The Education Year in Review -- 2001-2002
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- Legislative Issues
- Program funding cuts
- New bonding authority
- No cuts in per pupil foundation level
- Illinois Education
- College entrance exam scores soar for high school seniors
- Illinois needs to spend $500 million more each year on schools, EFAB reports
- Poverty a significant, growing concern in many counties
- Prairie State test finds most students meeting standards
- Those who failed certification exams teaching state's neediest students
- Legislature provides short-term fix to state's TRIP crisis
- Third superintendent in several months at ISBE
- Other highlights
- The Federal Scene
- Bush education plan, the NCLB Act, becomes law
- Congress underfunds NCLB
- 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 2002 in portable document format.
- Awards and Honors
- Thomas Lay Burroughs Award
- Cole Awards
- Those Who Excel Awards
Faced with dwindling state revenue for the first time in 50 years, state lawmakers
adopted a 2003 elementary and secondary education budget that provided $176 million less
than the previous year to local classrooms. Programs cuts included teacher training,
transportation, reading improvement, and financial incentives intended for consolidating
districts. Cuts generally ranged from 3.5 percent to 10 percent per program.
State leaders provided $500 million in new bonding authority for school construction,
however, as grassroots support helped rescue a program insiders feared might expire. Also
softening the impact of the cuts, was the fact that federal appropriations provided more
than $300 million in additional funding for Illinois school districts, mostly for targeted
school programs. The federal funding boost was called the largest ever, but it arrived
with considerable strings attached, including restrictive mandates on teacher
certification, and on student choice. These costly mandates were written into a landmark
piece of federal legislation called the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
In cutting state funding for schools, the legislature and governor approved a $23
million decrease in General Revenue Funds expenditures. They made no cuts to the per pupil
foundation level: it was held flat at $4,560, thanks to a plan that largely exempted
schools from the deep budget cuts made to other expenditure categories.
Lawmakers not only approved the governor's recommendations for $500 million in new
bond funds for the School Construction Grant Program in FY 2003, they approved another
$500 million for the program for FY 2004. Budget analysts said this additional debt would
be retired with revenue from the state's new "sin taxes," including major
tax increases on cigarettes and riverboat gaming.
Other highlights included the following:
- State budget makers go into overtime Governor George Ryan said the budget adopted
by lawmakers before they adjourned their spring session was not balanced; he called
legislators back into session after vetoing $500 million from proposed expenditures,
including over $100 million in school funding.
- Increase in property tax assessment appeals seen Experts said under-valuations of
commercial properties continued to become increasingly common in 2001, as were tax appeals
by corporations seeking to cut their tax bills.
- Tax credits aid just one in eleven Illinois families with school-age children Only
about one in eleven Illinois families with children in school received a new state tax
break in 2001, averaging roughly $361 per recipient family, according to state officials.
- New law requires boards to adopt policy on bullying Legislation signed August 7,
2001, H.B. 646 (Rep. Patricia Lindner, R-Aurora), required every school board to adopt
provisions in their student discipline policy to control bullying.
- New laws call for posting budgets on Web, longer TIFs New laws affecting schools
cover myriad topics, from allowing Tax Increment Financing districts to remain in effect
up to 35 years in financially distressed cities, to requiring school districts to post
their current annual budgets on their Web sites.
Note: The text of all new laws and legislation can be found online at the bill
text/status Web site of the Illinois General Assembly at http://www.ilga.gov/
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College entrance exam scores soar for high school seniors Student scores on the
2001 SAT college placement exam improve more in Illinois than in any other state, SAT
Illinois needs to spend $500 million more each year on schools In order to fund
public schools equitably the state needs to spend that much more annually, according to a
study funded by the state's Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB).
Poverty a significant, growing concern in many counties Roughly one in three
Illinois counties is mired in poverty to the degree that it should be placed on a
"poverty concern" or "poverty watch" list, according to a study
conducted by the Heartland Alliance.
Prairie State test finds most students meeting standards Between 50 and 60 percent
of all Illinois high school juniors meet or exceed the Illinois Learning Standards on the
first Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE), according to PSAE results released in
the summer of 2001.
Those who failed certification exams teaching state's neediest students A
Chicago Sun-Times investigative series on Illinois teacher certification and employment
finds "hundreds [of teachers] employed full time last year in Illinois public schools
who had not passed both a basic skills test and a subject matter test."
The legislature provides a short-term fix to the state's TRIP crisis
Legislation is adopted requiring local school districts to pay a new tax - 0.4% of
their TRS payroll - to the Teachers' Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP).
Third superintendent in several months at ISBE The State Board of Education
appoints its general counsel, Respicio Vazquez, as new interim state superintendent,
February 1, 2002.
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THE FEDERAL SCENE
Bush education plan, the NCLB Act, becomes law
President George W. Bush signed a landmark new education plan, known as the No Child
Left Behind Act, in January 2002 after pushing the plan through Congress with the help of
opposition party leaders. The bill contained a comprehensive overhaul of the federal
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), including numerous mandates for schools.
