBYING ILLINOIS: SOME PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS DO

DON'T

Be firm – Bring along facts and figures to support your case and be clear in your position.

Be Argumentative – You can never win an argument with a legislator, so don’t start one. Never threaten or lose your cool.

Leave Something in Writing – A single page, bulleted version of your argument they can refer back to.

Write a Book – Your legislator doesn’t have time to read a 10 page historical document, rather they need common sense and simple arguments.

Compromise – It’s better to get some things you want even if you can’t get everything. If you can’t defeat a bill, dilute it.

Give Up – Be persistent in communicating your views. At the same time, don’t waste time lobbying opponents who are publicly opposed to your position.

Personalize – Understand Waste their time – with form how the issue and specifically letters and mass mailings that affects your district and say it don’t give new information. in your own words. Keep your word – If you promise to provide information, drop everything and get it to them. This builds trust.

Promise something you can’t deliver – This is quick way to lose credibility in the relationship.

Keep Track – Follow the legislation through the process and update bill numbers and positions accordingly.

Come unprepared – Be respectful of your legislators’ time, especially during busy in-session times.

Know the other side – Understand the opposing view and give specific and factual rebuttals.

Expect to always get your way – Be willing to forgive, but not forget.

Say “Thank You” – If they helped your position, let them know. Show them your support by attending events when legislature is not it session.

Burn Bridges – Thank your legislator for considering your position. Restate your position, and say you look forward to future discussions.

www.iasbo.org

| 27


BE MINDFUL OF WHEN AND HOW YOU COMMUNICATE Whether a bill is moving, will determine the best timing to discuss a particular issue. If it isn’t urgent, it is better to discuss it in person when the legislature is not in session. A bill moving to committee between spring sessions could also be addressed this way. Once you’ve established a relationship, ask your legislators about their communication preferences during sessions. Some prefer an email or fax to the office; some even ask for cell phone calls on the House or Senate floor. When it comes to a vote, this will prove vital to get them the information they need. Representative Eddy encourages school district personnel to be persistent if the first communication attempt doesn’t elicit a response as “there are many people trying to contact us.” Don’t give up if a call is unreturned. In fact, repeat calls are more likely to be answered because they realize that they were not responsive the first time.

UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR GIVE AND TAKE Representative Eddy recalls a good relationship he built with a legislator before going into the political arena himself. His representative would call him during session and ask, for example, ”What will the change in the Foundation level do to your school? ” On the flip side, Eddy would attend events such as golf outings and forums during campaigns. Even though they came from differing political parties, they formed a working relationship that allowed them to approach one another on the issues. Like any relationship, every good school district — legislator relationship has two sides. In other words, you cannot expect to get your way, if you haven’t shown a willingness to go out of your way. If you would like them to bend on voting decisions, you also need to make the extra effort to attend events your legislators hold and support them in other ways. It is also important to understand that any given issue has a number of viewpoints. While the “answer” may seem clear to you, there is often another side that believes just as strongly. Their arguments may also resonate, and at

times and you won’t get what you want. Roger Eddy has a mantra that addresses this point — “Don’t let perfect become the enemy of the good.” Not often do you get everything you want, but that can’t detour you from helping bring about positive decisions for schools. He notes that if you are not even getting the “good,” you shouldn’t give in. Pritchard chimes in that the legislators that are most open to dialogue usually have relationships on both sides. Although they may not be with you 100% of the time, through a good relationship it can be most of the time. He said, “Don’t expect a perfect voting record. But someone with you 80 percent, is much better than 40 percent.” When you’ve established credibility and trust in the relationship, even if not every decision goes your way, you’ll be in position to help bring about outcomes that shape a bright future for students in your districts.

LOBBY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR Legislative Role Legislature holds limited sessions.

January

February

Invite your legislators to visit your district.

Your Role

March 20, 2012 Primary Election General Assembly in full session.

March

March 21, 2012: Attend the Lobbying with Legislators

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

May

June

Alert your legislators of key issues by phone, email etc. Be ready to testify if necessary.

Communicating &

28 |

April

Possible Addt'l Sessions.

seminar in Springfield.

June: Send a thank you card at the end of the session.


ARTICLE

LOBBYING ALONGSIDE THE ALLIANCE With the number of bills hitting the Illinois Legislature each year, keeping track can be a daunting task. As you get your feet wet in the legislative pool, take advantage of all the work the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance and Illinois ASBO Delegate Advisory Assembly (See article – pg. 40) are doing to track legislation and form positions.

Watch for the Alliance Legislative Report emails Sent out each week the legislature is in session, these will to help you keep track of relevant bills and the latest actions.

Know Illinois ASBO’s positions And use them to give weight to your arguments. Find the position statements on DAA web page: www.iasbo.org/daa

Talk to someone before taking a stand Cal Jackson, Illinois ASBO’s legislative liaison, is always a phone call away and can help you most effectively advocate your position.

Nov. 6, 2012 General Election Legislative break i.e. "Off Season."

July

August

September

Addt'l

Veto Session.

October

November

Sessions.

December

Visit your legislators in their district office to get to know their views.

