ISBE Briefs, April 2021
Date PostedApril 21, 2021
Accountability Waiver Approved
The U.S. Department of Education approved Illinois’ accountability waiver request on April 6, allowing the state to waive accountability calculations and reporting of those calculations. The accountability waiver will ensure that Illinois is not required to issue summative designation using 2021 data, factor in the 95% participation requirement into academic achievement calculations, or use 2021 data to measure progress toward long-term goals and interim targets.
Federal Pandemic Relief Funding for Districts
Three rounds of federal pandemic relief funding for school districts have been approved in the American Rescue Plan. Illinois schools are in line to receive approximately $7.8 billion of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to support academic growth and social-emotional wellbeing over the next three years. Districts can view their funding allocations in ISBE’s spreadsheet.
The Illinois P-20 Council has produced a Learning Renewal Resource Guide to highlight “opportunities to invest in learning renewal and support our students, educators, and broader community” as districts consider strategies for spending the new money. ISBE has also hosted and recorded webinars to answer questions about the federal funding and the provisions that need to be adhered to when budgeting the grants.
The three ESSER funds are not combined together, meaning districts must file separate grant applications to receive ESSER1, ESSER2, and ESSER3 dollars. However, grants issued through all three funds can cover expenses dating back to March 13, 2020.
ESSER2 grant applications are open. ESSER3 applications will be released by the state board of education on July 1, 2021. Districts that receive ESSER3 funds are required to create a plan for the safe return to in-person learning, collect public comments on that plan, and post the plan to the district website. If these requirements have already been completed, districts do not need to repeat the steps.
Intent to Change from Half-Day to Full-Day Kindergarten
School districts planning to initiate a change from half-day kindergarten to a full-day program must notify ISBE of the changes by May 7. The Evidence-Based Funding formula calculates a districts adequacy target based on average student enrollment and English Learner and low-income enrollment populations. A half-day kindergarten student is assigned a value of .5, while a full-day kindergarten student is assigned a 1.0 value within the formula.
Districts that plan to change to full-day kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year must provide ISBE with a board resolution expressing the intent to change to a full-day schedule and the associated meeting minutes. These documents should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.