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In Memory of Edna Loretta Smiley

It’s sad to announce that Edna Loretta Smiley,  93, (Class of 1942) went to join her husband, Lyman, on April 10 after a long struggle with a spinal compression fracture and other problems. Edna was born profoundly deaf and sign language was her primary means of communication. However this did not stop her from having a fruitful life. She was born in 1921 in Peoria, Illinois to her parents, Henry and Ruth Lohrenz. Edna attended the Illinois School for the Deaf graduating with the class of 1942. Went on to be a “Rosie the Riveter” in Ohio during World War II. She later met her future husband, Lyman and married. They had one son, Clifton. They lived in Hammond, Indiana, Elmhurst and Bensenville, Illinois, and finally moved to San Marcos, Texas to be close to their son. Her beloved husband, Lyman, passed away in 2004. Several years after that she moved in with her son and his wife, Cathy and lived there until her final illness. Edna is survived by her son, Clifton and his wife Cathy, three Grandchildren, Greg, Beth, and Bryan as well as 8 great grandchildren. Edna also loved Cliff and Cathy’s dog Alfie who misses her. She will be missed by all. Her smiling face and love for her family were so apparent. The family will have a private celebration of her life. The family would also like to thank Sonia and Kathy of Pride PHC Services for their care of Edna over the past years. In addition during her final illness, the caring staff and Legends of Sonterra made her feel at home as much as possible in her final months.

Town Hall Meeting at JCCD

Town Hall Meeting at JCCD
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
3:30-5:30 pm and/or 7-9 pm
Come and be informed!
SB 220 and HB 2657 will be explained by
Jerry Covell and committee.
Empower yourself and be involved!

In Jacksonville

Please spread the words!






Why the change now?


The recent occurrences with HB2657 and SB220 created a perfect storm for the change which had been in the works for years with the first ISD/ISVI Governance meeting on December 22, 2009 with 21 people representing Governor’s Office, DHS, DRS, ISD, ISVI, ICRE, Illinois Foundation for Deaf Children, ISD Advisory Council, and IMSA. The Governor’s Working Group on Deaf and Blind Education was to examine governance, funding, and other issues associated with the education options for blind and/or deaf students in the State of Illinois.


When the former superintendent retired in July, 2012, the Governor’s Office decided to put on hold the Working Group until a new superintendent was selected. Since May 2013, the Governor’s Office has yet to resume or reconvene the Governor’s Working Group on Deaf and Blind Education.


Moreover, the passage of the Public Act 097-0625 in November 2011 added some new languages to the Disabled Person Rehabilitation Act.  With the new languages, DHS no longer has the authority to appoint and remove ISD and ISVI superintendents and do not hire employees at ISD and ISVI.  The Governor appoints and removes superintendents for each school.  It gives the authority to ISD’s and ISVI’s superintendents to hire employees (direct hiring).  It also established minimum qualifications and experiences that each superintendent must have.  This act was supposed to give each superintendent more autonomy to run their school but the intent of the law was not followed as the Department of Human Services continues to maintain full control of each school after the passage of such law.


Where did you get the governance idea from?


We got the idea from the law that created the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (105 ILCS 305).  The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) was established in 1985 and is a state agency that is funded by the State of Illinois.  IMSA submits their operational budget to the Illinois Board of Higher Education and IMSA presents their budget request before the Appropriation Committee in the Senate and House of Representatives.

IMSA is governed by a Board of Trustees that has 13 members and 5 Ex Officio (non-voting) members.  IMSA does not have any unions (IFT or AFSCME) and they do not follow the licensing requirements established by the Illinois State Board of Education or comply with the School Code.  IMSA has its own hiring procedures and does not go through CMS or abide by the Personnel Code.  In addition, IMSA does not follow the Illinois Procurement Code, not even the Civil Administrative Code, the State Property Control Act, or the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act.  In other words, IMSA functions independently, like a private school and can do whatever it wants as long as it carries out two responsibilities established by the state:

  • offer a uniquely challenging education for students talented in the areas of mathematics and science
  • stimulate further excellence for all Illinois schools in mathematics and science

What will the proposed legislation do?