Alert your

Send a note

Attend fundraisers to show your support.

legislators of

or thank you

Invite your legislators to a region meeting and explain your budget and other legislative issues.

key issues.

card for their service.

www.iasbo.org

| 29


The latest from the

Education Funding Advisory Board EFAB AWAITS MEMBERS FOR NEXT SCHEDULED CYCLE — BUT IS ITS CHARGE STILL RELEVANT TO TODAY’S NEEDS AND REALITIES? The General Assembly created the five-member Educational Founding Advisory Board (EFAB) in 1997, and charged it with recommending in January of odd-numbered years, beginning in 2001, a General State Aid (GSA) Foundation level and a Supplementary GSA grant level for districts with high concentrations of poverty. EFAB’s latest recommendation was made in December 2010 to inform the budget appropriation process for the 2011-12 fiscal year. In a press release on January 13, 2011, State Superintendent Dr. Christopher Koch stated, “As advocates of education, we would like to fulfill the EFAB recommendation but we also know it’s not possible in today’s economic climate. It’s critical, however, that districts have the necessary resources and support as we demand more of schools and students in the coming years through the adoption of new higher and more rigorous Common Core Learning Standards.” Dr. Koch thereby interjected a new performance component into the funding deliberations. Only two of the five members who served in 2009-2010 remain on the Board as it moves into its next scheduled cycle. Until Governor Quinn makes the three additional appointments, no meetings can be scheduled. With its next recommendation due by the end of 2012, to inform the fiscal year 2013 State budget process and 2013-14 GSA formula, those appointments, if they are to be made, must be forthcoming by spring at the latest. Springfield watchers will recall that EFAB was not convened after its May 2005 report until it was reconstituted by Governor Quinn in 2009. If reconvened this year, EFAB will inherit a difficult history and some troublesome facts about General State Aid distribution that came forth in its 2010 meetings. Historically, there has been a widening discrepancy between recommended and actual foundation levels since fiscal year 2002, when the EFAB-recommended level of $4,560 was endorsed and was established as the foundation level. Testimony presented during 2010 raised several issues that must be considered in any

effort to reconstitute a state aid formula that has strayed from its original purpose. Among this information: The portion of the total GSA appropriation going to poverty grants rose in FY 2011 to $1.35 billion or almost 30% of the total appropriation of $4.6 billion, exclusive of federal stimulus funds. By contrast, poverty grants consumed only 2.2% FY 2003 GSA funds. The increase in poverty grants has come at the expense of the property-wealth equalization component of the formula, essentially introducing family income as a major determinant of General State Aid, once a function of a district’s Equalized Assessed Valuation per pupil and attendance. Predictions of a continued upward trend in poverty counts foretell further increases in poverty grants in coming years. The lion’s share of these grants goes to urban districts in the upper range of poverty pupils as a percentage of total attendance, including Chicago, regardless of their per pupil local wealth. They have a large and influential political constituency. An additional $680 million in FY 2011 GSA benefited districts subject to the tax cap through the so-called PTELL adjustment, siphoning an additional 15% out of the GSA total. Chicago is among the districts that draw large amounts from the PTELL adjustment. With the projected increase in poverty counts, Illinois schools could be looking in the near future at a GSA formula that is only half responsive to local property wealth—a far cry from its original purpose. The state’s notorious equity ranking, in the bottom 10% of all states, could remain there for many years.

If reconvened this year, EFAB will inherit a difficult history and some troublesome facts about General State Aid distribution.


ARTICLE

Other issues came to light during EFAB’s recent work and point to the need to update its almost 15-year old charge, which will require legislative action. The definition of “low-cost and high-achieving” school district is dated in light of the escalating Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) benchmarks of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, and the benchmarks in other state and federal legislation. EFAB’s members heard that only 78 (20.7%) of elementary districts, 100 (25.3%) of unit districts and 4 (3.9%) of high school districts met then current EFAB success parameters, based on the methodology specified in the original legislation. Such a small sample size poses validity issues in the effort to relate a funding level to measures of efficiency and achievement. As NCLB criteria begin to give way to newer ways of defining district success, more recent criteria and methodologies should be considered in any forthcoming changes in EFAB’s mission. Without a definition of success that reflects current student characteristics and school programs, and updated assessment criteria and practices, any conclusions on future foundation levels become backward looking and have little value. Data on actual costs of educating Illinois students with different characteristics are more readily available than in the 1990’s, as is research on the relationship of effective school strategies and reform models to school success. As its work drew to a close in the fall of 2010, EFAB received a report by Michelle Turner Managan and Ted Purinton from National Louis University that illustrated how an “EvidenceBased Adequacy Model” could be used to compute components of a future foundation level. Unlike the current formula, these components would reflect differences in districts’ student populations and educational needs as well as their resource requirements. At its final meeting, EFAB briefly discussed an ISBE staff report on school organization that related district type, size and organization and the percentage of high school classes taught by highly-qualified teachers to the percentage of students in schools meeting proficiency requirements at various levels. The report also reviewed the recent history of school district reorganizations, along with the amounts of state incentive funds provided to each newly reorganized district. The brief Board discussion that ensued noted that a fresh look at the topic of reorganization was needed, and that the savings from reorganization could help bridge the gap between recommended and actual funding levels. One board member commented that reorganization could be a “black hole” that would detract from EFAB’s main charge. No recommendation was made as a result of the report, but subsequent legislation has mandated that the consolidation issue be discussed statewide.

