Breakout Sessions

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Find exhibit hours, events and new microlearning opportunities! 
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Tuesday Sessions

8:00am - 9:00am

The Strategic SFO: Lessons from Social Media

Understand the benefit and importance of professional learning networks and how social media can increase your knowledge and influence as a school business leader.

Don't Eat the Moldy Sandwich: Recruit to Win

Get hands-on advice and insight on energy purchasing and contracting and how they affect your school district. The Illinois Energy Consortium will deliver gas and energy market updates, energy analytics, examples and success stories. Learn about energy broker and supplier sales strategies as well as energy contract pitfalls.

Mind the Generational Gap

From the perspective of a Baby Boomer, Gen Xer and millennial, learn how to effectively collaborate, communicate, lead and coexist.

Cooperative Purchasing & Other Purchasing Issues

Do you know your options in utilizing cooperative purchasing contracts? Come discuss alternate bidding requirements, justification and contracting issues, as well as terms and conditions to be included in school contracts.

Issues Impacting Financings in the Current Market

Get a detailed review of current market conditions, financing and refinancing strategies and opportunities for districts in the current market. Hear about refunding Build America bonds as well as other issues and considerations relevant to refundings or project financings in the near term.

Legislative Update from the School Management Alliance

Hear from the School Management Alliance about bills being considered in Springfield affecting school districts.

Has Your District Opted Out of NSLP? What's Next?

Did your district opt to withdraw from the NSLP, or are you a candidate to do so? Get insights from experienced school professionals about your options and next steps.

Sustainability on YOUR Budget

Whether you have significant capital project funds, are using grants or are looking at more creative financing options, learn how other districts have found funds to fit sustainability projects into their individual budgets.

9:10am - 10:10am

Strategic Financial Reporting

Numerous perspectives and backgrounds are critical to developing operational and financial goals and plans for a school district. How do you bridge financial and academic perspectives, along with board and community priorities? Join an interactive discussion of strategic and financial goals, using the budget to support goals and working with non-financial people to accomplish goals.

Financial Planning & Long-Term Projections: Communication Strategies

Tired of talking to the wall when presenting your financial projections? Come hear about the importance of projections and how to get your board to engage in your presentations.

Communication Strategies for New CSBOs

New to the profession? Come and learn effective strategies for school business officials to communicate your story.

Benefits for Non-Benefit Eligible Employees

Do you find your district competing with employers such as coffee shops, grocery stores, warehouses or fast food restaurants who are offering lower wage earners competitive pay and benefits? Unlike days past, in today’s workforce districts need to be able to market themselves to attract and maintain their workforce. Learn some creative benefit solutions to help you attract and retain non-benefit eligible employees, as well as provide enhancements to your benefit-eligible staff.

Panel Discussion on Marijuana in Schools

Hear from legal and risk management professionals about how new marijuana laws impact your district and employment practices.

Challenges in Implementing Legislation

When new a law or mandate passes that impacts your district, what’s next? Join an interactive session to discuss the challenges and workarounds in living with a new law.

Utility Incentives 101: Spending Other People's Money

Learn how to utilize utility company incentives to stretch your budget. Incentives can help make projects viable and help return annual operating savings while embracing greener practices for your district.

Stop-Arm Systems

Learn how to help prevent stop-arm violations! Understand how it works, what you need, automated vs. manual and generating revenue.

10:20am - 11:20pm

Current Bond Market Dynamics, Debt Issuance Trends & Financing Strategies

From the amount of municipal bond supply to activities of the Federal Reserve to the state of local, state and national economies, understand which factors in the municipal bond market can impact a district’s cost of borrowing. Explore recent debt issuance trends in light of the Tax Reform Act of 2018 and financing strategies to achieve capital funding goals, keeping in mind the political climate and challenges in Illinois.

GASB Update: Everything You Need to Know

Get an update on the Governmental Accounting Standard Board and regulatory reporting matters that may impact your district's financial statements.

ESSA Site Based Reporting: What Did We Learn from Year One?

Now that we have completed our 2019 ESSA Site-Based Expenditure Reporting, what did we learn from the process? How can we improve our communication strategies? What will we do differently in 2020?

A New Way to Bid that will Change Your Life

Join an expert panel to discusses potential legislation on the NSLP bid process that will change the way you bid. There are 48 other states that do not have to use low bid on NSLP and Illinois is about to become number 49! Find out how to improve food quality and increase participation in your food service program.

If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands

Productive teams, good health and a relaxed work setting may sound too good to be true, but could be attainable with the strategies you will learn from this session. Don’t worry, be happy!

