Sent: Friday, February 07, 2003 3:34 PM
To: 'Regional Superintendents and Special Education Directors District Superintendents '
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 2-7-03

Good Afternoon. This week the emphasis was, as it will undoubtedly be in coming weeks, on financial matters. On Monday, I appeared before the House Education Appropriations Committee. The State Board has requested $518 million in additional state funds in its proposed FY04 budget, but with pessimistic estimates of state revenues, we will need to work closely with the Governor and General Assembly to reach the maximum funding possible. The text of my remarks before the committee can be found at


On Thursday during a special meeting, the State Board of Education acted on the request from Cairo School District to create a Financial Oversight Panel. More information is at  The State Board also discussed components of the Education Funding Advisory Board legislation that would provide additional flexibility to school districts, would recalcule the poverty grant formula, and would ensure that school districts receive all of their GSA payments.


Next Monday, superintendents and special education directors will receive a survey about the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA). We need your cooperation in completing the survey and returning it to us so that the Assessment and Accountability Task Force will have your input.


Other topics in this message include the following:




Preliminary 2000 Census Data

The State Board of Education has received preliminary 2000 Census data from the National Center for Education Statistics. These data are available for each Illinois school district and are an “apples to apples” comparison to the data currently used to calculate the General State Aid poverty grant. The state total of the preliminary 2000 Census data is 322,573, which is down 5,608 from the total currently used to calculate the General State Aid poverty grant.


We have not been given an exact date when the final 2000 Census data will be available. Starting March 3, we will use these preliminary data to project General State Aid for the 2003–2004 school year. These data are not the same as those that will be used to allocate Title I funds to school districts. To our knowledge, no appeal process is in place; however, we are confident that school district boundaries are correct.


A comparison of the 1990 Census data with the preliminary 2000 Census data for each school district, in county order, is at




Complete FY04 Request for Proposals (RFP) Schedule

A special bulletin now posted at lists all RFPs that the State Board of Education plans to issue for FY04 and the anticipated release date for each. The RFPs are grouped by major area of focus to help better determine which grant programs will best benefit school improvement agendas. The State Board will request funding from the Illinois General Assembly or anticipates receiving federal funding for these programs, but all are subject to change as a result of the appropriation process. If funding should become available for other programs, it will be listed in a supplemental bulletin. Eligible applicants for each of the RFPs are listed in the bulletin.



Statewide Tornado Drill:  March 4

Severe Weather Preparedness Week:  March 2–8


Severe Weather Preparedness Week is scheduled for March 2–8, 2003. The week is observed to highlight the importance of knowing what steps to take before, during and after severe weather strikes. Schools are encouraged to test their severe weather plans during the annual statewide tornado drill scheduled for 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 4.


Informational and instructional materials on severe weather preparedness may be obtained at the following Web sites:


If you do not have access to the Internet, you may obtain information by calling Lynda Gallo at 217/785-8779 or contacting her by e-mail at



Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education