By James B. Fritts ADJUNCT PROFESSOR NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY

If EFAB is to be reconstituted for another round, this writer suggests that its charge and membership be updated to reflect current and projected revenue realities, forecast economic and population trends, the educational needs of a changing student population, current assessment practices and recent research on effective schools and cost-effective approaches to serving students with varying needs. Furthermore, the voice of school finance reform needs to be focused and amplified by a process that includes in the research and discussion stage, a widely representative sample of leaders and stakeholders drawn from the educational, business and political communities. “Old timers” will recall the School Problems Commission which issued regular reports on various topics related to school funding, facilities, district organization, and other subjects, from the early 1950’s through the late 1970’s. This period saw rapid school population growth in some areas and declines in others and many changes in the state’s economy. The Commission’s membership included leaders from business, and other economic groups, legislative leaders who were spokespersons for education, officials from the state office of education, school districts and citizens at large. Its reports carried prestige, and influenced much legislation that endeavored to keep Illinois schools among the leaders of the time in educational quality and funding. Imagine how a reconstituted School Problems Commission might incorporate the ideas and contributions of stakeholders, foundations, universities, the many research and reform groups and others who are devoting considerable attention to Illinois’ current financial/educational issues. Could it discuss, refocus and amplify the most pressing educational and financial issues into a set of solutions for statewide deliberations and subsequent legislative actions — including funding provisions? Illinois ASBO members and other readers are invited to react to this proposal in future issues of UPDATE. Meanwhile, if EFAB is reconstituted for another round, UPDATE will contain periodic reports on its work.

James Fritts teaches School Finance at Northeastern Illinois University. Reports of EFAB discussions are taken from previous UPDATE articles and from the final EFAB report of December 2010. Opinions expressed in this article do not reflect positions of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

www.iasbo.org

| 31


During the last thirty years, key aspects of school reorganization, or district consolidation, have been studied not only at the state level by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) but also nationwide. In that period, many school districts in Illinois have changed both the size of the geographic area served and the manner in which they are organized. Although today Illinois seems to have an extremely large number of districts, it should be remembered that a few decades ago, the number was even greater. Before the end of the Second World War, nearly 12,000 school districts served this state’s communities. Through an evolutionary process, that number has decreased to the current total of 862. This article suggests strategies to consider when consolidation of districts becomes necessary and a summary of current reorganization options/procedures and incentives for districts to consider.

32 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012


By William H. Phillips

ARTICLE

In any discussion of the variety of methods available in Illinois, these methods continue to be supported by the ISBE and General Assembly as they encourage school districts to consolidate. Over the last twenty years, several task forces have discussed reorganization, culminating with the Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) of 2003 in which sweeping changes were recommended. Currently there is a Commission that is studying this issue and their report is pending to the General Assembly in 2012. Notwithstanding this renewed interest, there exists a veritable potpourri of allowable methods for all three kinds of school districts to reorganize; the list below details choices for reorganization in Illinois since 1983. Deactivation

Districts utilizing the Deactivation Method essentially tuition their high school or junior high students to a neighboring district(s). There is no formation of a new district, the deactivating district must approve with a referendum and the receiving district must approve with a board resolution. Districts utilizing this method are eligible for only two of the four incentives: $4,000 Per Certified Staff and Salary Differential. The deactivating district remains responsible for transportation of students and may renew the deactivation for a one or two year period. Cooperative High School

High school or unit districts utilizing this method are unchanged except that they agree to cooperatively administer a high school with a newly formed Board of Control made up of 6-10 board members from the cooperating districts. Cooperative high schools are also only eligible for two of the four financial incentives, salary differential and $4,000 per certified staff. Two of the major issues concerning cooperative high schools are the requirements that they cooperate for a period of not less than twenty years and the teachers manning the cooperative high school are paid from the salary schedules of their original districts.

EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT SPRINGFIELD

Annexation

Annexations are fundamentally different from other procedures in that a new district is not formed and districts that are annexed are dissolved and become a part of an existing district. As such, the teachers utilize the annexing district's salary schedule and collective bargaining agreement and the taxpayers pay the tax rates of the annexing district except for the Bond and Interest Fund. These reorganization petitions are heard by the Regional Board of School Trustees and not the Regional Superintendent. Dissolution

Districts that dissolve also utilize the Regional Board of School Trustees. When a resolution from the board of education or a citizen's petition for dissolution is recieved, the Regional Board automatically takes control of the annexation of the district and places them with district(s) as they determine. The only way to stop a dissolution petition is with a counter petition given to the Regional Board with a majority of signatures from district constituents. This is the only reorganization method in which there is no vote of approval by districts. High School – Unit Conversion

A unit district may convert to an elementary district and annex its high school students to a neighboring high school district. This conversion allows communities to maintain control of its elementary students and send the high school students to a larger more comprehensive high school. The boundaries of the elementary district are the same as the original unit district. The new elementary district must vote upon a new elementary tax rate and will also pay the current tax rates of the annexing high school district except for bond and interest rates. Unit District Formation

Two or more existing unit districts may consolidate and form a new unit district. In this procedure all districts must approve the referendum, a new board of education is formed, and new tax rates are voted upon. www.iasbo.org

| 33


Decisions to support or reject a proposed merger tend to be based on perceptions… influenced by how well the local school board(s) had communicated with the public from the beginning of the process. Combined School District

Either elementary or high school districts utilize this method with essentially the same guidelines as a unit district formation other than they combine with a like district (elementary or high school district) creating an enlarged elementary or high school district. A new district is created with a new board of education and new tax rates.

