Breakout Sessions

Get excited about what awaits you at the conference.

AC21_Icon_schedule.pngConference Schedule
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Connect to Sessions that Advance Your Profession

Illinois ASBO professional development committees are working hard to create relevant sessions that cater to your specific needs as a school business professional. Earn up to 9 PD Clock hours at this year's conference!
Get Up-to-date Information in the App!


Please note that to reduce touch points for the safety of staff and attendees, there will not be a printed session program available at the conference. Onsite, event and session information will exclusively be available in the conference app and you must download the app to scan in for PD credit. 

** Indicates a session that will be live streamed for virtual attendees


Wednesday Sessions

9:00am - 10:00am

Taxpayer Relief Option: Fiscal Responsibility Law **

For many districts there is constant pressure to keep taxes as low as possible. Hear two case studies with pros and cons of districts that sent checks to their taxpayers as an alternative or additional strategy to levy abatements. Bring questions!

Understanding Bank Technology & What You’re Really Earning on Deposits

New banking technologies offer school districts tools to improve fiscal controls, operate more efficiently and gain timely access to information on cash positions. Gain insights on new technologies and help organizations understand what you earn on bank deposits, which in many cases is less than stated earnings rates.

Lessons Learned from the Trenches **

Panelists will share lessons they learned while dealing with the pandemic, including the legal framework that served as the springboard for decisions. Topics will include decision-making, safety and sanitation, in-person versus remote learning and union implications.

Combating Short Construction Schedules **

Summers seem to be getting shorter and shorter, placing stress on the already tight construction schedules required to limit disruption and to get kids back in school. These challenges are exacerbated by Covid-19. Explore strategies to combat the challenges of tight construction schedules and ways to help set up your district's for success.

Issues Impacting the Financing 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 and other issues and considerations relevant to refundings or project financings in the near term.

E-Rate & Tech Funding

Get your questions answered about E-Rate and other technology funding grants that are available.


10:15am - 11:15am

Cash Flow in Uncertain Times

Review the fundamentals of putting together a cash flow and explore tips for how to manage when there are uncertain expenditures and revenues that the district has to deal with. 

Why Should I Care About the Pension Problem? **

Learn the facts related to pension funding and projections at both the state and local level and discuss how these financial burdens can impact school districts. Knowledge of this topic will allow CSBO's to be a proactive participant in this conversation locally and with the BOE.

Improving Communication with Your Superintendent & Board **

Looking to improve communication with your superintendent and board? A panel of representatives from Hawthorn School District 73, including the business manager, superintendent and board members, will lead conversations on defining roles, setting timelines and managing expectations. Learn easy to implement communication strategies and meeting structures.

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.

Procuring Equipment

Review how owner procured equipment is integrated into the design and construction process. Discuss when decisions should be made and how they can affect the overall project schedule.

Managing COVID-19 Revenues & Expenditures & Their Impact on Operations

Discussion of the revenues and expenditures in a COVID-19 environment, and the operational impact that need to be addressed in FY22 and beyond.


1:30pm - 2:30pm

How a Financial Advisor Can Impact the Cost of a Bond Issue

Review the various costs of a bond issue and how a financial advisor can have a positive impact on them. Become more informed for the next school district bond issue.

What You Need to Know: State of Illinois 457 & IRS Regulation Changes **

There has been a lot of confusion around the new State of Illinois 457 plan. Get clarification on what is and what is not required with the State of Illinois 457 plan and recent IRS Regulation changes.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 101 for School Business Officials **

What is Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) anyway? Learn the basics of DEI and its importance to the SBO role. Discover how you can be a student advocate for equity and hear from past and present Illinois ASBO Board Members who are leading DEI efforts in our Association and at the State level.

Punchlist & Project Closeout

Get an overview of a construction project closeout and review the types of documents you should expect to be included in a project at closeout and why they are important. Learn what you can expect on a punchlist including descriptions of the anticipated timeline and responsibilities for addressing them. 

Opening up the Black Box of Special Education **

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

Impact of COVID-19 on Property Tax Revenue & Rates

Stay tuned for full session details!

You Can't Make this Stuff Up: Legal Review

Hear two experienced school lawyers discuss the legal highs and lows of the year and get advice on how to respond in your district.


