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Governance Subcommittee Minutes 

Monday, November 28, 2011 | 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Meeting Location: DHS-DRS Office Building, Suter Conference Room - 3rd Floor; 400 W. Lawrence Springfield, IL
Telephone: (888) 363-4735

Members Present in Springfield/By Phone

Kris Smith
Marybeth Lauderdale
Margaret Vaughn
Randy Shearburn
Marcia Breese
Elizabeth Gastelum
Deb Murrill
Nicole Wills
Denise Avant
Tomi Minner
John Little
Dan Thompson
Jane Breen
Howard Thomas
Cynthia Riseman
Ray Campbell
Marjorie Olson
Janet Lambert
John Miller

Charge of the Committee and Identification of Issues

Kris Smith, Chairperson, called the meeting to order and discussed the materials that were distributed prior to the meeting. Materials are attached. The group is charged with the task o making recommendations to the larger group regarding the most appropriate setting for the schools to function. Past discussions have centered around areas of concern that affect the schools ability to function.

Areas of concern raised:

  • Budget
  • Hiring practices and procedures
  • Procurement issues
  • Recognition that they are schools

Review of Documents

***Documents reviewed may be found here***

The subcommittee reviewed the documents provided prior to the meeting. Much of the preliminary work on ISD/ISVI Governance had been done approx. one or two years prior at the request of then Director, Robert Kilbury and Asst. Secretary Grace Hou. Several documents were complied which compared similar state schools governance structure. Additionally, ISD completed a study of various Governance options such as moving under IBHE, functioning as an Independent School District, an Independent agency reporting to the Governor and lastly, the option of staying under DHS. Both ISD and ISVI staff and stakeholders were involved in the development of the materials.  Upon completion of review from other states and with partnering agencies, the document was provided to DHS. To date, no decisions had been made.

ISD Committee on Governance researched four schools ( Maryland, Texas, Arizona, Florida) Both Arizona and Florida are combined Schools for the Deaf as well as students who are Visually Impaired. Marcia Breese, ISD, provided a summary of the findings on how these four entities functioned.

There were other suggestions for additional research to be conducted. Ray Campbell suggested looking at the Washington State School for the Blind. The group believes that both ISD and ISVI should be considered as providing educational resource information, and provide technical assistance/training on a statewide basis as well as providing educational services  as part of the continuum of educational options for students who are Deaf or Visually Impaired. There have been some schools that have closed over the past few years and other state schools are having difficulty with their budgets such as North Carolina who will be merging their campus'. Some schools located in New York have been threatened with either closure or privatization.

Margaret Vaughn mentioned SB 170 as recently enacted legislation that discusses the roles of Superintendent of schools and allows for two Superintendents to be named and also discusses hiring practices at the schools and that may assist in the issues of hiring practices and procedures at the school.  There was an issue of which staff was covered under this bill. Kris Smith will forward the bill to all the subcommittee members for review at the next meeting.  Staff will have to still following the Rutan hiring practice.  Although hiring is covered, Marybeth Lauderdale mentioned that we are still concerned with the budget aspect of the hiring's.

Ray Campbell stated that it is important for the committee to understand the current work of the schools, be mindful of the stakeholders who are also part of the decision making process ( teachers/unions, etc.). Identify what we feel is the best place for the schools and then determine the additional steps needed to be taken to accomplish this.

The committee talked briefly about whether the campus' could be combined. The group mentioned that there are "cultural" differences between the two groups. Although there may be some administrative functions that could be combined. Marybeth felt that ISD could accommodate approximately 400 students. Programming needs to take into account age ranges, sex, staffing. Marybeth Lauderdale felt that the ISD campus was not big enough and didn't have the building structures that would allow for the students needs (academically and socially) to be met.

There was discussion concerning the amount of money received by state Lab. Schools. Their receipt of funding per student as well as reimbursement for certified and non certified staff. Cynthia from ISBE discussed funding levels for this type of structure as well as how schools rates for sending students to co-ops are paid. It is different for each school district. Many committee members felt that the funding that each school provides for the student based upon where they are receiving services should "follow" the student, if in fact, the student attends either one of the residential schools.

Next Steps

  • ISBE is conducting an Internet survey with other state schools to determine how they are funded.
  • Marcia Breese will also request additional information from the schools noted in the documents to determine how they are funded in addition to the models of governance.
  • Ray Campbell is researching the Washington School for the Blind and how they function.
  • Kris Smith will distributed all the materials to the committee so that they can be reviewed more thoroughly prior to the next meeting.