The Education Year in Review -- 2000-2001
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- Legislative Issues
- School Funding
- State Board of Education Budget
- Retired teachers health benefits
- Temporary superintendencies
- School construction grants
- Substitute teachers
- IASB Governmental Relations
- llinois Education
- SAT, ACT college entrance scores soar for high school seniors
- Illinois Virtual High School
- The Federal Scene
- No Child Left Behind
- Significant Developments
- Participation in IASB Programs
- Click here to download a table in portable document format showing numbers of participants in IASB programs for the past three years.
- IASB Financial Report
- Click here to download the IASB financial report for FY 2000 in portable document format.
- Awards and Honors
- Thomas Lay Burroughs Award
- Cole Awards
- Those Who Excel Awards
Despite state lawmakers adoption of a "maintenance budget" for FY 2002
one that contained little new money in most spending categories schools
received a substantial $230.3 million increase in general state aid. With the budget
adopted May 31, 2001, the legislature boosted the foundation level for general state aid
by $135 per pupil, meanwhile fully funding categorical programs and increasing poverty
grants across the board.
Education again received the 51% of new revenue growth promised by Governor George
Ryan. This was roughly at the level originally proposed by the Governor. Lawmakers
increased the general funds appropriation to the Illinois State Board of Education by $303
million, including a $91 million boost for the downstate teachers retirement fund.
Essentially the state budget for schools was contained in two bills:
- H.B. 3050 (Turner, A., D-Chicago), the school aid formula bill, increased the general
state aid foundation level for the 2001-2002 school year from $4,425 per student to $4,560
per student. This legislation authorized the calculation of general state aid using the
best average daily attendance of the previous three years. It also continued the hold
harmless and continuing appropriation provisions for one year, and allowed all school
districts access to the "poverty grant."
- H.B. 3440 (Madigan, D-Chicago), the budget bill, supported the changes in H.B. 3050 and
fully funded mandated categorical programs.
A supplemental appropriation was approved, as well, to make up a shortfall in the
previous years categorical grant programs. Between the supplemental appropriation
and the new FY 02 state aid increase, $3.225 billion in general state aid was
appropriated to Illinois school districts. Much less money (roughly $28.8 million less)
was needed to fund the hold harmless line item than in the previous year; the FY 02
line item totaled $37 million.
State Board of Education budget
For the legislature to fund the new foundation level and the new poverty grant formula
and still remain within budget, funds had to be shifted from other education priorities
outlined in Governor Ryans budget. Lawmakers first shifted funds away from the state
superintendents priority programs, holding most State Board of Education line items
at the previous years funding level.
The majority of the funds reallocated to general state aid came from the school safety
and educational improvement block grant. The governor had recommended the block grant
remain at the past years level, roughly $111.6 million, but the legislature reduced
the appropriation to $72 million (a $35.6 million difference). The legislature then
"zeroed out" the Professional Development Block Grant, taking the entire $24.3
million and putting it into general state aid and poverty grants. Though these line items
were reduced drastically, budget analysts said every dollar originally budgeted in them
would be sent to school districts, allowing districts the discretion of targeting local
The following line items were significantly increased, even while most other state
board line items were funded at the previous years level.
||FY '02 Increase
|Early Childhood Block Grant
|Summer Bridges Program
|Alternative Learning/Regional Safe Schools
|Career Awareness and Development
|Teachers Academy for Math and Science
|Reading Improvement Statewide
|Regional Offices of Education Salaries
|Minority Transition Program
One negative aspect of the budget involved early education. The $4 million increase for
Early Childhood Education was $3.2 million less than recommended by the governor. Earlier
in the year Governor Ryan announced the formation of a task force to design and implement
a statewide preschool system that would make services available to all parents who chose
to use them. Despite this action, the budget proposal included only a 4 percent increase
for pre-kindergarten education, which represented fully 92 percent of the Early Childhood
Education Block Grant. Voices for Illinois Children advocates said the final appropriation
increase at roughly 2 percent could not serve the eligible children on long
waiting lists. It was also the smallest increase since the programs inception in
The School Construction Grant Program, on the other hand, was quite generously funded.