2:45pm - 3:45pm

GASB Update: Moving Past the Pandemic **

2020 provided a lot of challenges for districts. While some accounting standards were given a one year reposite to allow districts to cope, 2021 means that some of those pending accounting challenges are back. Districts will need to focus on several key areas of accounting and financial reporting in 2021. Hear GASB experts discuss the impacts on districts in 2021 and provide recommendations for implementation for future relevant standards.

Building a Relationship with New Board Members **

Do you have new board members after the recent election? Hear from an experienced business manager on successful strategies and learn available tools to help you successfully educate newcomers on the state of the district finances.

Legislative Update: Legal Compliance Matters for CSBOs

Hear two seasoned school attorneys discuss both federal and state legislation passed during the past year that impacts public schools, and the steps that must be taken to comply with these new laws. These attorneys will discuss pending and contemplated legislation that might be considered during special sessions or the fall veto session that could impact public education and the business office. Review current cases and judgements impacting existing legislation related to FOIA, OMA, ESSA, IDEA, Title IX, Labor Board Decisions and discuss a variety of other matters.

Women in Leadership; Bossy or Bold? Excitable or Enthusiastic? Indecisive or Inspirational? **

A candid discussion on the challenges that female leaders face and strategies to navigate gender expectations and bias in leadership roles

Co-op Purchasing

Cooperative purchasing is expanding every year as an efficient and practical method of purchasing and even construction. A panel of school professionals will explain the law and the process.

OCIP Benefits: Avoid Construction Pitfalls 

During a major construction project, learn to control construction costs by purchasing a general liability insurance policy to cover all contractors on the job. Not only will this policy save a district sufficient funds (up to $1,000,000+ ), but it will also increase coverage limits substantially in all cases.

Renewable Energy Success Stories

Learn how districts have made renewable energy a part of their operations, whether through capital investment, operational savings or leveraging grant programs. Where there is a will there is a way to make renewable energy a reality in your district!

Thursday Sessions

8:30am — 9:30am

Moody's New K-12 Rating Methodology **

Moody's new rating methodology, exclusively for US K-12 public school districts, reflects their district credit characteristics. Learn how the methodology incorporates credit factors unique to K-12 issuers, introduces assignment of an issuer rating for each school district reflecting its intrinsic credit strength and assigns ratings to each bond issue in relation to the issuer rating.

Energy Purchasing 101: Post Feb '21 Energy Crisis **

The February 2021 arctic cold weather event significantly impacted school districts’ energy costs and usage across Illinois. What lessons were learned? Pick up proven purchasing practices your district can institute now to lessen the impact of future polar vortex events on your energy budget.

Permitting & Authorities Having Jurisdiction

Get an overview of the various agencies a school district may have to submit to for permits related to a construction project depending on the scope of the work, including general guidelines of timelines for those review processes and how they can affect your project schedule.

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.

Challenges in Implementing Legislation

Join an interactive session to discuss the challenges and workarounds of living with a new law.

Purchasing Internal Controls & Activity Accounts

Whether you're a small or large district, internal controls play a critical part in any business office. A group of practitioners will present best practices as well as interactive scenarios where attendees will leave with new ideas for improving their own offices.

Game-Changing Health Plan Strategies

Do you want to have a high performing health plan? Learn some of the programs top health and welfare plans are implementing to both improve quality and reduce costs. This session is geared toward self-funded health plans.


9:45am — 10:45am

How to Prepare for a Bond Issue

Are you anticipating a bond issue? Learn to lay the groundwork for a smooth closing. Review topics such as: understanding your bonding options and the bond timeline; communicating with the public; preparing for rating agency/due diligence discussions; and being ready for the bond sale/closing mechanics.

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.

Legislative Update from the School Management Alliance **

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

School Security Keys as We Emerge from COVID-19 **

Everyone wants to know how to provide a safe learning environment, especially as we attempt to emerge from COVID-19. How can you make sure your school is effectively addressing today's areas of vulnerability? Review important issues and solutions, learn best practices and gain resources.

A Source Net Zero Energy School Case Study

Learn how River Trails School District 26 navigated the process of remodeling an entire school that is designed to achieve source next zero energy usage. Learn more about the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation’s Net Zero Energy Building grant program.

Student Online Privacy Protection Act: Is this a Big Deal?

