The Examiner U-46 News Feed
U-46 Board reviews potential IASB proposals
By Seth Hancock
The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) will be holding its annual conference next month and it has released the list of potential resolutions member school districts will be voting on for the IASB’s lobbying efforts.
The IASB’s report was presented to the Board of Education in School District U-46 at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 16. The U-46 administration will offer its recommendations and a board discussion will likely occur at the upcoming Nov. 6 meeting.
Among the proposals is one submitted by four rural school district’s advocating that the IASB lobby the state to allow “administrators, faculty, and/or other staff” to be armed in school. The IASB’s resolution committee recommended against the proposal.
The districts supporting the measure said the resolution “does not compel” but rather “leaves the decision to each local district board to decide what is best for their schools and students.”
The resolution states that staff would have to have “successfully completed a training course approved by the school board and who have passed the multiple background checks and qualifications for and have a current Illinois concealed carry license or a carry license issued under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act to be an active and armed part of the Student Safety and Protection Plan, upon being granted board approval.”
The rationale for the measure is that many schools do not have the resources to hire armed security, and for many schools, especially rural, it “may take up to thirty or more minutes before an effective law enforcement team can arrive on scene in the case of a life-threatening event.”
At least 30 states in the nation either allow or are pursuing the allowance of armed teachers and other school staff. Neighboring states Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri allow it.
The IASB’s resolution committee said issues such as law enforcement response time and resources “were much different in less populated rural areas than in urban or suburban settings” but said it does not trust local control and “the struggle for consensus was borne out of the controversy of having guns inside the school” in its opposition to the proposal.
“Allowing staff to arm themselves, even if they met the requirements for a concealed carry license in Illinois, was not enough training according to the majority of the Committee,” its response stated and “many thought that there should at least be a State standard.”
Another resolution proposed, submitted by Sangamon Valley CUSD 9, was to lobby the state to impose a 1 percent sales tax “across all counties in Illinois” with its rationale that the “tax implemented by every county in Illinois is a viable addition of revenue for public education.”
The IASB’s resolution committee recommends against the proposal this time supporting local control stating “how would members reconcile support of this measure calling for the state to usurp local control where voters in certain counties have defeated increasing sales taxes for school facilities when it’s been placed on the ballot.”
Another proposal, submitted by CUSD 3 Fulton County, advocates “a change in the Open Meetings Act (OMA)” allowing multiple school boards with “shared personnel in relation to performance and contractual matters” to meet in closed session together. The IASB’s resolution committee was opposed to the proposal saying that boards can already do that as “the OMA is silent as to who can enter closed session. Therefore, anyone that a board invites into closed session is allowed to enter closed session.”
The remaining new resolutions proposed were supported by the IASB’s resolution committee including seeking state reimbursement for schools that are used as polling places as well as a change in PARCC testing results “to fairly report discrepancies in the scoring of state required standardized testing.”
A new belief statement submitted by Ball-Chatham CUSD 5 states that the IASB “believes school boards should employ competitive bidding practices for upgrades in technology and energy savings and should also provide energy savings contracting model policy and training opportunities for school districts.” The IASB’s resolution committee agreed with the proposal.