In this scenario one or more of the elementary districts along with the high school district must vote in the affirmative to form a new unit. Therefore a new unit may be formed from less than all of the existing elementary feeder districts. Remaining feeder districts may remain elementary or vote later to enter the new unit. The new unit board sets the tax rates for the new unit district as well as the high school rates for the non participating elementary districts.

Unit to Dual Conversion

Two or more unit districts may change their district formation to a dual district by changing all of the unit districts to elementary districts and creating a new overlapping high school district. This is the only reorganization method in which you can end up with more districts than you had previously. All new boards and tax rates are created for the participating districts. Incentives, staff, buildings, equipment are split between the districts utilizing a process monitored by the Regional Office of Education.

Combined High School-Unit District

Optional Elementary Unit District

Multi-Unit Conversion

Dual districts including elementary and high schools can switch to a unit district. In this method an existing dual district can form a new unit from less than the entire elementary feeder district(s) (need not be coterminous).

Two or more unit districts dissolve to form a new combined high school-unit district and new elementary district(s) based on the boundaries of the dissolved unit district(s) electing to join the combined high school-unit district for high school purposes only.

A high school district may combine with a contiguous unit district. The newly enlarged unit district serves the entire former territory for 9-12 purposes and residents of the original elementary feeder district(s) remain elementary districts. A new unit district is not formed and the newly enlarged unit district sets the tax rates for entire new territory for both 9-12 of the former elementary feeder districts and K-12 rates for the original unit district.

The number of districts utilizing the aforementioned methods is as follows: Annexation (includes Dissolutions) – 69 Consolidation (includes all kinds of districts) – 56 Deactivation – 13 Cooperative High School – 1 Unit District Conversion –1 Optional Elementary Unit District – 1 The remainder of the methods have not as yet been utilized.

34 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

While all of the procedures are inherently different in nature there are some commonalities, most reorganizations begin with either a board of education resolution or a citizen petition. Hearings are required by either the Regional Superintendent or Regional Board


ARTICLE

of Trustees. Reorganization petitions must be approved by the ROE, State Supt. and/or Regional Board of School Trustees, depending upon the method utilized. While many if not most districts utilize the information and services of feasibility studies that are funded by ISBE, they are not required. Bond & Interest payments will continue to be made by the original districts until they are paid unless it is determined differently in the referendum. All board elections are made “at large� unless changed in the referendum process. Collectively bargained contracts are void yet other multi-year agreements (administrators, transportation, etc.) must be honored. Tenure is transferred to the new district by certified employees. Non-certificated personnel only have their seniority lists merged for any reductions in staff. Successful Approaches

While consolidation or reorganization can experience many pitfalls, success stories have been seen with districts that previously had some form of constructive relationship with the school boards from neighboring communities. Most had a successful sports or educational cooperative program already in place, while others had already spent considerable time over the years discussing reorganization for the future. These school boards were very proactive in their approach and their emphasis centered on what was best for children. Successful school boards were able to focus their energies on how the merger would benefit their children and used the study results to carefully develop tools for convincing their community. In these situations, the communities understood the importance of acting before the district was completely insolvent.

In most cases where reorganization options were discussed, the most influential deciding factor for community members and boards of education was the location of the high school. Unfortunately, community decisions seldom reflect knowledge of academic programs and curriculum offerings. Yet one of the most successful mergers that I have seen ran in direct contrast to the desire to preserve a local high school. This occurred when one community had a new high school facility which the smaller community recognized as a better, positive option for the future of all their children. The districts were able to maintain elementary centers in their communities. There are cases when communities believe that facilities and programs far outweigh the hardship of moving their children to a different school. While planning, keep in mind this key observation: decisions to support or reject a proposed merger tend to be based on perceptions, which can be influenced by how well the local school board(s) had communicated with the public from the beginning of the process.

From an instructional perspective, if the community believes it is their responsibility to provide the best educational programs they can provide, the decision is much easier to sell. Some have an easier time recognizing that they are preparing their children to be successful in a world much different than the one the previous generation prepared for, and create plans accordingly. References Illinois State Board of Education (1985). School district reorganization in Illinois. Unpublished report. Springfield, IL. Phillips, W. H. & Day, S. L.(2002). Reorganization Feasibility Study. Unpublished report. Springfield, IL.

www.iasbo.org

| 35


ARTICLE / POINT of VIEW Insight into the Issue

By Dave Urbanek PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, TEACHERS’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

WALKING A FINE LINE: PENSION TENSION Pensions are on everyone’s mind as we approach the next General Assembly. Although the system has been keeping a delicate balance for decades, can the new solutions really resolve this long-standing issue? In the last year, pensions for educators and public employees have seemingly shot from nowhere to the top of the General Assembly’s agenda. Questions about the stability and viability of Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and the “fairness” of public pensions echo from the media into schools all over the state. Calls for reform — and resistance to reform — are loud and sustained. But in reality, the questions facing TRS are not new. Concerns that TRS will run out of money have been around for years. Legislators’ worries that the annual state contribution to TRS will rob other state programs of scarce funds have been debated consistently for decades. Public pensions are a hot topic right now because the nation’s struggling economy has uncovered the generally poor state of retirement security for the vast majority of Americans. Private pension plans all over the country have been closed in favor of 401(k)s. But these “self-managed” plans unfortunately have proven to be highly unreliable. As private sector employees see their retirement nest eggs shrink, they also see that educators and public employees continue to benefit from something they used to have. In addition, the media continues to focus on the three percent of retired TRS members that earn a pension of more than $100,000, and not the 97 percent who do not. The average TRS pension is $46,000. The result is “pension envy.” Over time, the flames of pension envy have been fanned and exploited in various quarters and the inevitable result has been legislation to correct perceived wrongs. Inevitably, the debate over reform has been fueled by rhetoric, predictions and calculations often more in synch with policy goals than with reality.

www.iasbo.org

| 37


This debate is a never-ending argument. It’s the primary reason that TRS has carried a long-term unfunded liability for almost 60 years.