RANSOMWARE: Prevention, Detection & the Cyber Insurance Response

Familiarize yourself with malware and ransomware and how to protect your endpoints against intrusion. Learn the latest ransomware trends and best practices to avoid falling victim to these cyberthreats.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Grant Guidance

Focus on the preparation, coordination, submission and maintenance of the IDEA grants. Gain some useful tips to help you in writing your IDEA grant.

Connecting Student Performance with Facility Performance

Learning spaces matter! Find out how Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) focused design provides a more sustainable, healthy and productive learning environment. Understand various aspects of the learning environment that promote student well-being while reducing operational costs through sustainable choices in materials and systems.

1:15pm - 2:30pm - Goldmine Session
Rotate between 15-minute roundtable discussions of your choice and learn from subject matter experts. See a list of goldmine session topics.

1:30pm - 2:30pm - Breakout Sessions

Lessons Learned from Referendums

Thinking about referendums? Prepare for success by hearing lessons learned on planning and executing a referendum from a financial lens.

Capital Bill/Construction Grants: What is the Latest?

What is up with the Capital Bill? What should you keep in mind as you plan for your district’s capital project needs? Learn about the recommendations from the School Construction Task Force regarding the Capital Bill allocation and application process. Understand past capital funding programs and what practices may carry forward into the new construction grant program.

2020 Legal Hot Topics

Learn everything you need to know about current laws affecting your district in one thoroughly entertaining hour.

Illinois Politics in 2020

Take a look at Illinois politics in the post-Rauner era, assessing the progress of Gov. Pritzger and predicting what is ahead for the state in 2020 and beyond.

Thursday Sessions

7:30am — 8:30am

Energy Purchasing & Contracting: Opportunities & Unforeseen Dangers

Get hands-on, professional advice and insight on energy purchasing and contracting and how they affect your school district. The Illinois Energy Consortium will deliver gas and energy market updates, energy analytics, examples and success stories. Learn about energy broker and supplier sales strategies as well as energy contract pitfalls.

Student Data Protection
Goldmine Session

Strike gold at your last conference session! Rotate between 15-minute roundtable discussions of your choice and learn from subject matter experts. See a list of topics here.

Wednesday Sessions

8:00am — 9:00am

Best Practices for Student Activity Accounts

Join a discussion of day-to-day best practices for managing student activity accounts.

How Would You Handle That?

Join an open-ended discussion with your peers about how you would handle different scenarios directly affecting budgeting and long-term financial planning.

Facilities Information Session

Come join your peers in mapping the path for future professional development in facilities operations. Hear an outline of the current offerings and each program's goals and objectives.

Small District Leadership

How do you move a district forward with little to no staff? How do you prioritize your time, decisions and deadlines? Come learn how to make a BIG impact at a small district.

Surviving a Strike in the Days of Social Media

District administrators and legal counsel will discuss the impact of social media during the recent teacher strike in Murphysboro, providing tips to help you prepare your district for a possible strike.

Strategic Budgeting & Financial Planning

With increased financial scrutiny from your communities and new site-based financial reporting, accurate budgeting is even more critical for today's CSBO. Learn best practices for historical budget analysis, current budget development, monitoring and financial forecasting that will help your district have the best possible information available to make data-driven decisions.

School Security: Tackling the Tough Issues

Administrators must answer many difficult questions regarding school safety. Topics include guns, locks, detection systems, barricades, and others. Come learn about current issues, get your questions answered and leave with helpful resources.

Property Tax Reform: Plan B

Join an interactive discussion of other ideas to present to legislators if property tax reform appears likely to pass and we need to have a Plan B. The results of the session will be shared with our lobbying partners.

9:10am — 10:10am

Methods to Reduce Interest Costs When Issuing Bonds

You can help your district reduce its borrowing cost and increase future flexibility with strategic decision making each time you borrow. There are a number of decisions to consider when selling bonds. Come and discuss how to use these to your advantage!

Building Your Brand  

Join your colleagues from the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association to learn effective ways to build your district’s brand.

Purchasing & Procurement for Food Service Programs

Whether you purchase food and supplies for meal programs as a district or participate in a self-operated purchasing cooperative, gain best practices for an efficient and effective procurement processes that provides your district with the best bang for your buck.

Excellence Through Customer Service

Explore strategies, ideas and tactics that help you work smarter, not harder. Learn how to engage your colleagues to ensure that branding, customer service and people are the highlight of the work you do in your district.