Under the Act, schools yielding low state test scores receive additional aid, but if a
school fails to show enough progress after two years, some students may be permitted to
transfer to another public school. After three years, some students are to receive federal
funds for tutoring or transportation to another public school.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) expressed serious reservations about the
provisions of the new law for determining progress. According to Reggie Felton,
NSBA's director of federal relations, the Act would "result in the
over-identification of many schools and school districts as 'failing' when, in
fact, they are not."
Congress underfunds NCLB
Congress completed approval for a fiscal year 2002 appropriations bill in December
2001, including a record 16 percent increase for education, $6.7 billion more than the
previous year. The appropriations bill did not, however, fully fund the newly approved
NCLB Act, falling $4.3 billion short.
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SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS, 2001-2002
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- July 2001 - The Teacher's Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) emergency
study group, a 16-member executive panel that includes IASB Executive Director Michael
Johnson, begins deliberations. The statewide task force is charged with finding a
short-term solution to skyrocketing insurance costs faced by retired teachers.
- August 2001 - The Illinois Council of School Attorneys (ICSA) prepares
alternative special education procedures to enable school districts to comply with
difficult new state requirements. Because ICSA attorneys donate their time, and IASB
covers all other costs, the procedures are distributed free of charge.
- September 2001 - An IASB survey reveals teachers in 98 percent of Illinois
school districts are organized for collective bargaining, and a majority (52.8%) of
districts use "traditional" bargaining processes.
- October 2001 - Schools across the country sponsor "moments of
silence" to allow students and staff to reflect upon the nation's tragedy of
- November 2001 - IASB's 69th Joint Annual Conference draws nearly 12,000
people to Chicago.
- December 2001 - The legislature provides a short-term fix to the
state's funding crisis for the Teachers' Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP),
- January 2002 - Evaluation of the superintendent is the subject of the latest
publication from IASB, entitled "How to Develop a Performance Evaluation
Process." The 48-page booklet is produced by IASB staff as a resource for both boards
- February 2002 - IASB Directors and staff toured Chicago District 299 schools
on the city's southwest side February 22 in order to stay in touch with developments
in the state's largest school district.
- March 2002 - Voters approve 27 of 54 school tax increases, and 43 of 60 bond
proposals (72 percent), on the March primary ballot, according to the April 2002 Illinois
School Board Newsbulletin.
- April 2002 - IASB releases an updated step-by-step guide to conducting
student disciplinary hearings, The School Official's Guide to Student Disciplinary
Hearings, updated by attorney Alan Mullins, of the law firm Scariano, Ellch, Himes and
- May 2002 - IASB announces a new service to disseminate school board policies
via the Web, in order to keep current policies in the hands of people who need them, and
enabling each policy to be linked directly to the statutes, regulations or case law
related to that policy.
- May 2002 - IASB's board of directors visits a potential building site
after plans are approved to hire an architect and explore purchase options for
construction of a new IASB headquarters, to be funded from budget reserves.
AWARDS AND HONORS
Thomas Lay Burroughs Award. IASB Director Roy Midgett, a former member and
President of the Robinson C.U. District 2 Board of Education, was co-recipient of the
tenth annual Thomas Lay Burroughs award at the 2001 Joint Annual Conference in November,
along with Darell Bellm, of the Highland C.U. District 5 Board of Education. The award
recognizes the state's most outstanding local school board presidents, while
celebrating the work of all school boards for their service to children and to education.
Specifically, the award is presented annually by the Illinois State Board of Education to
local school board presidents who have shown outstanding leadership on behalf of improved
student learning, educational excellence, equal opportunity, and crisis resolution. The
Thomas Lay Burroughs Award is named in honor of the late chairman of the State Board.
Cole Awards. Ten different Illinois newspapers received recognition in the 2002
Robert M. Cole competition for best coverage of local school board issues. The contest is
sponsored by IASB and conducted by the Illinois Press Association. The top award for
larger dailies went to the Rockford Register Star. First place for small dailies
went to The Daily Herald, Morris. The top award for medium-sized dailies
went to the Times-Courier, Charleston. Among weekly newspapers, the top award went
to the Wednesday Journal, Oak Park. Other papers winning awards this year included:
the Ledger-Sentinel, Oswego; Pioneer Press, Glenview; Times-Republic,
Watseka; the Daily Times, Ottawa; the Telegraph, Alton; and the Gazette/Telegraph,
Sterling/Dixon. Over 120 different newspapers have received recognition in the 22 years
IASB has sponsored the competition. The awards are named in honor of IASB's first
full-time executive director.
Those Who Excel. Ten school board members were honored by the State Board of
Education in 2002 for their outstanding contributions to Illinois schools. The board
members receiving Those Who Excel awards included: Kathy Havens, Bloomington
District 87; Elizabeth Klein, Skokie District 69; Katie Wright,
Department of Corrections District 428, Springfield; Jill Bertels,
Edwardsville C.U. District 7; Byron Heape, Triad C.U. District 2, Troy; Anna
Klimkowicz, Township High School District 211, Palatine; Steven Lillie, Geneva
C.U. District 304; Jan Mandernach, Decatur District 61; Ted Stenerson,
Belvidere C.U. District 100; and Ronald Thouvenot, Central District 104,
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