On Friday, May 15th we will hold our annual election from 7:30am to 4:00pm. (According to the constitution by-laws, this election must take place the day after the spring general membership meeting because last minute nominations will be taken from the floor at the meeting.)
The ballot box will be located in the main office on the East campus and in the production center on the West campus.
We will be electing officers for the following positions:
If you are interested in running for one of these positions, please email Jeremy Witt firstname.lastname@example.org on the West Campus or Shawn Coughlin email@example.com on the East Campus by Thursday, May 7
At the school board's most recent meeting, the board approved a resolution to fill several positions in the district. Congratulations to BFT members Katie Hoerner, East's new social studies department chair; Lee Meyer, West's new PE, health, and drivers education department chair; and Jenny Hotze-Wilton, East's new world language department chair!
The board also approved the hiring of a new assistant principal on the East campus.
In other business, the board adopted a new textbook for the forensics classes, approved next year's calendar, and approved Tom Shimmer as next year's opening day keynote speaker, who will conduct what will surely be a riveting discussion on assessments.
Finally, BFT's President Cyndi Oberle-Dahm addressed the board to garner support for House Bill 3428, which would mandate that all Illinois state schools award college credit for any student who scores a three or higher on an advanced placement exam.
See the meeting agenda.
See a copy of the most recently posted meeting minutes.
Belleville West students celebrated William Shakespeare’s birthday on Friday, April 17. The tenth annual BW Shakespeare Festival began in the school’s courtyard with scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, contemporary poetry inspired by Shakespeare, choral and instrumental music, and an updated version of Romeo and Juliet by members of Harambee. Students then moved to the library, where they tasted food based on Renaissance recipes, learned about science in Shakespeare’s time, created screen-printed images with members of the art department, studied Elizabethan weaponry, competed in trivia challenges about Shakespeare’s work, and played traditional Renaissance games. ~J. Lodle
District Budget and Finances Report (April 2015)
Governor Rauner imposed pro-rated cuts this week on mandated categorical payments to Illinois school Districts. These categorical payments include Special Education and Transportation monies for the District. Instead of paying the mandated 100% due to the District, the state is pro-rating these at 95%, which will result in the District having to adjust some budgeting figures to cover the cost of buses, out of District special education placements, and special education personnel. An estimated cost of this pro-ration will be about $101,000 for the District for the quarter. This is supposed to be a pro-ration that will help the state come at budget for the rest of FY2015. It is yet to be determined if future mandated categorical payments will also be pro-rated, and, if so, at what amount as the budget crisis continues to unfold. The state has also placed the District on an Early Warning list about finances, despite the fact that we are healthier than many surrounding Districts. As of 4/14/2015, the State of Illinois owes District 201 $3,619,498.86 in General State Aid.
Saint Clair County has completed the process of reassessment of property for 2015, and the new equalized assessed valuation (EAV) for the taxable property has dropped by 1.8318%. The EAV is the “taxable property value” that the District levies its tax rate on for local revenue. Loosely speaking, the EAV reflects the local “wealth” of the District, and a reduction will result in less local income for the District for the coming fiscal year. For example, the US Census Bureau reports that the median home price in St. Clair County is $123,700. The current EAV is taxed at 1.97%, which means the District gets, on average, $2,436.89 in revenue from each house. With the reduced assessment, this brings the taxable home value down to $121,343. At the current tax rate, District 201 will get $2390.46 in taxes, a difference of $46.42 for a house at the new assessed value. The question for the board will be whether to abate (hold the tax rate the same), which they have done for years or to implement an increase. The abatement will cost the District money while the increase will put more fiscal pressure on local homeowners. So far the District has not needed to use the $6 million line of credit approved by the board, but this seems likely to occur soon. The good news is that the District has such a high credit rating that there were over fifty banks competing for the line of credit.
In addition, the District is still in negotiation with Belleville and Fairview Heights for approval of TIF Districts in both communities. TIF Districts reduce property taxes for new builders to lure them into communities, but this also lowers the taxing value of the EAV for school Districts and other taxing bodies. District 201 is currently in negotiations, in conjunction with other taxing bodies such as Grant and William Holiday, to approve the TIF with a rebate to Districts as a portion of the revenue generated by any future construction. Both TIF negotiations are ongoing.
The District is beginning to look at some upcoming capital projects at East and West. These may be done though lease-purchase, an arrangement in which the District will lease equipment or supplies with payments going toward purchases. This allows the District to use funds other than the Education Fund to make purchases. Currently, lease-purchase funds have been used to upgrade technology on both campuses, as well as the purchase of the Goalby property next to Belleville West (this lease will be paid off in July). The next focus will be exploring the possibility of using lease-purchase funds to fix the main parking lot at Belleville East High School as well as the tracks on both campuses. The Belleville East track is 25 years old. The Belleville West track, while only around 10 years old, has been inspected and found to be in need of immediate repair to address degradation.
The Illinois State Board of Education is pleased to announce the opening of the 2015 Spring Window for the Illinois $1,900 NBPTS Candidate Fee Subsidy. The National Board Resource Center at Illinois State University will process applications for eligible Illinois teachers. Funding has been made available for 500 candidates. Please invite an outstanding teacher or counselor to become a National Board Certified Teacher by forwarding this message to them and adding a personal note of encouragement. National Board Certification offers a way for accomplished teachers to be assessed and recognized, and a way for parents to know their child’s teacher has met high and rigorous standards. The single most important action the nation can take to improve schools is to strengthen teaching. NBPTS develops high and rigorous standards for accomplished teachers and 100,000 teachers across the country and 6,025 teachers in Illinois have demonstrated that they meet those standards by achieving National Board Certification.
National Board Certified Teachers are among the nation’s most effective teachers who have demonstrated that they meet the highest teaching standards.
The NBPTS certification process takes from one to three years to complete. Throughout this period, candidates:
Standards for each content area and developmental level are created by teachers, for teachers. They represent a consensus among educators about what accomplished, effective teachers should know and be able to do to improve student learning and achievement. Board certification is available in 25 certificate areas, from Pre-K through 12th grade.
Certification consists of four components: written assessment of content knowledge, reflection on student work samples, video and analysis of teaching practice, and documented impact and accomplishments as a teaching professional. Throughout its more than 25-year history, the National Board has sought to review and revise its standards and certification process to reflect best practices in teaching. Throughout the process, you will be able to apply what you’re learning to your classroom practice and connect with other teachers pursuing certification. Recognizing the many demands on teachers’ time, the process is designed to be flexible, efficient and affordable.
Please let me know if you have questions,
Debra Kasperski, NBCT
Director, National Board Resource Center
Illinois State University
Campus Box 5390
Normal, Illinois 61790
Proud alumnus, union member, and educator in District #201 since 2006.
Dr. Hentze is the author of High Finance with Hentze, a monthly blog that provides news about District 201's current financial state.