Sent: Friday, June 20, 2003 11:31 AM
To: Regional Superintendents and Special Education Directors District Superintendents
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 6-20-03

Good morning.

The State Board met on Monday and Tuesday of this week. A major focus of discussion and deliberation was the effect of budget cuts on ISBE operations.

The Board also took action on the following issues related to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB):

·        Proposed criteria for highly qualified teachers and

·        Intermediate goals for adequate yearly progress.

Information about other Board actions is at

Other items in this message include the following announcements:

·        Deadline for submitting data for school report cards – June 30, 2003.

·        District financial profiles and historical data now available on the ISBE Web site.

Appended to the message are the dates, locations, and agenda for the fall Superintendents’ Regional Conferences and the New Superintendent’s Conference. This is a repeat of information included in last week’s message.

ISBE Staffing Cuts Announced/Budget Update

A difficult, challenging and sad time began this week at ISBE. We are compelled by cuts in the budget approved by the General Assembly to eliminate some 45 positions and reduce spending in virtually every operational category, particularly contractual agreements.

We made the announcement yesterday after talking with affected employees and their bargaining agents. As I told my board earlier this week, these cuts will surely reduce our capacity to serve you. I am particularly concerned about the areas of technical assistance and external assurance. As soon as I am able to share with you more specifics about the effect of the cuts on the agency, I will do so.

Of course, we still have an agency full of hard-working, extremely capable people determined to do more with less. I know that’s a concept all of you are familiar with these days.

More details on the reductions are available at

Also on the budget front, the Governor has still not received the education appropriations bill from the General Assembly, nor has he made known whether he will use his item veto authority to reduce or eliminate lines from the budget. Further reductions in the appropriation could mean additional staff reductions here at ISBE.

State Board Accepts Proposed Criteria for Highly Qualified Teachers Under NCLB

The Illinois State Board of Education adopted Illinois criteria for meeting the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) for highly qualified teachers at its regular monthly meeting on June 17. NCLB requires that all teachers of core academic subjects be highly qualified by the end of the 2005–2006 school year. More information can be accessed at, and the specific requirements of the new criteria can be accessed at

State Board Approves Trajectory for Adequate Yearly Progress Under NCLB

The State Board approved intermediate goals for determining adequate yearly progress (AYP) under NCLB at its regular monthly meeting on June 17. The Board had approved a version of these goals as part of the Illini Plan in February 2003. That version was based on the recommendations of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force, but the U.S. Department of Education did not approve the plan. More information about the revised plan can be accessed at; a graph and chart showing details of the trajectory is at

Reminder: Data for the E-Report Card Are Due June 30, 2003.

Data for the school report cards are being collected online for the first time this year. The due date for submitting the data is June 30, 2003. The Web site will remain open until mid-July. Comprehensive help and instructions are available online; if you need additional assistance regarding IWAS, call 217/558-3600. In the Verification and Approval Process, you will have an opportunity to review information based on data you submitted. Please note that in the Enrollment Summary screen of this process, you will not see any figures for LEP because the data are not yet available.

District Financial Profiles and Historical Data

We now have available on our Web site a new application which presents all school districts financial profile and historical data? It can be easily accessed on the School Finance page, School Business and Support Services page, or from the School District Financial Profile area, To access your profile directly, go to



Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

   of Education







Superintendents’ Regional Conferences
September 2003

The State Superintendents’ Conference this year will be offered at six regional meetings.

Dates and Locations:

September 3                    Champaign

September 4                    Matteson

September 9                    Galesburg

September 15                  Mt. Vernon

September 22                  Naperville

September 23                  Lincolnshire

District superintendents, regional superintendents, association leaders, and others will receive a mailing in July with specific registration and conference site information.


Proposed Conference Agenda for Superintendents’ Regional Conferences

September 2003

8:30–9:00 a.m. Registration/Refreshments

9:00–10:15 a.m.           Breakout Session I (see descriptions below)

10:15–10:30 a.m.         Break

10:30–11:45 a.m.         Breakout Session II (see descriptions below)

Five breakout sessions: participants may attend 2 of the 5:

Accountability: Keeping Our Heads While Those About Us Are Losing Theirs

Learn the facts and fallacies about the newly adopted legislation for testing and accountability that aligns Illinois law with No Child Left Behind; walk through how adequate yearly progress (AYP) is determined and how to project progress for your schools; view the new e-Report Cards and the Illinois Interactive Report Card Web site; review the new “assessment frameworks” that will guide test development for the next five years.

Offered in breakout sessions I & II

School Improvement: Using What We Know to Improve Performance

Focus on four components of school improvement, highlighting strategies that really work: data analysis that drives targeted improvement plans; classroom curriculum, instruction and assessment aligned with the Learning Standards; teacher and administrator enhancement; and support services for students, families and communities.

Offered in breakout sessions I & II

Finance and Funding: Gearing Up for the Real Reform We Need

Understand the new state financial profiles—what they are and are not; preview proposed legislation to assist districts in significant financial difficulty; review the status of the state education budget; discuss “life after EFAB,” potential funding recommendations and next steps; review options for legislative and public support strategies.

Offered in breakout sessions I & II

P-Card: Adding Efficiency and Accountability to the Purchasing Process

With the Procurement Card, school leaders are able to increase the efficiency of the purchasing process while improving on accountability. This session will explain in detail the new P-Card program, provided through the sponsorship of the IASA/IASB/IASBO, which has a proven record of streamlining the P.O. process, saving time and money while improving control over expenditures.

Offered in Breakout Session I

Financial Projections: Looking Five Years Out

A critical part of local school management is making timely and accurate financial projections. The ISDLAF+ sponsored by the IASA/IASB/IASBO has a relationship with PMA for fund management and advisement. A new PMA service allows for such projections. This session will provide you with a close look at the system.

Offered in breakout session II  

11:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30–1:00 p.m            Introductions and Keynote Address by Dr. Robert E. Schiller, State Superintendent of Education

1:00–2:00 p.m.             Open Q&A Session with the State Superintendent and Cabinet-Level ISBE Staff.


New Superintendents’ Meeting

The annual New Superintendents’ Meeting, cosponsored by the IASA and ISBE, will be held at the State Board office in Springfield on September 30–October 1, 2003. A separate mailing to new district superintendents will provide details of the meeting schedule.