Teachers’ Retirement System does not advocate one way or another for any legislation or concept; except when a proposal could potentially affect the System’s finances. In any legislative discussion during the last year, TRS has dealt strictly in facts – regardless of the outcome. Here, then, are several of the old issues and questions facing TRS:

payment. This year the mortgage payment is $4.5 billion. In fiscal years 2010 and 2011 combined, TRS obligations totaled $8 billion. TRS revenue during the same period totaled $17.3 billion. The total TRS liability never comes due because active teachers cannot collect their pension. Only retired teachers can collect what is owed them in that year.

The Financial Stability of TRS

If state government does nothing to the state pension code in the foreseeable future, the TRS unfunded liability will disappear in about 30 years. The reforms enacted in 2010 that created the Tier II benefit structure provide that all new members pay a contribution that generates more revenue than their eventual benefit will cost. The extra funds from these Tier II contributions will gradually retire the unfunded liability as the number of Tier II members increase. As the unfunded liability drops, so will the state’s annual contribution.

The System is financially stable and has enough money to pay pensions for decades to come. The media often describes TRS as “underfunded” and the general public misconstrues this description as meaning the System does not have enough money to pay pensions right now. In reality the “underfunded” description refers to the System’s long-term unfunded liability over the next 30 years, which is not a good measure of whether TRS can meet its obligations from year to year. TRS has carried an unfunded liability since at least 1953 and has always paid retired teachers on time. The current total TRS unfunded liability is $44 billion. The total liability is $81 billion. The main problem is that many people confuse the total TRS “mortgage” – $81 billion – with the “mortgage payment” – or what the System needs in any one year to meet its benefits obligation. Like any homeowner, TRS can’t pay the mortgage off at one time, but it can make the mortgage

38 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

Can the State Afford Public Pensions? This debate is a never-ending argument. It’s the primary reason that TRS has carried a long-term unfunded liability for almost 60 years. Legislators always have balked at fully funding TRS and as a result have always redirected funds away from TRS to other worthy programs. The TRS unfunded liability was created by state officials who, since the 1950s, decided not to give TRS all of the money required to cover current

and future pension obligations. It is estimated that the state has redirected as much as $14 billion in funding from TRS since 1970. In fiscal year 2012, the cost of all public pensions to state government is $6.9 billion. The cost of TRS to state government is $2.4 billion. All social service programs cost $17.5 billion. All education spending totals $13.7 billion. Total state government spending, from all sources, is $56.9 billion. The central question is a matter of spending priorities. Pension Reform in the Form of Senate Bill 512 This much-talked-about proposal is currently pending on the floor of the Illinois House. A revised version was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee during the fall veto session. Further action on the bill could come during the annual general session. Senate Bill 512 would give current TRS members three options for benefits after June 30, 2013. Tier I teachers could keep their current TRS benefit package, but in return the annual contribution by teachers to TRS would increase to 13.77 percent. Tier I teachers could switch to the Tier II structure and existing Tier II teachers could elect to stay in Tier II. In each case, a teacher would not be eligible for full retirement benefits until age 67. It is estimated that Tier II benefits will be 30 percent less than benefits for a Tier I teacher if final average salary and creditable


ARTICLE / POINT of VIEW Insight into the Issue

service time for both are equal. The teacher contribution rate for all Tier II members would be at least 6 percent. Tier I and Tier II teachers could switch to a new Tier III option – a 401(k)-style benefit plan. Teachers would pay at least 6 percent of their salaries and the state would contribute 6 percent. The legislation allows teachers to accrue and collect benefits from the existing benefit structure up through June 30, 2013. The bill guarantees these earned benefits will be paid. Senate Bill 512 Faces an Uphill Road to Becoming Law Two financial analyses of Senate Bill 512 have been conducted indicating that the legislation will cost the state more money during the next decade in order to realize long-term savings. Also, the analyses concluded that the only way to generate long-term savings would be to eliminate an existing pension benefit for current teachers. The cost increases are the result of Senate Bill 512 interacting with and affecting existing pension laws. An initial cost-benefit analysis conducted by TRS during the summer of 2011 revealed that Senate Bill 512 would raise state costs by $62.3 billion over 34 years; due mainly to higher pension benefits owed to TRS members that remain in Tier I. The bill was revised by sponsors to eliminate the existing pension law that led to the higher Tier I benefits, and a subsequent financial analysis calculated a savings to the state of $47.9 billion over 34 years. However,

in order to realize these long-term savings, the revised bill would force state contributions to rise by an extra $1.97 billion over the next seven years. This increase is caused by an existing state law that requires the state to fund TRS sufficiently so that the System’s unfunded liability is eliminated by 2045. These analyses stand separately from whether the legislation violates the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution. Supporters insist the bill is constitutional. For the last 40 years, Illinois courts have ruled seven times that any effort to reduce pension benefits for active or retired public pension recipients or raise active member contributions without a corresponding increase in benefits is unconconstitutional. Sunset of the Early Retirement Option The future of ERO will depend on a variety of interconnecting actions. Under state law, TRS must first complete an “actuarial investigation” of the program during the first half of 2012 that includes whether member contributions are sufficient to fund the program. This investigation must be delivered to the General Assembly's

Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. COGFA then has until February 1, 2013 to make a recommendation to the legislature on whether any adjustments in the member contribution are needed, Lawmakers then have until June 30, 2013 to act on the COGFA recommendation. If the General Assembly does not act on the recommendation, the ERO sunsets and TRS will refund all contributions paid by members to fund the program.


What happens in Springfield, doesn’t often stay in Springfield. Illinois school districts are constantly feeling the impact of what happens in the Legislature. Through the Delegate Advisory Assembly, Illinois ASBO members have the opportunity to bring up policy-related problems and issues they face. These ideas are given a platform and direction… in some cases all the way to the State Capital.

Mapping out a course

It all started into motion in 2003 when the Board of Directors assigned the Public Policy and Intergovernmental Relations Professional Development Committee (PDCs) an important task: to make a plan for Illinois ASBO’s political input on legislative issues. A major component of this plan was the formation of the Illinois ASBO Delegate Advisory Assembly (DAA). In the fall of 2004, Illinois ASBO Executive Director Ron Everett discussed this plan with the residing Regional Organization and PDC Chairs and Coordinators, soliciting each PDC and Regional to select a representative to come to the DAA’s first official meeting on December 9th.

The mission of the DAA was established as and continues to be: to make recommendations to the Illinois ASBO Board of Directors in regards to public policy and/or legislation involving resource management of education.

A Vehicle to get the Word Out

The DAA is a place that individual members can present issues their districts are facing. After some discussion and debate, the DAA decides whether to move forward. A lot of this depends on timing: Is this something we should spend our chips on now or create a position for when it becomes more relevant later? The DAA acts as “quick response network” used by Illinois ASBO and Alliance legislative liaisons to quickly poll a representative sample of the membership to see how pending legislation could potentially impact school districts. They can then disseminate this information to the necessary people as things happen in real time in Springfield. At meetings, Cal Jackson and other legislative liaisons regularly provide updates from the Capital. Updates are also presented from the Illinois State Board of Education and other outside entities. 40 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

DAA members represent a diverse sample of Illinois ASBO: upstate and downstate, tax cap and non-tax cap, including representatives from each PDC and Regional Organization.


ARTICLE

By Rebekah L. Weidner STAFF WRITER/EDITOR ILLINOIS ASBO

From Submission to Legislation: How the Process Works It all starts with an idea or problem an individual or group is dealing with in their district(s). This idea then goes through a set process to determine which course it will take. At each DAA meeting, continuing initiatives are discussed. The DAA Chair is invited to the meeting of the Board of Directors to present these initiatives, continuing this process until the issue is finished.

Although not all DAA initiatives make it to the Legislature, members often see them in another format. Two recent articles in the UPDATE Magazine addressed DAA initiatives: Fall 2011: “Making the Right Choices” addressed the need for a qualification based selection process in selecting contractors and vendors. Winter 2011: “Unemployment in Illinois” addressed the issue of unemployment benefits for RIF’d employees.

Success Stories

In the DAA’s history to date, there are numerous issues that have been brought forward addressed in Illinois Legislature. Two issues that have successfully come out of the DAA and greatly impacted the face of school policy: Raising the Bid Threshold The hard work of the DAA combined with the Purchasing PDC paid off on October 3, 2008 when Public Act 9599 passed in the Senate, raising the school district bid threshold from $10,000 to $25,000. This recommendation to amend the school code was originally introduced in the House in 2005, and took three years of persistence including testimonies of PDC members in Springfield to push it through.

CSBO Certification It was uncovered that many administrators with Chief School Business Official (CSBO) endorsement lacked the necessary certificate to pursue a Superintendent endorsement (even though a certificated school nurse could do so!) A change in the law was necessary so that anyone with a masters-level degree and requisite experience (including as a CSBO) could earn Superintendent endorsement through a preparatory graduate program. This change was sponsored in the legislature by sponsor Senator Maloney and was made effective as of January 1, 2011 as Public Act 096-0982. www.iasbo.org

| 41


A Winding Road: Current DAA Initiatives Navigating the current state of Illinois school finance, the DAA has most recently focused on key issues including:

Raising the Tax Rate Ceiling

Issue History: At the March 2011 DAA meeting, Dr. Raymond Costa presented his submission to address the problem of the continuing decline in EAV and increasing tax rates. As this trend continues and the EAV falls low enough, dual districts will be limited to an aggregate $3.50 tax rate (unit districts limited to $4.00) and local revenue will fall. His solution was to monitor the situation and develop legislation to increase the aggregate tax rate limit if EAV’s continue to fall. Latest DAA Action: At the October 2011 meeting, the DAA recommended to the Board that this issue continue to be monitored and maintained as an initiative.

