ISBE Update February 2022
Date PostedFebruary 18, 2022
Addressing the Educator Shortage
ISBE has announced the expansion and increased funding for several programs aimed at easing the educator shortage in Illinois. Recently, ISBE announced the third round of grants for schools to create Education Career Pathways. The $2.1 million in grants will provide support to districts helping current high school students acquire experience and college credits to help them toward earning a Professional Educator License.
For college students, the Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program is available through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). The governor has asked to increase funding for the program to $4.2 million in the next year. The increase in funding would allow ISAC to award 560 grants of $7,500 and dedicate 30% percent of the funds toward bilingual applicants. The Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarships are available to students of color currently enrolled in a teacher preparation program or a graduate-level program that leads to teaching endorsements.
Additionally, $4 million of ESSER dollars will be allocated to support the bilingual educator pipeline. There are a number of bilingual education teachers in Illinois serving on non-renewable provisional licenses, as well as fully licensed teachers who could earn a bilingual endorsement or ESL. The additional funds will be offered as grants to districts to help pay tuition for educators to earn the needed credentials. ISBE will provide more details on this grant program in the coming months.
Emergency Rules Filed for Residential Placements
ISBE filed emergency rules at the beginning of February to help provide relief to districts that have struggled to place students in approved facilities. The rules are intended to expand the number of residential placements available for students with disabilities.
Under the new rules districts would be allowed emergency and student-specific placements in non-approved facilities when no approved facility accepts the student or has an immediate availability. To qualify for reimbursement of student placements under the emergency rules, districts need to demonstrate good faith efforts to locate an approved facility and ensure the facility meets the necessary criteria as outlined in the emergency rules.
In addition to the new emergency rules, ISBE has also submitted changes to the Illinois Purchased Care Review Board (IPCRB) to amend its rules by allowing IPCRB to waive requirements for a certified audit and/or cost report if the number of students placed in a facility totals 12 or fewer. The current threshold is fewer than six students.
The State Board of Education has indicated it will issue additional guidance, procedures, and forms for districts to use if seeking reimbursement for placements made under the emergency rules. Districts with questions about reimbursements should contact ISBESpecED@isbe.net.
Read more about the residential crisis in this January 27 news item.
Deadline 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 have until March 1 to notify ISBE. The Evidence-Based Funding formula calculates a district’s adequacy target based on average student enrollment and English Learner enrollment. Within the formula a half-day kindergarten student is assigned a value of .5, while a full-day kindergarten student is assigned a 1.0 value.
Districts that plan to change to full-day instruction for kindergarten students for the 2022-2023 school year must provide ISBE with a board resolution expressing the intent to change to a full-day schedule and the associated meeting minutes from when the resolution was approved. These documents should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.