Leadership Matters April 2014 1

A new IASA website…and talk of possible new revenue sources for schools

surcharge on millionaires or somewhere else. Many of our school districts are heavily dependent on state aid and they are struggling financially to continue to provide top- notch educational opportunities for children all across the state. We need to see more details of Governor Quinn’s proposal, but it is certainly worth studying as is Speaker Madigan’s plan to provide a new source of revenue for schools. Politics aside, we need funding help from somewhere because, as superintendents painfully know, school districts all over the state are being suffocated by deeper and deeper state funding cuts and more and more unfunded mandates. IASA unveils new website As you saw on the cover, we are very pleased to introduce IASA’s new website. The process has taken several months to design, build and populate the website, a joint effort between our staff and a company called Schoolwires. I think you will find that the new website has a clean, progressive look and that it is quite user-friendly. Those were our main goals when we set out to redesign the site. On the front page of the new website you will find:  A daily listing of education headlines and stories from around the state and the nation;  Legislative and professional development updates;  Access to current and back issues of our award- winning online monthly newsletter Leadership Matters;  A calendar of important upcoming events and links to our various programs and products . Much of our information is for all visitors, but some items do require member log-in. We also have changed the former “Superintendent’s Workplace” into what we think is a more robust, easier-to- use forum renamed the “Superintendent’s Corner.” This new forum allows users to customize their own dashboards with the groups they wish to include and makes it much easier to include and access attachments and documents. “Superintendent’s Corner” has many features and we encourage you to explore them. In this issue of Leadership Matters, we have included a User’s Guide to the overall website and also to “Superintendent’s Corner.” We have the ability to continue to add information to the website and also to tweak parts of the website, so we certainly welcome your input and your suggestions. We encourage you to explore this new website and to visit often to keep up with what’s going on with IASA and in the field of public education in Illinois.  Our association’s most timely news items;  A live Twitter feed; and

The votes had barely been counted when House Speaker Michael Madigan fired the first shot in what promises to be one of the wildest, most contentious election campaigns in Illinois history. It looks like schools will be one of the hot-button issues considering Madigan’s proposal for a 3 percent tax on millionaires and Governor

Message from the Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark

Quinn’s plan to make permanent the income tax hike. Madigan’s proposal is simple enough on the surface: Add a 3 percent surcharge to annual income in excess of $1 million and distribute the money as a block grant to school districts to the tune of about $550 per student if the surcharge generates the nearly $1 billion per year that Madigan estimated. However, the state constitution must be amended to change the income tax structure, and approval by a 3/5 majority of the House and Senate is required by May 5 to place the question on the November ballot. Madigan has 71 Democrats in the House, and he would need every one of those votes unless he can attract some Republican support. Senate President John Cullerton has a larger Democrat majority in the Senate if the measure can pass the House. Once on the ballot, the measure probably would have a good chance of passing given recent poll results and the fact that the surcharge would affect only some 13,675 millionaires, according to Madigan’s statistics. Of course, the devil is always in the details. Madigan’s plan for distribution is for a simple amount per student as opposed to the funding going into the complex state school funding formula, but that is certain to warrant legislative debate. And there remains skepticism about whether this funding might go the way of the Lottery money for education and simply be used to supplant school funding. Governor Quinn followed Madigan’s act with his Budget Address, where he said he wants to make permanent the state income tax increase, provide homeowners an annual $500 refund and invest $6 billion in education during the next five years. His five-year budget plan also includes $100 million a year for Early Childhood Education and doubling the MAP college scholarships. Quinn’s Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, to no one’s surprise opposed both ideas to generate revenue, but Rauner has yet to lay out any specifics of his budget plan. I was encouraged to hear Governor Quinn emphasize the importance of public education to the future of our state. He absolutely was correct when he said that public education is the great equalizer. We have to have more funding for our public schools, whether it comes from extending the income tax, a


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