Special Ed: IMRF Sick Leave Service Credits

Issue History: At the September 2010 DAA Meeting, Roxanne Kovacevich presented that in recent years, IMRF rules were changed to allow IMRF members of school districts to accumulate sick days from all prior school district employers with the exception of special education cooperatives and others. She suggested drafting legislation to allow special education joint agreement IMRF employees to convert their unused, unpaid sick leave in the same manner as local school district employees. Kovacevich has worked with legislative liaison Cal Jackson to push this forward, without success. Latest DAA Action: As this issue does not affect everyone and wasn’t gaining momentum, the Board approved the DAA’s recommendation in October of 2011 that it be maintained as an initiative and pursued at a later date.

Make a difference through the DAA Online resources on pg. 44

42 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012

School Finance “Clean Up” Bills

Issue History: This unique initiative came through the efforts of a consortium of law firms who came together in 2009 to “clean up” the School Code by ratifying and validating certain revenue-neutral financial practices of school districts in light of recent court decisions. These included: • Use of working cash funds raised within existing tax limits. • Transfer of accumulated interest between funds (with restrictions limited to expressed earmarking). • Levying for a “new rate” within the aggregate limiting rate of PTELL. • Codifying the standards for permissible fund balance accumulation at a workable, consistent rate. The working cash piece was picked up by Senator Maggie Crotty and passed through the legislature in 2010 as Public Act 96-1277, confirming a school district’s authority to use the working cash fund for any school purpose. Latest DAA Action: The remaining three initiatives, supported by the DAA, are now Senate Bill 1752. As of this writing the bill does not have a sponsor but Illinois ASBO and the Board of Directors will continue to support these initiatives and any pending legislation.

The Road Ahead

As Illinois ASBO continues to move forward in its political environment, the DAA looks to the membership for information as they approach key issues on behalf of the Association. Members are encouraged to submit their ideas and issues for consideration, so that together we can continue to navigate through a difficult school finance environment.


RESOURCES A New Lens on Lincoln Most people are familiar with the phrase, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Yet, most are not so eager to bring former opponents onto their own team.

On My List Team of Rivals By Doris Kearns Goodwin

Overview: Take a fresh look at one of our most beloved presidents through the lens of his three opponents to the Republican nomination (and later members of his Presidential Cabinet), and take away a new approach to leadership in your district. In this intriguing and well-researched read, Doris Kearns Goodwin, who has written acclaimed biographies on the Roosevelts, Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson, sheds a new light on Abraham Lincoln’s life — from his ascension to the nomination process to his time as president and his untimely death.

This requires more leadership than simply surrounding yourself with “yes” men — people you know will take to your views. Surrounding yourself with your critics challenges you to change their mind and earn their respect. Herein lies the political genius of Abraham Lincoln. According to Kearns Goodwin, Lincoln’s genius is revealed through his “extraordinary array of personal qualities that enabled him to form friendships with men who previously opposed him.” More specifically, with the men who were his opponents for the 1860 presidential election: New York Senator William H. Seward, Ohio Governor Salmon Chase, and Missouri Statesman Edward Bates. An unlikely candidate The book begins on the fateful day of the nomination, describing the “four men waiting” to hear the result. Taking a deeper look into the childhood and lives of each candidate, the reader understands the shared drive that led them to this moment, as well as their vast differences in character and privilege.

Of the four candidates, Lincoln emerged as the least likely winner. With a weaker political record and “obstacles unimaginable to the other candidates,” his nomination came to the extreme dismay of his opponents.

Surrounding yourself with your critics challenges you to change their mind and earn their respect. An unprecedented decision Upon election as President, Lincoln decided to embrace these former opponents as members of his Cabinet. He had an unwavering determination to preserve the Union, and understood that in order to achieve this he would need to be surrounded by the best people. His humility and leadership ultimately won over his opponents, as well as a divided nation. Taking a look at Lincoln's leadership through the lens of his former rivals, brings an unexpected and yet ultimately wise approach to team building and leadership that leaders in any field can learn from.

www.iasbo.org

| 43


Get your district’s voice heard in Illinois Legislature (See article, pg. 24)

Lobbying Illinois: How You Can Make a Difference in Public Policy Why this read is essential: It is filled with practical information and tips for people and groups who have public policy goals, but may lack the experience to navigate the public policy arena.

Illinois Principals Association Advocate Page Why we like this site: It literally, couldn’t be any easier. Enter your zip code and find out who represents you in Springfield. Then, create an email to your reps through the site (be sure to personalize this with insights from your own district). Find it at: Ilprincipals.capwiz.com

Illinois General Assembly Website Why we like this site: This is your one-stop shop for information about what’s going on down in Springfield. Learn to navigate this page and it will become a trusted resource. Find it at: www.Ilga.gov

Field Trip: Communicating and Lobbying with Legislators Administrator Academy- March 21, 2012 Every March, Illinois ASBO and IASA team up to provide this seminar: including tips and tools for lobbying, meet and greets with legislators to talk about the issues and more. This is a great way to get familiar with how things work down in the Capital. Register online at: www.iasbo.org/events

Make a difference through the DAA

(See Article, pg. 40)

Send your submission: Download the submission form then come to the next meeting to bring forward an issue you would like the DAA to address. Read the Illinois ASBO Position Statements: These statements guide the Alliance and DAA as they assess proposed legislation, and advocate in Springfield. These can be found at: www.iasbo.org/daa

Build Your Own Lincoln Library

If Team of Rivals (see On My List p. 43) only wets your Lincoln appetite, get your fill with these tantalizing reads. Hungry for more? A visit to the Lincoln Library in Springfield is sure to satisfy your craving. Learning From Lincoln

Killing Lincoln

There’s a lot school district leaders can learn from Lincoln’s leadership style: including building trust, leading change and effective communication.