Along with the increases granted in the states bonding authority for construction
projects and the so-called Illinois First Program, the state was authorized to spend $740
million in new money for school construction projects. This sum was designed to cover all
school districts currently waiting for state funding for pending projects that had been
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Retired teachers health benefit premiumsGovernor George Ryan ordered that the
scheduled premium increase for the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) be
reduced to 21 percent. The state had announced plans for a 45 percent increase. The
governor accomplished that feat by ordering the state agency responsible for program
administration to accelerate use of the funds appropriated for the insurance program to
the current year. The increase was effective July 1; and the program would be facing a
real crisis by December. The Illinois Senate appointed a special bi-partisan committee to
look into the matter and report its findings by November 1, 2001. IASB Executive Director
Mike Johnson and IASA Executive Director Walt Warfield were named to the committee, along
with lawmakers and state leaders. The governor appointed a committee as well.
Temporary superintendenciesThe General Assembly also approved a significant
pension bill before adjourning the spring session. HB 2157 (Crotty, D-Oak Forest) made
various changes in both the Downstate and Chicago Teachers Retirement Systems (TRS).
For the Downstate TRS the bill provided a five-year window from July 1, 2001 to June 30,
2006 during which time TRS annuitants could work 120 days or 600 hours and not lose their
right to receive a TRS pension. Currently the limit is 100 days or 500 hours. The bills
were particularly useful in allowing retired superintendents to work as temporary
School construction grantsAnother bill, HB 2255 (Hoffman, D-Collinsville),
changed the school construction grant program to alter the criteria for unit school
districts. If the district was pursuing a construction project for K-8 it fell into the
"elementary" category for calculation of the matching grant, and if the project
was for 9-12 it fell into the "high school" category for making the calculation.
Substitute teachersTwo pieces of legislation, HB 2425 (Cowlishaw,
R-Naperville); and SB 1293, (Cronin, R-Elmhurst) were adopted to increase the number of
days a substitute teacher could teach from 90 days to 120.
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IASB GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS
During the spring of 2001, more than 1,200 Illinois House or Senate bills, impacting
most of the 151 official position statements of IASB at the time, were followed by IASB
lobbyists and the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance. New legislation covered
topics such as property taxation and assessment, changes in the way state aid is
calculated, student assessment, length of the school year and day, distribution of state
revenue, grants for various projects, school construction, teacher certification,
workers compensation, unemployment insurance, election issues, local government,
staff retirement, transportation issues, health insurance mandates, and a plethora of
other unfunded mandates of various kinds, to name just a few. The Associations
position statements gave IASB staff direction on these and hundreds of other significant
pieces of legislation in the Illinois General Assembly. IASB Governmental Relations staff
worked successfully to help public schools obtain $303 million in new state funding, and
$740 million in new money for school construction projects from the legislature. Staff
helped to produce and distribute by broadcast fax 40 Legislative Reports of the Illinois
Statewide School Management Alliance to the states grassroots public education
community during the year. Compiled each week during sessions of the General Assembly and
as needed during off-session times, Legislative Reports summarized major legislative
activities and bills of interest. IASB staff worked through the Illinois School Management
Alliance to play an instrumental role in passing favorable legislation and in defeating
many bills that would have imposed unfunded mandates or hampered local control of public
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SAT, ACT college entrance scores soar for high school seniorsIllinois student
scores on the 2001 SAT college placement exam improved more than student scores in any
other state, SAT officials announced in August, 2001.
The news followed similar results on the ACT exam, taken by 71 percent of Illinois
seniors. Illinois students showed greater gains over the previous five years than students
in any of the 25 other states in which a majority of graduating seniors took the ACT.