The proposed legislation, if passed, all the powers, duties, functions, assets, properties, employees, contracts, records, and appropriations that are currently exercised by the Department of Human Services will be transferred to the Illinois School for the Deaf.  This means that ISD will run the school, not DHS.  See Sec. 1(B) and Sec. 2(B).

This proposal, unlike the Illinois Math and Science Academy, retains unions, state benefits/retirements, employees’ salaries, and the budget auspices of a larger agency. It will allow ISD to retain more control to focus efficiently on students and education rather than unnecessary red tape bureaucracy that ISD is experiencing now.  See Sec. 1(B).

Who will run ISD?

The law will require that the Board of Trustees to be established.  The Board of Trustees will be appointed by the Governor.  The Board will be composed of members who have knowledge, background, education, and/or experience with deaf and hard of hearing children.  There will be some Ex Officio (non-voting) members as well.  See Sec. 3

This Board of Trustees will develop its own By-Laws and must comply with the Robert’s Rules of Order.  The board will appoint, supervise, evaluate, and terminate the Superintendent. The board will develop (more likely transferred from DHS’s) rules, regulations, policies, and procedures that the superintendent will have the full autonomy to carry them out.  Decisions made by the Board composed of people who know what is best for the school will be far more efficient and effective than decisionsmade by and from DHS.  See Sec. 4(A)(3) and (5).

Currently, the Superintendent has the ability to make decisions and have the autonomy to run the school, so why the change?


The appearance has been deceiving.  On the outside and by name only, the superintendent should have full autonomy but internally, we see/know who conducts the show.  We assume that the ISD superintendent do have the autonomy but in fact do not.  Any decision that the ISD superintendent make such as hiring, purchases, admissions, budget requests, developing/approving policies, and so forth must be vetted and approved by DHS.  In other words, the superintendent at ISD do have the day to day autonomy as long as it falls within the policies, procedures, and decisions established by the DHS.  If it deviates from such policy or procedure, DHS must be consulted.  In reality, DHS controls everything.  For example, if an organization wants to reserve a room at ISD for some kind of activity, someone in DHS in Springfield must approve it.  Why can’t the ISD superintendent do that right on the spot rather than to go through someone in Springfield? The full autonomy of the school should be transferred to the Board of Trustees who will delegate appropriate day to day autonomy to the superintendent.  See Sec. 4(A)(5).


What will happen to the unions – IFT, AFSCME, and other bargaining units at ISD?

Nothing will happen.  IFT, AFSCME, and other bargaining units will still represent ISD employees.  The proposed law still keeps the unions.  This is actually written into the proposed legislation and is different than how it was written for IMSA.  See Sec. 4(A)(6) and 4(B)(8).


What will happen to the current employees at ISD?

Nothing!  All current employees will remain employed.

How or where will ISD get its money?

The State of Illinois will continue to fund ISD.  ISD will submit its operational budget request to DHS which will be included in DHS appropriation request.  ISD will present its budget request before the Appropriation Committees.  It is similar to IMSA.  See Sec. 2(C).

If ISD submits an operational budget request to DHS, does that imply that DHS will control the money?

No, DHS will have no say or control of the money as it will be controlled, decided, and expended by the Board of Trustees and the superintendent through ISD’s business office. DHS will act as a fiscal agent (or if one prefers, a vehicle) for ISD.  See Sec. 2(C).

The proposed legislation will transfer everything from the DHS to ISD which involves millions of dollars, property and assets.  Would this be a deal breaker for DHS?