The Student Online Privacy Protection Act (SOPPA) goes into effect on July 1, 2021. Learn practical steps from education leaders for protecting your students and reducing risk based on these new requirements.


11:00am — 12:00pm

Internal Controls in Hybrid Situations **

Explore the roles of management, the school board and the external auditor in the internal control process. Review key elements of the internal control framework and how to best update your internal control program in the remote of hybrid working environment.

What's Up with the New ESG Investment Statute?

The Illinois Sustainable Investment Act (effective 1/1/2020), states all local governments (including school districts) should integrate material, relevant and useful sustainability factors into their investment policies, processes and decision making. What is ESG? What does this mean? What should you do about this?

What’s Happening With Your TRS Pension **

Hear an update on the impact of COVID-19 on TRS investments and state revenues and the impact on the future of pensions. Review the new Optional Defined Contribution program and the new TRS Gemini software program to support it. Discuss the latest state “buyout” programs to reduce the unfunded liability of the system and other issues in the legislature and courts.

Unmasked: What the Pandemic has Taught Us One Year Later! **

On March 15, 2020, Governor Pritzker ordered a temporary closure of schools. Over one year later, what have we learned about ourselves, public education and our abilities to navigate a pandemic? Reflect on the impact COVID-19 has had on our districts and how we lead in the future.

Writing the Rules for Your Next Construction Project

Your team has designed a great project but when something goes wrong, weak contract language and project requirements cause the owner problems. Overlooked tools in managing risk are bidding requirements, contract forms and conditions. Learn how to write the rules to win disputes, reduce cost, save time, stay out of trouble and get what you paid for during your next construction project.

Negotiating During a Pandemic

Discuss what issues unions are presenting at the bargaining table currently and what topics may require an MOU mid-contract.


12:45pm — 1:45pm

Lessons Learned from Referenda…Successful & Otherwise! **

Hear how several districts made it through successful referendums. Learn these invaluable lessons to help you as you think and plan for your community vote. Bring questions!

Referendum & Non-Referendum: Approaches to a Long-Term Capital Plan

Explore three examples of funding options for long-term capital plans. The first two options will utilize a combination of non-referendum sources to address capital needs. The third option combines referendum approval with non-referendum options. The common theme among these financial plans is lower property taxes and disciplined budgeting.

Effective Recruiting in Public Education

Learn about impactful, successful and innovative ways public educators can recruit in today’s difficult hiring environment.

Food Service Basics & Entitlement Dollar Usage

Review basic school nutrition program information and discover ways to get the most out of your entitlement dollars.

How to Build a More Perfect Bid Document **

A successful bid opening starts with the bid documents following best practices and legal requirements. A panel of experienced school bidding professionals will provide practical guidance and advice about what to include and not include in your bid documents.

Leveraging ESSER Dollars to Improve Educational Environments **

Learn how districts are leveraging their ESSER monies to not only improve air quality, but also reach sustainability goals and improve the health and life safety of their educational spaces.

Hybrid Learning Beyond COVID

Now that we have all experienced over a year of hybrid learning, what will we keep doing, what will we improve and what will we drop? Hear perspectives from education technology leaders and add your own.


3:45pm — 4:45pm

USDA Commodity Usage

Learn best practices for how to utilize your school district's annual allotted USDA Commodities. Discover how they can benefit your district and students alike.

Recruiting & Attracting Diverse Candidates

Come learn and share strategies for recruiting diverse candidates and understand why it is important in public education.

Defending Construction Claims Against Your District **

Construction claims against school districts are becoming more common - seeking more money and time to complete your project. A panel of experienced school construction professionals will provide practical advice on how to defeat these claims.

The Changing Landscape of Procurement & Contracts

The pandemic has caused many changes in the way business offices operate. From electronic bidding to contractual performance clauses, the procurement and contracting environment might never be the same again.Review these issues and gain strategies for moving forward.

Recycling: Beyond the Blue Bin

A real commitment to recycling goes beyond the blue bin next to your desk. Learn how districts are looking at all of their operations to reduce their foot print and reinforce their sustainability efforts towards greener communities.

IT Security & Ransomware Roundtable **

Hear a panel of school district IT leaders discuss their real-world experiences with ransomware attacks. Join in the discussion and gain a set of actionable steps to prepare for growing security threats.

State Transportation Claim. **

Learn best practices for completing your transportation claim.