The SAT and the ACT are standardized tests, usually taken by college-bound high school
seniors. The SAT I: Reasoning Test, for example, is a test of verbal and mathematical
reasoning ability. Like the ACT, it is designed to help schools determine which individual
students will do well in college.
In Illinois, mean scores of seniors on the verbal portion of the SAT increased 8 points
to 576 and 3 points on the math portion to 589. The new results meant that in the previous
decade Illinois combined scores had risen 66 points.
Nationally, scores on the verbal portion of the SAT increased by 1 point to 506, and
math scores did not budge from 514, which remained the highest level in 30 years. Since
1991, the combined scores nationally had risen by 21 points. The best score possible on
either section is 800.
Illinois Virtual High SchoolDuring the pilot semester of the Illinois Virtual
High School (IVHS), which ended June 30, 2001, a total of 292 students were enrolled in 24
courses around the state. Customer satisfaction surveys revealed that student and teacher
enthusiasm was high for the online learning.
During the first semester, schools encountered some minor problems with course servers
and vendor procedures. As a result, IVHS implemented improvements to its system.
Governor George H. Ryan established IVHS in January 2001 as part of his VentureTech
Initiative. The goal of IVHS online learning is to use new and emerging technologies to
expand boundaries for student and teachers, thereby providing them with increased equity
and access to top quality educational opportunities.
A total of 127 high schools completed the necessary forms to participate in the IVHS in
its second term.
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THE FEDERAL SCENE
No Child Left BehindBefore voting to create the so-called No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) Act, U.S. Senators rejected a last-ditch attempt to revive President George
W. Bushs school voucher program, defeating a voucher amendment by a vote of 58-41.
A Senate bill for funding elementary and secondary schools called for about $30 billion
for 2002, nearly $11 billion more than President Bush proposed. But House lawmakers
approved their own, less costly, version of the measure (H.R. 1) May 23, 2001, after the
House also rejected vouchers.
The final version of this Bush plan required states to oversee annual math and reading
tests for students in grades three through eight, and in one grade in high school. It was
designed to implement a series of accountability measures linked to the state assessments,
to ensure schools and districts improve student achievement. Accountability provisions
require corrective actions for those that fail to make "adequate yearly
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) expressed serious concerns about the
provisions of NCLB for determining AYP. According to Reggie Felton, NSBAs director
of federal relations, "the legislation, as drafted, will result in the
over-identification of many schools and school districts as failing when, in
fact, they are not."
The Act requires that data on student achievement be broken out by racial and ethnic
group and by other group characteristics, including: economically disadvantaged students,
those with limited English proficiency (LEP), those in special education, and those who
are migrants. At least 95 percent of the students in each of these groups is required to
take the state tests.
Schools yielding low test scores receive additional aid, but if a school still fails to
show enough progress after two years, low-income students are free to transfer to another
public school. After three years, the same students are permitted to use federal funds for
tutoring or transportation to another public school.
The NCLB law did, however, give schools additional flexibility in the use of federal
dollars, and the legislation created a demonstration program in which seven states and 25
school districts could receive even greater spending latitude.
In addition to the assessment and accountability measures, numerous other new
provisions were included in the NCLB law. These included enforced public school choice, a
new initiative to mandate improved teacher quality, liability protections for school board
members, and provisions to make it easier for school officials to discipline special
education students who are violent.
The NCLB law also requires secondary schools to provide access to military recruiters
if the school accepts federal funds and permits on-campus recruiting. And it requires
schools to obtain written consent from parents before giving any non-emergency
examinations or tests.