Yes, it probably would upset DHS but frankly they do not own the money, property, and assets.  The State of Illinois does. To be honest, DHS would not care as ISD’s budget is small compared to the millions and millions of dollars that DHS receives.  It will hurt the pride of the Division of Rehabilitation Services more as we are telling them that they basically failed to operate ISD in an efficient and effective manner.  The Division of Rehabilitation Services (where ISD is housed within the DHS) is in the business of rehabilitating people while the Illinois School for the Deaf is in the business of educating deaf and hard of hearing children as it is ISD’s mission “to educate students who are deaf and hard of hearing to become responsible, self-supporting citizens” which is something DHS/DORS have failed to recognize.  See Sec. 2(B).


Why not move to a different agency?

We can move to any agency but it is preferred to go to an agency that will treat ISD as an educational institution rather than a state agency.  IMSA is assigned to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.  ISD can be assigned to any agency such as ISBE, IBHE, or stay with DHS.  The Illinois Board of Higher Education would be a good choice for ISD because of its successful relationship and experience with IMSA.  It is safe to assume that IBHE would treat ISD the same way and allow ISD to function independently. 

Why stay with DHS?

The only reason for remaining with DHS is to alleviate some people’s concerns that if ISD is moved to another agency or become independent stand alone agency, it could bring more attention and be subjected to more budget oversights by the Governor’s office and legislators.  ISD could end up on the chopping block if they are to cut money from somewhere. If we submit our budget through a larger agency, we may avoid being the target of budget cuts. If ISD stays with DHS as a fiscal agent and request our budget through them, we draw less attention than if we move to another agency like ISBE or IBHE.

What happens to all the responsibilities that DHS has in the Disabled Person Rehabilitation Act (20 ILCS 2405/10 to 2405/13(m))?

Almost all of the sections from that Act have been written into the proposed legislation.  If and when the proposed legislation becomes a law, ISD will assume all duties and responsibilities that DHS is currently running.  In other words, DHS will no longer have any responsibilities regarding ISD except to submit ISD’s operational budget requests.  See Sec. 5 and 6.

Will the Governor still appoint ISD superintendent?

If the proposed law passes, no. The Governor will no longer appoint ISD superintendent.  The authority to hire, evaluate, discipline and terminate ISD superintendent will be given to the Board of Trustees.  See Sec. 4(A)(5).

If the proposed law is not effective prior to July 1, 2015, the Governor may re-appoint Dr. Janice Warshaw or appoint a new person as the next superintendent of ISD.

Will the proposed legislation change qualifications of ISD’s superintendent?

No, it will not.  The current or future superintendent of ISD must comply with the School Code which requires an administrative license with a superintendent endorsement.  Also the superintendent must have college degrees in both educational administration and deaf education along with 15 years experience in deaf education or administration of deaf education.  See Sec. 4(A)(5).

We expect ISD’s superintendent to be highly qualified and follow all standards established by the School Code.

Will the qualifications of ISD educators change?

No.  All educators must comply with the education and licensing requirements under the School Code.  We expect our educators to be highly qualified. 

HB2657, if passed, will encourage and allow more deaf educators from out of state/teacher training programs for the deaf other than MacMurray College and ISU to apply at ISD.   

Will the hiring process at ISD be less complicated?

Yes! For two reasons….

1. The proposed legislation eliminates DHS’ control over ISD including its slow hiring process (including posting, interviewing, selection, and Part B).  The proposed legislation will allow ISD to deal with CMS directly and make all hiring decisions.  ISD still will comply with Electronic Personnel Action Request (ePAR), Personnel Code, collective bargaining agreements, Rutan ruling on interviewing and selection, and Part B approval from Governor’s Office on Management and Budget.

2. The current legislation, SB220-Amendment #1 will exempt educators at ISD and ISVI from certain Jurisdiction B (testing, grading and eligibility list only).  The hiring of educators for ISD will be much easier and quicker.

Note: The same Jurisdiction B exemption was given to the Department of Juvenile Justice last year after experiencing difficulties in hiring educators in a timely manner.  A few weeks ago, the Department of Juvenile Justice reported that they were able to quickly hire and fill teaching positions. 

