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Six U-46 representatives to attend IASB event


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 unanimously approved travel and registration expenses for them and U-46 CEO Tony Sanders to attend the annual Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) conference at its meeting on Monday, July 15.
  The vote was 4-0 as board members John Devereux, Veronica Noland and Donna Smith were absent.
  The IASB conference will take place in November and five board members (Smith, Sue Kerr, Melissa Owens, Eva Porter and Kate Thommes) along with Sanders have signed up to attend according to the proposal. The board approved an expenditure in a “not to exceed” amount of $4,500.
  “The Triple I Joint Annual Conference will be held in Chicago November 22-24, 2019,” wrote Evelyn Bevins, assistant to the CEO for board matters, in a memo. “The cost to attend the conference is $499.00 per person. Lodging requires a $200.00 (non-refundable) per room deposit at the time of booking. The costs of lodging are up to $205.00 (without tax) per room per night. Registration opened Monday, June 10, 2019.”
  The IASB is a lobbyist organization, and the annual conference includes a business meeting where district representatives will vote on what the organization should lobby for.
  Board members will also be able to attend workshops such as one titled “Equity: An Educational Imperative” which will teach them about their “unconscious” biases according to a description on the IASB website.
  “Have you ever felt as if you just don’t know what to say anymore to someone culturally different? And you’re not sure if you’re doing something to offend or demean others when you have the best of intentions?” the description reads.
  The description adds: “In this fast-paced, interactive seminar, you will receive greater confidence and skill practice in valuing and working across racial and cultural differences and will have mutual support to identify unconscious, exclusive behaviors which we all exhibit at times. You will focus on how to contribute to the school district’s mission and strategic focus on student preparedness and excellence for all students. You’ll leave understanding the important and central role you play in creating an equitable school environment that leads to greater student success.”
  The IASB has sparked controversy on previous boards. In 2017, former board member Phil Costello described his experience as the U-46 voting representative for the business meeting and he called it “interesting and disturbing at the same time” and “the whole process seemed rather sanitized.”
  “They implicitly do not represent the interests of our taxpayers which contradicts this group’s usefulness to me,” Costello said at the time. He said he “was disappointed with the presenters’ core knowledge and expressed interest in charting only positive news, which seems counter-intuitive to me” and added he’s “apprehensive about relegating our voice to a group that cannot hold our legislators individually responsible for their voting records.”

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