New school board’s new challenge … New superintendent!

Thursday, the Rockford School District confirmed rumors which have surrounded Superintendent Sheffield for the past few weeks. The district and the superintendent have agreed to a mutual parting of the ways. LaVonne Sheffield will resign as of April 30, 2011, after less than 2 years at the helm. The current board will approve the severance agreement at their regularly scheduled board meeting next Tuesday night. The agreement includes six months salary, which would be approximately $105,000, since the superintendent had signed a four year...

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New Board makeup present challenges to Sheffield and conflict of interest

With the addition of the three new school board members, Laura Powers, Tim Rollins and Ken Scrivano, the Rockford Board of Education promises to be more business versus educator oriented, more hands on in the decision making process, more transparent in budget development, and less supportive of Superintendent Sheffield. Ken Scrivano, an administrator at Swedish American Hospital,  says that being open and honest and creating an atmosphere where people feel that they will be able to ask questions and receive feedback would be in the...

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Education Association sponsors RSD205 board elections – Conflict of interest?

There is obvious interest by the Rockford Education Association (REA) in the outcome of the April 5 school board elections. That is understandable. But the REA is again sponsoring the election of members to the board of education – conflict of interest, or typical liaison between public employees and those they help elect? All the subdistrict races have candidates associated with teaching or who have direct support from the REA. The Rockford Political Action Committee for Education (RPACE) made no recomendation in subdistrict (E), even...

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Sheffield correct to take priority away from state mandated driver’s education

The district is asking the Illinois State Board of Education for a five-year waiver on offering driver’s education at Rockford schools. The district could save a half million dollars if it outsources the program to private firms. Why do the Illinois taxpayers have to subsidize any costs for drivers education, when it’s the parent’s responsibility to do so? With all the cuts in programs, closing of schools and layoffs of hundreds of staff in the district – parents should pay all the costs for their children to learn how...

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Truth, transparency and trust is needed, on both sides of RSD205 deficit debate

There may be no right or wrong side in the battle of the spreadsheets. There was no conspiracy! But, there certainly were accusations by the REA, that Superintendent Sheffield and her financial administrators were manufacturing a fiscal crisis to suit their own purposes. This statement certainly implies an intentional aspect on the administration’s part to create a crisis while formulating the 2011 budget and the deficit effects on the following year’s (2012) budget requiring cuts in the neighborhood of $50M. The district’s...

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