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SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS, 2000-2001
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- The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced it will require high school students to take the ACT college entrance exam along with the new Prairie State Achievement Exam. (June 2000)
- The Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee creates a subcommittee to study school funding and the Governor appoints an education funding advisory board headed by former State Superintendent Robert Leininger. (July 2000)
- State education leaders launch a $250,000 project to establish an Illinois Virtual High School, beginning in School Year 2000-01. (August 2000)
- Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) results show progress overall in students' abilities to meet and exceed the Illinois Learning Standards. (September, 2000)
- Four Illinois school board members win NSBA's Distinguished Service Award, including IASB's past president Jay B. Tovian, and the Association's North Cook Division director Barbara J. Somogyi. (October, 2000)
- IASB's Web site adds links to division Web sites for all 21 divisions of the Association. (November 2000)
- IASB's Delegate Assembly agrees to work with the state to increase the number of days during a school year than any individual may work as a substitute teacher. (November 2000)
- Responses from district superintendents to a survey from IASB and Western Illinois University indicate that more than 90 percent of districts do not perform drug testing of students. (November 2000)
- The IASB Delegate Assembly elects new officers to lead the Association in the coming year, including Dennis J. McConville, of Dimmick C.C. District 175, as President; and Christy Coleman, of Geneseo C.U. District 228, as Vice President. (November 2000)
- Members of the IASB Board of Directors begin to be assigned to all Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) committees to provide local board perspective to the state board staff. (January 2001)
- IASB announces for the first time the Association has begun to offer links to hundred of school district Web addresses from the Membership Directory on the IASB Web site. (February 2001)
- Cynthia Woods, IASB assistant director for advocacy, is honored with an award from AT&T and Tech 2000 as Outstanding Technology Contributor of the Year. (March 2001)
- PRESS, the Policy Reference Education Subscription Service is first published online. PRESS is a subscription service providing sample board policies and administrative procedures to approximately 700 member school districts. (May 2001)
- Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) chairman Robert Leininger, tabs spring 2003 as the ideal time for school leaders to pressure lawmakers to reform the general state aid formula. (May 2001)
- The beta site for IASB's online policy services is introduced at the annual conference of the Illinois Association of School Administrators. (May 2001)
- IASB Executive Director Dr. Michael Johnson is appointed to two state panels-one gubernatorial and one legislative-searching for a long-term solution to a funding crisis facing the Teachers' Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP). (June 2001)
AWARDS AND HONORS
Thomas Lay Burroughs Award Gina Thompson, president of the Manteno C.U. District
5 Board of Education, won the Thomas Lay Burroughs award at the 2000 annual conference.
The award goes to the states outstanding local school board president. Specifically,
the award is presented annually to a school board president who has shown outstanding
leadership on behalf of improved student learning, educational excellence, equal
opportunity, and crisis resolution. The award is named in honor of the late chairman of
the State Board of Education who died at age 40 in 1991.
Cole Awards -- A third category was added to this years Robert M. Cole Awards,
which annually recognize newspapers doing a superior job of covering issues facing
Illinois school boards. The top prize in the large newspaper categoryfor weeklies or
dailies with a circulation greater than 8,000went to the staff of the Rockford
Register Star. For the first time, two top awards were offered to smaller papers, one
to dailies and one to weeklies. The Free Press Advocate, Wilmington, won the top
prize for weeklies with a circulation less than 8,000. The Leader-Union, Vandalia,
won first prize for dailies having a circulation of less than 8,000. Second prize for
larger papers was awarded to The State Journal-Register, Springfield. There was a
tie for third place among larger papers, however, between The Daily Journal,
Kankakee and The Daily Gazette, Sterling. Second prize for smaller weekly
newspapers was awarded to the Salem Times Commoner. Third prize for smaller
weeklies went to The Cahokia Herald, while an honorable mention in this category
went to the Mason County Democrat, Havana. Second prize for smaller dailies was
awarded to the Morris Daily Herald, while third prize went to The Courier,
Lincoln. The awards have been sponsored by IASB for more than 20 years as part of the
Illinois Press Associations annual newspaper contest.
Those Who Excel Award -- The annual awards were not made this year in order to move up
their timing in the calendar from the fall to the spring. Also, the deadline for
submitting nominations for future awards was moved up from July to February.
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