A thrilling and insightful look at the dramatic events of the spring of 1865, this new release is a must read on your Lincoln list.

By Harvey Alvy and Pam Robbins

By Bill O’Reilly

Presidential Library and Museum If you prefer to relive history in person, a trip to this museum in Springfield will give you a newfound respect and admiration for this great leader. 44 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012


RESOURCES

Your Resources are on peer2peer. The peer2peer Network was designed to serve Illinois ASBO members as a "warehouse" for finding and sharing valuable resources.

To find the Resource page: Log in to the Illinois ASBO website and click on the peer2peer icon to be launched into the peer2peer Network. From there, click “Resources” on the top navigation menu.

Cal’s Corner

Cal Jackson is the Legislative Liaison for Illinois ASBO, and as such, he is usually carrying around a slew of articles on education reform topics. See what legislation topics should be on your radar by making a visit to Cal's space on peer2peer. Under “Browse By Category” on the Resources page, click on Cal’s Corner to find news about pensions, updates on bills and more.

Legislative Resources

Find useful resources and fact sheets posted by your peers about current legislation. Be sure to add resources you’ve found helpful to the mix. Under “Browse By Category” on the Resources page, click on Legislation to find these useful documents.

UPDATE Resources

Looking for a resource featured in UPDATE? Find all the resources featured in the most recent magazine issues. Under “Browse by Category” on the Resources page, click on UPDATE Magazine.

WANT MORE LEGISLATIVE RESOURCES? Check in on www.iasbo.org/legislativeresources to find the latest reports from the Alliance along with many other useful links.

www.iasbo.org

| 45


THE FINAL WORD Great Ideas from Great Illinois ASBO Members Eric M. Trimberger Asst. Supt./Finance & Operations Ridgeland SD 122 What is your role as a professional with regards to education? Public education is currently under attack from many directions. My role is to assure the community that their resources are being spent prudently to ensure the best possible services for their children. Communicating actions taken to save money such as refunding bonds in times of historically low interest rates, investing in new technology to reduce staffing needs, and using shared services with other districts is key to showing the value being provided to the district by the Chief School Business Official. What will impact school legislation most significantly in the next 5–10 years? The State of Illinois’ current financial condition will most significantly impact school districts for the foreseeable future. The 67% income tax increase in 2011 was expected to generate about $7 Billion in new revenue; however, the increase in revenue had a small impact on the backlog of unpaid bills, which is currently over $8 Billion. Despite the income tax increase, General State Aid was pro-rated at 95%, and reimbursement for regular transportation was cut resulting in a loss of about $300 Million to school districts for the 2011-2012 school year. What is the most important school legislation topic to address immediately? Action needs to be taken to increase revenues for the State to balance the budget and restore cuts to education funding. The economy has shifted from a manufacturing base to service base, and the tax code needs to be modified to reflect this change. Expanding the tax base to cover all services would increase revenue by over $2 Billion a year. If you could change one thing about the school legislation process, what would it be? Leadership in Springfield has been lacking for years, and the resulting partisan politics has kicked Illinois’s financial problems down the road for the last three decades. Our elected officials need to stop blaming each other and work together to provide real solutions to Illinois’s fiscal crisis.

JIM WOMACK / NIU

46 |

Update Magazine / Spring 2012


Don’t Miss these Events Illinois ASBO 61st Annual Conference Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - Friday, May 18, 2012 Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, IL TechCon: 6th Annual Technology & Financial Issues for the 21st Century Friday, October 26, 2012 NIU Naperville Campus, Naperville 5th Annual Midwest Facility Masters Conference Monday, October 29, 2012 - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 Kalahari Resort & Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells, WI Educational Support Professionals Conference December 7, 2012 NIU Naperville Campus, Naperville Find out more at iasbo.org www.iasbo.org

| 47


Indispensible Ideas, Networking & Tools Just When You Need Them Most

2012 annual Conference Peoria Civic Center May 16-18 DRESS UP and WIND DOWN at the EXHIBIT HALL OPENING GALA AND SILENT AUCTION Wednesday, May 16: 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm Don’t miss what could become your favorite new Conference tradition!

END YOUR DAY IN STYLE

This fun and lively “Opening Night” event will feature food and beverage stations, networking and a few other surprises as you get your first glance at the Exhibit Hall.

DONATE, BID OR BOTH This will be your one night only opportunity to bid on

Illinois ASBO Foundation Silent Auction. As

you enter the Hall, you’ll find out where these coveted items are located. Make sure to get in your bids before one by one the aisles begin to close… If you’d like to take part by making a donation, it’s not too late – Find the donation form online at: iasbo.org/silentauction

Annual Conference Registration is OPEN at iasbo.org/acregistration

48 || 48

UpdateMagazine Magazine // Spring Spring 2012 2012 Update


Illinois ASBO UPDTE Spring 2012