Mt. Vernon Register-News

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October 5, 2013

District 80 hosts IASB meeting

MT. VERNON — Pension reform, school safety and collective bargaining were just some of the key issues discussed at Thursday night's Egyptian Division Fall Dinner Meeting of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

District 80 hosted the informational meeting at the Primary Center and roughly 65 people attended.

Superintendent Mike Green said one of the main goals of the forum was to learn the latest news from Springfield about pending legislation that could impact local schools.

Also, educators at the meeting participated in special breakout sessions to take an in-depth look at collective bargaining, school safety and charter schools.

“It was a really good meeting,” Green said. “I think it's extremely beneficial for school board members to listen to how the state views public schools and how they make decisions. … It's good to hear the latest laws and procedures and how it affects the students.”

One of the presenters Thursday was Roger Eddy, the IASB executive director.

He said the two main education issues on the horizon for the Legislature are pension reform and proposed changes in how schools are funded. These topics could come up during the fall veto session or in the next spring session.

The pension reform issue is of particular concern to local school districts, Eddy said.

According to Eddy, the state is considering shifting the liability for teacher pensions from the state to local school boards.

If implemented, this action could have a devastating impact on schools, which are already struggling with reduced general state aid, tax caps, unfunded mandates, and other challenges, he said.

“School districts now are hurting,” Eddy said. “They're laying off teachers, they're borrowing money, they're raising class sizes, cutting programs. … It's unimaginable that this would be considered at a time when this type of funding crisis is taking place.”

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