Basics of School Finance: Revenues

Learn about local revenue, the property tax cycle and the ins and outs of the tax levy. Plus, hear an overview of the Evidence-Based Funding Formula and federal grants.

Legislative Update from Lawyers

Get insights from a legal perspective on bills being considered in Springfield affecting school districts.

Best Practices for School Purchasing, Bidding & Construction

School purchasing, bidding and construction can be full of potential problems. Join a panel of experienced professionals, including a director of facilities, CSBO, former school board member and construction manager, school architect and school attorney as they discuss the common purchasing and construction problems and provide practical solutions.

Building Security & Technology

Discuss how to fully integrate building security with technology including video surveillance, door access control, intercom, display signage and telephones for a seamless security experience.

10:20am — 11:20am

Understanding Your AFR

The Annual Financial Report (AFR) submitted to ISBE has many components that are important for anyone supporting the business office to understand. Join us for a tab by tab overview of the AFR.

Budgeting Your Time

As CSBOs, we don't just budget money; we need to our budget time as well. With the increasing demands in our workplaces this is more important now than ever. Find out some tools to aid in budgeting your time and discuss strategies with your peers.

IDEA Grant Guidance

This is an informal Q & A session with ISBE IDEA grant coordinators. Instead of a traditional presentation, this is an excellent opportunity to ask the experts any specific questions you have regarding the IDEA grant.

Private Use of Bond-Financed Facilities: What to Know & Avoid

Most districts issue their bonds on a tax-exempt basis, as “governmental use” bonds. In an effort to support public purposes, the IRS imposes limits on the benefit that private entities can derive from bond-financed facilities. Come discuss common types of business arrangements that would be considered “private use” and could cause bonds to lose tax-exempt status. Understand post-issuance compliance from a federal tax standpoint and gain tips for monitoring compliance.

Ed360 Financial Dashboard

Ed360, a free dashboard created by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), now features a financial dashboard providing informational resources linking ISBE's existing financial applications, including the Annual Financial Report, program reimbursement, grant management and EBF. Come learn about this responsive "one-stop-shop" to assist with financial planning.

Fostering Community Involvement with Capital Improvements

Learn to utilize different communication methods to gain community input and support for long-range, high cost capital improvement projects.

Basics of School Finance: Expenditures

Review business office operations and the business administrator's role in managing cash, meeting budgeting responsibilities, purchasing, state financial reporting and overseeing the expenditure process – including ESSA requirements.

School Security: From Prioritization to Procurement

Against the backdrop of budget constraints, stakeholders must be identified, roles established and the project scope defined — all prior to procurement. Dive into topics including evaluating and refining school security measures, involving first responders, physical arrangement of controlled vestibules, security hardware vs. software and training front-line employees. Bring your questions to this important discussion!

Maximize Resources: Special Education Funding, Staffing & Programs

Join a crash course on special education for the CSBO/CFO! Learn what you need to know to maximize revenues, control costs and build stronger relationships with your special education department.

2:30pm — 3:30pm

TRS Employer Reporting Update

Are you prepared for the upcoming changes to TRS reporting? Public Act 100-0769 was passed August 10, 2018 to implement a voluntary defined contribution (DC) plan for TRS members. To accommodate this change, TRS is migrating from its current annual reporting process to pay-period based reporting. The anticipated reporting process change is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020. Come and find out how this will impact your district!

The Human Element: Connecting Business & People

Forming a strong relationship between the business office and human resources is essential to a school district's success. Learn best practices for developing and sustaining this important partnership.

Proactive Fraud Prevention

Proactive fraud prevention measures can help reduce fraud risks, enable key personnel to concentrate on your core educational mission and ensure that your district avoids embarrassing and costly investigations of financial malfeasance, misappropriation of funds and other fraudulent conduct.

What is the Real Condition of Our Facilities? A Look Behind the Curtain

Take an in-depth look at common facility needs, maintenance issues and security deficiencies. Learn the ins and outs of facility and security assessments and how to identify concerns, develop a solution, budget the work, complete the corrections and maintain the solution.

Funding Solar Projects

Find out from a panel of experts the ins, outs, ups and downs of funding solar projects.

EBF & Site-Based Reporting Update

Get an update on implementation of the new ESSA Site-Based Reporting and hear about EBF changes currently being considered in Springfield.

Risk Management 101

Learn about top risks for school districts and how to manage them.

Creating an IT Master Plan

Many schools conduct strategic planning district-wide, but few prepare IT master plans. Learn why and how an IT master plan can help your district grow and succeed in using technology to enhance education.