Sent: Friday, November 08, 2002 3:39 PM

To: 'District Superintendents, ROEs, Directors of Special Education'

Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 11-8-02



Good afternoon. At our meeting on Wednesday, November 6, the members of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force came to consensus on a draft of a proposed framework for state assessment. We now turn to you to ask for your input on this proposal.


The actual document is located at and is featured on the front page of our website at . We would like to receive your input by December 6 so we can review it at our next meeting. Please email your comments to You can also address them to the Assessment and Accountability Task Force and fax them to 217/524-4928, or mail them to ISBE, 100 North First Street, Springfield, IL 62777-0001.


Upcoming Hearing and Meetings. The Task Force has scheduled an additional public hearing December 2 in Galesburg at the High School Media Center, 1135 West Fremont Street. The full Task Force is scheduled to meet December 10 from 10:00 A. M. to 3:00 P.M. in Naperville at the North Central Regional Education Laboratory, 1120 East Diehl Road. Additional meetings will be scheduled as needed to complete the recommendations in time for the General Assembly to consider them during the session that begins in January.


In today's message:

Ÿ    Requests received for local superintendent salaries

Ÿ    Illinois schools selected for "Following the Leaders"

Ÿ    Illinois Alternate Assessment information goes online

Ÿ    ISBE approves emergency loan for Hazel Crest 152

Ÿ American Education Week resources available from NEA

Ÿ Referenda fare poorly November 5




Requests received for local superintendent salaries

Some newspaper reporters have made their annual fall request for a list of local superintendent salaries. As you know, the newspapers typically rank them highest to lowest for their stories. 

On Tuesday morning, November 12, we will email you a secure web address and password so you can see the data before the reporters receive it. We will be releasing the data -- which is subject to FOIA --  to reporters who submit requests starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, November 15. We will issue the same caveats as in the past regarding the definition of "salary" and the effects of pre-retirement salary increases. If you have questions about the figures, contact Steve Scaife at 217/782-3950 or


Illinois schools selected for "Following the Leaders"

Nine Illinois schools have been selected to participate in the federally funded "Following the Leaders" project: Leepertown Elementary District 175 (Bureau County); the elementary, jr. high and high schools in Virginia District 64 (Cass County); and Rock Island District 41's Lincoln Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, Thurgood Marshall Learning Center, Washington Jr. High and Edison Jr. High (Rock Island County).

Following the Leaders is an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education to provide schools with direct services - including teacher training and online support - to help them meet the requirements of the new federal No Child Left Behind Act. More information about the program is available at



Illinois Alternate Assessment information goes online

Teachers, parents and the public now have an online resource for information about the state test for students with disabilities. The information is available at <>.


The Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) is the state's tool for measuring the progress made by students whose disabilities make participation in the regular state assessments inappropriate. Rather than the standard pencil-and-paper format, the IAA uses a portfolio of student work collected over the course of the school year. The IAA assesses the same subject areas as the regular assessments do for students in the same grade.


The site includes general information on the IAA, information to help parents interpret their children's scores and schedules for workshops to help teachers administer the test more effectively.




ISBE approves emergency grant for Hazel Crest 152

ISBE has approved an emergency grant for Hazel Crest School District 152 that will enable the district to fund short-term payroll expenses while the district's Financial Oversight Panel completes a financial analysis and makes recommendations for achieving a long-term solution.


The $283,000 emergency grant is the maximum the district can be given without specific legislative action, yet it will only get the district through payrolls that are due in November. It will still run out of money before the end of the month.


In the meantime, the Financial Oversight panel is conducting further analyses and will make recommendations for achieving a long-term financial solution that can be considered by the General Assembly during the veto session later this month. For additional information about the grant, go to


Also check out the Education Week story about Hazel Crest and financial difficulties in other Illinois school districts at





American Education Week resources available from NEA

"Making Public Schools Great for Every Child" is the them of American Education Week, November 17-22. The National Education Association, a major advocate for commemorating the week, has curriculum resources and other materials for schools and communities at





Referenda fare poorly November 5


Voters passed just over 20% of school district tax referenda at the November 5th election. This is the lowest passage rate for tax referenda since the 1996-97 school year. These results are very discouraging and certainly reinforce the need for overhauling the way education is financed. Bond referenda fared better as 13 out of 26 received voter approval. Unofficial results from November 5:

For a historical view of results:


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

of Education