Is it necessary to change the names of the school?


No. The name will remain the same.  The deaf community and some educators preferred that we keep “Illinois School for the Deaf” while others wanted to remove “for the” and name it “Illinois Deaf School.


What is HB2657?   

HB2657 makes several significant changes to the School Code.  This legislation will have an impact on the educators at ISD as there are changes concerning a provisional educator or career and technical educator endorsement on an educator license with stipulations, a substitute teaching license, a general administrative endorsement and a superintendent endorsement on a Professional Educator License, educator testing, educators trained in other states or countries, professional development activities.

What is SB220-Amendment #1?

This amendment provides partial Jurisdiction B exemption to educators at ISD and ISVI which means the applicants who apply for ISD or ISVI teaching positions will just submit their applications to ISD directly instead of CMS (to be graded when they are already licensed and qualified by the Illinois State Board of Education).  This will speed up the hiring of the educators for both ISD and ISVI.


As of March 13, 2015

Allocated Positions: 229.8
Not Funded: 19.8
Vacant Positions: 13
Total Positions: 197
Total Non-Deaf/Hard of Hearing Employees: 147 – 75%
Total Deaf/Hard of Hearing Employees: 50 – 25%
Total ISD Alumni: 31 – 62%

School Administration
Administrators: 10
Principal of 0-3 Program
Principal of Pre-K to 8
Principal of High School
Principal of Career and Technical Education
Director of Evaluation
Director of Admission
*Interim Director of Student Life
*Athletic Director

Head Nurse
*Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 3 – 30%

Academic Program
Academic Staff: 53
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 11 – 21%

Educators: 45
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 5 – 11%

Instructors: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 50%

Aides: 6
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 5 – 83%

0-3 Program
Educators: 3
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Educators: 0 – 0%

Pre K to 8 (includes Physical Education)
Educators: 16
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Educators: 1 – 6%

Aides: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Aide: 1 – 50%

High School (Includes Physical Education and Media Center)/PE/Media
Educators: 17
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Educators: 4 – 24%

Aides: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Aides: 2 – 100%

Career and Technical Education (formerly known as vocational program)
Educators: 8
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Educators: 0 – 0%

Instructors: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Instructors: 1 – 50%

Aides: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Aides: 2 – 100%

Residential Program (including after school activities)
Residential Program Staff: 60
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 26 – 43%

Dorm Supervisors: 8
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 2 – 25%

Residential Care Workers: 50
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 24 – 48%

Recreation Workers: 3
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Support Services
Support Services Staff: 16
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 5 – 31%

Audiologist: 1
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Speech-Language Pathologist: 1
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Social Worker: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 50%

Psychologist:: 1
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 100%

American Sign Language Educator/Instructor: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 2 – 100%

Transition Program Coordinator: 1
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 100%

Staff Developmental Specialists: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 50%

Part-Time Staff Development Specialists: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Nurses – 4
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Non-Direct Services
Non-Direct Service Staff: 53
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 4 – 8%

Dietary Workers: 13
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 8%

Business Office Workers: 10
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 2 – 20-%

Personnel: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Admissions: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Information Technology: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 50%

Power Plant Workers: 15
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Housekeeping: 10
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Guard: 1
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Clerical Support
Clerical Staff: 5
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 20%

Secretary: 2
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 0 – 0%

Office Coordinator: 3
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 1 – 33%

Vacant Positions (13)
Assistant Superintendent
Director of Student Life
Educator – High School
Educator – Pre K – 8
General Educator
Educator – Temp
2 – Sign Language Interpreters
Information Services Specialist
Account Technician
Office Coordinator

ISDAA President’s statement on HB 2657 and SB 220(3)


ISDAA President Susan Dramin-Weiss explains about school code and personnel code; HB 2657 and SB 220(3).